D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Taking accident photos and sending them to your insurance company is an important part of the claims process
  • Accident photos are key evidence when negotiating with the insurance company regarding your claim
  • When taking accident photos, it’s essential to be efficient, take more pictures than you think are necessary, and take a variety of angles and shots to capture as much information as possible

If you’ve been in an accident, is it a bad idea to send photos of car accidents to your insurance company? Are there any car and safety laws or other reasons you shouldn’t send pictures to your insurance company?

The short answer is no because sending pictures of your car accident to your car insurance company will help support the veracity of any claims you file.

Read this article for more on taking pictures for insurance claims and whether or not it’s a good idea, tips for taking the most useful photos, and more.

Before we dive into the importance of taking photos at the scene of an accident, enter your ZIP code below to get free car insurance quotes from local companies right now.

Should you take and send photos of your car accident to your insurance company?

You should take pictures after an accident and send them to your insurance company as soon as possible. Taking and sending accident photos is a critical step in ensuring you have a valid claim.

Why are accident photos so important? Taking photos ensures you have visual proof of what occurred, rather than relying on memory or the honesty and integrity of other drivers involved in the incident.

Becker Law notes that car accident photos are an important piece of evidence during negotiations with insurance adjusters.

It’s also important to note that insurance companies don’t typically use the accident photos you send in the car insurance photo inspection.

Insurance companies will send their adjusters to take pictures of your vehicle after the claims process has been initiated as a part of the damage assessment. Adjusters use these photos to help determine the cost of damages.

What happens if you aren’t able to take car accident photos?

If you’re injured or otherwise unable to take accident photos or the scene is too dangerous for you to walk around and photograph, don’t take unnecessary risks.

Your safety is more important than taking pictures. If your inability to take photos results from injuries, see if someone else can take pictures for you (a passenger or witness, for example).

If you’re filing and settling a car insurance claim for an accident in which you forgot or were unable to take photos, don’t worry.

While accident photos can be beneficial, not having them doesn’t mean the insurance company will deny your claim, though you may receive less compensation without photographic evidence.

If you’re concerned about the outcome of your claim, you can consider speaking with a lawyer (whether you have photos or not).

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What are some tips for taking useful car accident photos?

If you’re wondering how to take pictures for car insurance, we have some suggestions for you to consider after you’ve called emergency services and the police and determined that you can safely move around the crash site.

When you’re gathering photographic evidence of a car accident, be sure to do the following:

How to Document a Car Accident
Do:Don't:
Take photos of the entire accident scene (video also works well for this)Take photos before calling emergency services
Take photos of all the vehicles involved in the accidentTake photos before determining it is safe to do so
Take detailed photos of the damages your vehicle sustainedTake unnecessary risks while taking the photos
Take detailed photos of the damages sustained by any other vehicles involved in the incidentAllow others to take unnecessary risks on your behalf
Take photos of any debris (ex., broken glass, plastic, etc.)
Take photos of any traffic lights, speed limit signs, and other traffic signs in the area (particularly in relation to the vehicles)
Take photos of any relevant damages surrounding the accident (dented street lights, bent street signs, etc.)
Take photos of any skid marks
Take photos (and video, if possible) of the other driver(s) involved in the accident (this is critical as evidence if the other driver[s] was impaired in any way)
Take photos and video of witnesses and witness statements (if they permit you to do so)
Take photos of the emergency response personnel at the scene of the accident
Take photos of any injuries you sustained as a result of the accident

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While you’re taking photos, it’s essential to move quickly and take as many as possible. You won’t have much time to capture the accident scene, so work efficiently. You should also ensure all photos/videos are time-stamped and that you have a mix of close-ups and wide-angle shots.

Is it bad to send photos of car accidents to your insurance company?

No, it’s a good idea to take and send photos of a car accident to your insurance company. It’s an essential part of filing your claim and provides hard evidence of what occurred during the incident.

When photographing the scene, take as many photos as possible but don’t take any unnecessary risks.

If you were recently in an accident and need to find affordable car insurance, take a minute to enter your ZIP code in our tool below to compare car insurance rates from multiple companies for free.