Photos of guns for Insurance


June 6, 2011, 06:46 PM

I just wrote down all of my guns Serial #'s, models and types for insurance purposes, such as fire or stolen.

I heard some folks take pictures of their guns.

Should I take photo's of my guns or am I good with just the Serial #'s.


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Steve H
June 6, 2011, 06:59 PM
I have a list sorted by type (rifle, pistol etc.) s/n, model, scope & misc. One day I will drag them all out at once and do the photo thing. I will photo the serial numbers when I do that.

June 6, 2011, 07:07 PM

Why though?


June 6, 2011, 07:15 PM
Absolutely you should take photos. We were burglarized several years ago and had a few guns stolen. During claims settlement the insurance company wanted me to show evidence of ownership of the firearms. I had a few receipts, but they also said that a photo would suffice, as well as a statement from anyone (non-relative) that knew I owned them. I now keep all receipts, and photograph every gun. I too document the serial numbers, and other pertinent details. I do not, however, intentionally photograph the serial number.

June 6, 2011, 07:17 PM
I think the photo is a good idea as it just adds more credibility that you own it should there ever be a dispute. I had a friend who had his house burn down, he now has very good documentation on what he owns in general. Not that hard to do with digitial cameras. Keep a least one copy somewhere other than your home.

June 6, 2011, 07:18 PM
Absolutely you should take photos. We were burglarized several years ago .... I do not, however, intentionally photograph the serial number.

Why not? Just curious?

June 6, 2011, 07:21 PM
One other should also find out what your insurance coverage limits are for guns. Chances are, if you have a few, that your homeowner or renters insurance will have a fairly low limit of coverage. My homeowners policy limit for guns is $2,000. I can can add an addendum to my policy to cover guns at a higher limit, but the cost gets a bit interesting as the coverage level goes up. Your insurance carrier may be different, but it's certainly a good thing to know what you have, and make the choice, before facing the reality (for the first time) after a loss.

June 6, 2011, 07:25 PM
Why not? Just curious?

With my one insurance loss experience, it really didn't come up as an issue. When reported to the police, they wanted the serial number, but I didn't have to provide evidence of each serial number.

June 6, 2011, 08:08 PM
The more documentation the better (yes, for fire, flood, theft - etc)

and nearly as important as that - keep TWO copies of everything (including receipts) - one at your home in your "safe" place and one OUTSIDE your home (i.e. bank safe deposit box) in a "safe place"
(I keep these copies with other important documentation to include - but not limited to - birth certificates, car titles, life insurance policies, bonds - etc.... or anything else that's important to you)

Pics are good - video is great (but store NEITHER on your computer for "safe-keeping" ) - especially because you can very easily document the condition of the "valuable" - it's serial number, any other identifying marks - etc.

Why? For the unplanned things (fire, flood, theft, accidental-DEATH/your estate - etc)

And yes - every year, as your "hobby items" increase in size and value, double-check that you have enough insurance (and it's NOT that expensive to add additional "riders" onto existing policies to ensure you have enough coverage) - for example,
I JUST discovered that all of my reloading equipment is considered as part of my "firearms etc" coverage and I needed to increase my coverage accordingly.

Your results may vary (but in this case........ not by much, lol)

June 6, 2011, 08:24 PM
I used to use software that let you keep a record of all your firearms
I lost the computer code and didnt want to purchase another one so I went into Microsoft Office and made an Excel file with every bit of information I could document including pictures

I listed manufacturer model number amount paid accessories serial number and short description of the firearm things like that

I keep this file on both my computer and also a thumbdrive that is always with me

I also figured that an excel file would be easier to read and more common than a proprietary gun cataloging software

I tried including pictures of the firearms at good descriptive angles that show them to be exactly what they are and also close ups of the serial numbers for verification

June 6, 2011, 08:26 PM
I take photos. Why not? Add just another level of protection. Also, when I say I own a Glock 17 with the serial number of XXXXX, and a photo of a Glock 17 also showing that serial number, makes things nice and easy

June 6, 2011, 08:33 PM
Dimis that is an excellent way to keep a record. I did one long ago using Lotus 123. Easy to update. Keep a printed copy in my safe deposit box along with photos and purchase paper work.

I was burgled years ago and lost a 1911. The police wanted the serial number, the insurance wanted purchase information. I do have replacement cost insurance which is a good thing. For your insurance check on the need for a rider and just what the coverage includes.

If a person doesn't have Excel, Open Office has a good spreadsheet and Open Office is free.

June 6, 2011, 09:27 PM
I listed manufacturer model number amount paid accessories serial number and short description of the firearm things like that.

Yes, that's exactly what I've done as well. I've even called the manufacturer to get the "birth date" of each used gun I've purchased. It's all documented on the spreadsheet, in maticulous details.

June 6, 2011, 09:34 PM
My gun was stolen about 2-3 months ago. I had my original receipt with all the info on it. The Officer did ask me if I had any pictures in to better identify it. The only picture I had was of the gun was the manual.

