Documenting Small Business Losses and Damages

When you’re confronted with damage to your business property or commercial vehicle, proper documentation of the damage or loss is the crucial first step. By understanding how to properly document the damage from the beginning, you can better simplify the insurance claim process.


Tips for Documenting Damages


  • Act Fast – When documenting damages, be sure to act quickly and don’t alter the condition of the property. The only time you should make repairs or adjustments is if it is necessary to avoid further damage. These should only be emergency repairs.


  • Photograph the Damage – Next, take pictures of the damage and surrounding areas. This includes every point of damage, including the smallest details you don’t think are important. There are never too many pictures of damages. If it is damage was sustained to multiple areas of your home, from say a fire, be sure to get every scene including the interior, exterior, basement, and yard. Valuables that were destroyed from the damage should have been photographed when you got the insurance policy, so the new pictures help compare the damage to what the quality was before.


  • Written Documentation – Once you have taken the photographs, get out a piece of paper and write down details of the damage. You should be making note of the model, brand, date of purchase, and brand of any items in your home that were destroyed as well as noting the cause of damage, if you know it, and circumstances behind it. Written documentation should be detailed as it may not be fresh in your mind when you speak to the insurance company.


  • Witness Statements – If there were witnesses to the situation surrounding the damage, get their statements as soon as possible. Like you, their recollection could be different if you wait to get statements.


  • Cost of Repairs – Even after the claim has been filed and you are making repairs, you should continue documenting the necessary repairs and the cost. Save every receipt and take notes of the repairs you need to make. Other costs to be documented include those as a result of the accident, and typically includes hotel or restaurant receipts while your home is being repaired.


Tips for Documenting Business Auto Damages


  • Photograph the Damage – Perhaps the most important part of documenting damage to your business vehicle is taking photographs. When taking pictures of the damage, be sure to not alter anything in the vehicle as it can make an impact on your claim. If you don’t have a camera with you when the damage is done, use your mobile phone to get pictures. Take as many pictures of the damage as you can, including every angle possible. Other things to photograph are any obstructions in the road, skid marks, missing road signs, or other evidence for the accident.


  • Written Documentation – Aside from photographing the damage and the scene, you should also record the events that occurred on paper. Every minute detail is important, just as with damage to business property. Not only for your business insurance purposes, but because it could be months after filing the claim, and you won’t have these details fresh in your mind if it goes to court. You should write down how fast you were going, what caused the accident, the weather and road conditions, distractions, anything you heard before the accident, and any other details you feel are significant. When documenting the scene, get statements from any witnesses who saw the accident.


By following these tips, you will be able to make a claim with your business insurance company and begin the process of getting benefits for necessary repairs to your building or commercial vehicle.