Tips and Advice for Taking Pictures of Your Belongings for Insurance

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How to Photograph Household Belongings for Moving Insurance

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Moving insurance is an important part of any move--your belongings are important to you, and you want to make sure they're protected at all times during the move. While you can't guarantee that none of your items will be damaged or lost, you can ensure you'll be properly covered by purchasing moving insurance.

If any damage does occur during the move, you'll have to go through the insurance claims process to be reimbursed for your damaged or lost goods. The claims process is typically tedious and frustrating, and it can be made more difficult if you have insufficient documentation for your item. However, by creating a photographic inventory of your most valuable items before you move, you will be equipped with evidence of the items' condition and can include it with your insurance claim if any damage occurs.

This guide will take you through the process of creating a photographic inventory of your goods for moving insurance purposes, and discuss the best ways to take the photos, and how to organize and compile them for your future records.

Benefits of photographing your belongings

Having photographs of all of your belongings taken before they are packed away and loaded on the truck will show exactly what condition they were in before the move. In the unfortunate event that one or more of your items are damaged in transit, a simple copy of the photo taken before the move will document the exact extent of the damage so that you can be appropriately reimbursed.

There are numerous other benefits that come along with creating a photographic inventory of your items:
  • Having an organized inventory of your most valuable belongings can be useful even after your move. It will help you keep track of what you have, and in the unfortunate event of a burglary, you'll have documented proof of the items for insurance claims purposes.
  • Taking photos of your belongings will also be a helpful addition to your homeowner's insurance policy.
  • Photographing your belongings before you pack them is also an excellent way to stay organized while you pack. By keeping copies of those photos attached to the boxes which contain the items, you'll have visual evidence of what you've already packed, so you can keep track of which items are in which boxes.

Tips for taking photos of your belongings

You don't have to be a professional photographer to successfully take quality photos of your belongings for insurance purposes. In fact, all you need is a functioning camera and your belongings. Even though it doesn't take a level of photography expertise to properly capture your belongings on film, there are some helpful tips to make sure all of your effort isn't for naught:
  • Try to photograph your belongings in diffused natural light. You shouldn't have your objects in front of direct light sources like windows or lamps. Doing so will often cause the image of the object to be drowned out by the light source, an you'll end up with the silhouette of an object drenched in sunshine pouring in from the window or light from the chandelier hanging overhead. The most ideal setting for your picture-taking is in a bright, well-lit room during the day, away from the windows.
  • Try not to use flash. Using flash isn't a good idea when trying to capture images of your belongings, especially at close range, because the light from the flash will usually bounce off of the surface of the object causing major glare. Most of the time, you'll end up with a picture of a giant ball of light and all major details of the object will be obscured, an image that's not really ideal for the purposes of identifying the object's condition.
  • Digital images are best. While most photography these days is digital, there's an added benefit to using digital photography to capture pictures of your inventory. You'll instantly see how the pictures turned out before they are printed, so you can make sure the lighting is optimal and you can make out all of the key details of the object.

Organizing your photo shoot

Preparing for a move is one of the busiest times of anyone's life. There's a lot going on--between finding a mover, planning the move and packing your belongings, so taking photos for insurance purposes admittedly isn't on everyone's to-do list. But it can be done so easily, and the benefits of doing so more than make up for the time spent doing it.

Of course, the best way to handle this task is to pair it with another , like packing. You can make the process of photographing your belongings a lot easier if you take a picture of each item before you pack it away. While this may elongate the packing process to some degree, it can also help you organize your packing in a unique way.

For example, taking a picture of each item before you pack it and then attaching copies of these pictures to each box will help you establish an easy reference point for movers trying to figure out what is packed inside each box. It will also enable you to keep track of what has been packed already and what you still have left to pack.

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on April 9, 2013 - Moving Expert
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1 Comment

Jeff B | Commented on April 17, 2014 at 07 : 50 PM
Hi Robert, great article with great tips on making sure your stuff makes it through the move! I thought the community might also be interested in this infographic that outlines the top 10 photos to take for your home inventory to get the most back from insurance.


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