Take pictures. EVEN OF THE SERIAL. Take all serial numbers down, Make and model. You will be doing yourself a big favor. Also, Lock em in safe. Lesson learned the very sad and hard way.

June 6, 2011, 10:31 PM
A picture is worth a thousand words. Whey you say to the insuance company that it was as-new, you have a picture. That said, I don't have pictures of my firearms although it is something I intend to do.

Owen Sparks
June 6, 2011, 10:49 PM
Good idea but you must get a clean photo of the serial number as all 1911's look pretty much alike to the average insurance adjustor.

June 7, 2011, 12:27 AM
Yes. You should photograph everything of value for ownership and insurance proof.

What is the argument for not doing it?

Also, you should ensure that your insurance covers it all. Most basic insurance covers only a few thousand dollars.

June 7, 2011, 12:28 AM
Whey you say to the insurance company that it was as-new, you have a picture.

That's a good reason to get the picture when it's still new. ;)

I wonder if the insurance companies would accept a picture as being evidence of the firearm's latest condition?

What does our NRA coverage include for fire or burlary loss from our homes?

June 7, 2011, 08:25 AM
the best way to get a good picture of a firearm is to use a flash camera, and photograph it in a white(or light colored) bath tub ( drain the water first).

Stand the weapon off the bottom using a few 12ga shells set on end and stand on the edge of the tub shooting down- you'll want to give the light plenty of room to bounce around.

Without a flash, a bright sunny day, but out of direct sunlight- again, the light bouncing around will make for a nice soft light that will show details well.

June 7, 2011, 08:32 AM
Ramone, should you clean the tub before taking the pictures? :D

I'm somewhat of a profectionist and the "how to" take a good picture is generally what keeps me from doing a complete photographic gun inventory. I know it is no excuse, as an average picture is a lot better than no picture at all.

June 7, 2011, 08:34 AM
I use a video camera and I narrate it as I show the firearm, turning it over to get various views. "Today's date is June 1, 2011. This is a Smith and Wesson 686, I bought it at Academy about 3 years ago for $xxx. The serial number is xxx-xxxx-xxx. Here is a Garand, bought from CMP for $xxxxx"... and so on.

I do the same with pretty much all the house contents. Once a year or so I update the video and put it in my safe deposit box.

June 7, 2011, 10:55 AM
Like TR, I video and then store the video.

Easy to make sure that everything is accounted for in the event of a fire or theft and no debate over values.

June 7, 2011, 10:59 AM
Easy to make sure that everything is accounted for in the event of a fire or theft and no debate over values.

And something else, not really gun related directly but insurance related for sure.

You'd be surprised how much "stuff" is in your house. If you really had to sit down and list EVERYTHING in case of a total fire loss could you?

I mean, bed sheets, washrags, extra detergent in the closet, canned food, boxes of new batteries, cans of car wax in the garage... endless trivial items that add up to thousands of dollars.

My father has been an insurance agent for decades and he tells me that people consistently underestimate the value of items in their home by 20-30% because they are good with listing TVs, DVDs, and furniture but forget all those little things that pile up.

Video is a great way to remember its there. Open drawers, film linen closets etc.

Anyway, works well for guns too :)

Stope Rat
June 7, 2011, 06:13 PM
An earlier poster mentioned carrying a thumb drive with info.

Being more than a little OCD, I found that I had lists of guns, lists ofinsurance policies, lists of books I wanted to buy etc. But they were never handy.

I took the Excel spreadsheets, 'printed' them as PDF files and then downloaded to my Kindle e-book reader. Now I have a ready reference with me that doesn't require me to have my laptop to view.

And as soon as I did that, I realized that I could also download the manuals for all my guns the same way, and have a ready reference library of everything gun-related I needed.

June 7, 2011, 06:45 PM
I shoot photos of most of my valuables because I'm too lazy to create a video.

Good thing with pictures is that you can store them online by emailing the pictures to yourself. This will make the pictures available to you (most) anywhere in the world and at any time for download if you need it. In case of catastrophic fire, tornado, tsunami, etc. that destroys your entire home & all records, you can download these records from a friend's house, hotel, internet cafe, etc.

June 7, 2011, 06:50 PM
after your finished documenting all your guns with pictures etc,transfer them to a thumb drive and put in a sagety deposit box in a ziploc bag.if your computer gets stolen or crashes,you still have the info

June 8, 2011, 06:26 AM
I decided to do the photo thing not only for insurance but so I could tell if what I was thinking of buying was different to what I already had. I took photos of the different details of each gun I had. It took over four full days of taking them outside, taking a quick set of pics and then putting them away again. There thousands of photos taken and in the end I kept 6643 photos of my guns showing serial numbers and such.

The photos are kept on six different computers in three different places plus I have all the photos on my phone for when I’m out shopping. Have a look here if you want. (

These are only the Czech’s but it gives the idea.

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