When signing up for homeowners insurance can be overwhelming. Not only do you need to ensure that you are purchasing enough insurance, but you also need to make sure you understand any exclusions that your policy has and figure out which additional coverages you may need. When it is all said and done, you may find that the insurance company wants to take pictures of your house.
Insurance companies take pictures of your home to determine its current and expected condition. They also serve to determine whether or not a hazard or other issues are present that can affect your insurability.
Keep reading to learn more about why insurance companies need these photos and the different situations in which they will request them.
- When purchasing a new insurance policy, most insurance providers send agents to take pictures of your home for reference.
- It is important to take pictures of your home before and after damage occurs to keep an up-to-date record of the home’s expected condition.
- Keeping a photo inventory of your personal items is a good way to keep track of inventory for your insurance provider.
Photos in relation to a claim
One of the most common reasons that you will be asked to allow an adjuster on the property to take pictures of your home is due to a claim. In most cases, an adjustor will come to your home to assess any damage reported in a claim. When this happens, they will often take pictures of the damaged area. This serves as proof and reference in regard to the claim. This evidence is often used when a payout is calculated.
Before an adjuster goes to your home to take pictures for a claim, the insurance company must notify you. This is typically done 48 hours in advance of the appointment or set date to take these pictures. Each state has specific notification requirements that each insurance company needs to comply with.
Request for photos without a claim
There are also scenarios in which you will be asked to take pictures for insurance companies when a claim is not present. While this seems like an invasion of privacy, it is an important part of the insurance process. Below are some common reasons insurers might snap a few pictures of your home.
- Inspection. All homeowner’s policies will require an initial inspection. This provides the insurance company with an idea of the house’s current condition. This allows them to have a point of reference if a claim is filed in the future.
- Hazard detection. Another reason why pictures are often requested is to determine whether or not hazards are present on a policy that can affect insurability. This is especially common when a new policy is opened or renewed.
- Update inventory. If you have a policy that replaces high-priced items, the insurance company may ask you to take pictures of the items and send them to them. This will update the inventory they have on file to ensure the item is covered properly in case of a claim.
The insurance company is not looking to violate your privacy when they request these photos. Instead, they are ensuring that they have the most accurate records possible in relation to your home. This behooves you and the insurance company in the long run.
Are photos required?
Most insurance companies require some photos of the outside of your home for a point of reference when you open a new policy. When it comes to claims, not every claim will require photos.
It is always beneficial to allow photos to be taken of your home in the case of a claim. If your insurance company does not request them, you should take the initiative and take pictures for your records. This will provide you with a clear record of damage that occurs to the home and ensures it is not considered pre-existing or residual.
When taking photos of your home, be sure to take photos that are relevant for insurance purposes. Try to capture some of the following important areas and items for the best results:
- The area that is damaged from a peril. Take pictures from a few different angles to illustrate the damage clearly.
- The object or item that caused the peril. If a tree fell and nicked your garage, be sure to take a photo of the fallen tree to support the claim.
- Items of high value that are not yet damaged. Regularly update your inventory for your homeowners insurance with new high-value items. Take pictures of computers, TVs, and other big-ticket items to ensure they are covered appropriately.
- The inside of your home. Take a video or some photos of each area of your home. This helps document the items and appliances inside for future claims.
- New work that has been completed and passed inspection. If you have maintenance performed on your home (e.g. a new roof), be sure to take a picture of the before and after. This illustrates responsible homeownership and can reduce the likelihood that a claim is denied due to negligence.
While photos are not always necessary, they can come in handy in many different insurance scenarios and situations. While it may feel uncomfortable to have a stranger visit your home and take photos, it can benefit you in the event of a claim.
Documentation is key
Allow your homeowners insurance to take photos of your home. This will provide them with a good reference point in the future. It will also ensure that you get a better payout that covers the value of any items that may be damaged due to a peril and are covered in your policy.