Can Private Investigators Videotape Your Family During a Surveillance? #149


Can private investigators videotape your family during a surveillance?  I can’t remember where I first saw this question but I wrote it down so I could respond to it.  Recently someone again asked this question because a private investigator videotaped someone who was a friend of the subject and also videotaped her son (investigator thought it was the subject and the subject’s son).  I thought it was an important question to someone that is being investigated.  The person being investigated might be feeling scared or confused as to why a private investigator is following them or if they seen the investigator videotaping their family.  



In this article I will touch on the following points in hopes of answering this question and to provide some context as to why investigators do what they do.  

  • Generally what the objective is for an insurance investigator conducting surveillance.

  • How investigators document activity from a claimant or subject.

  • What an investigator wants to videotape (generally speaking).

  • Can private investigators videotape your family during a surveillance?

Can private investigators videotape your family during a surveillance?
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The General Objectives for a Private Investigator Conducting an Insurance Related Surveillance.

Generally speaking most insurance companies just want documentation of the claimant (the person with an insurance claim).  Of course not all insurance related surveillance assignments are the same but I would dare say 99 percent of surveillance assignments are just to document one individual’s actions.

Other individuals related or not might walk in view while the insurance investigator is videotaping you and that is quite normal.  It is also quite legal to videotape anyone walking into view as long as it is in public view and there is no expectation of privacy.  I talked about this a little in relation to following someone to a school in a previous article.

How do Insurance Investigators Document Activity From a Claimant?

I don’t know that I have ever been asked to only photograph a claimant’s activities in my 13 years in the insurance investigation industry.  I have only been asked to videotape someone over the years.  

Though there are many reasons an insurance company would want an investigator to use a video camera over a camera that only takes pictures, I think one of the main reasons is video provides more context to someone’s movements and the person’s activities they participate in. You can see someone limp in a video but not a picture.

What Does an Investigator Try to Videotape When conducting an Insurance Investigation?

Generally speaking the investigator is mostly interested in individual they are conducting the surveillance on. We want to document their movements, where they travel to  and sometimes document their interactions.  

Basically we want to document as much activity as we can of the individual as we can,legally and without being detected by the individual.

Can private investigators videotape your family during a surveillance?

Yes, we can videotape friends and family during the course of an insurance surveillance. With that being said it is not the primary objective in most cases. Investigators generally just want video of the subject.

I will say that in some households when there are multiple family members living in a residence I will take video of them all for identification purposes.  An example would be a man in his 20’s living with 3 other brothers.  They all might look similar since they are brothers.   I might videotaped everyone that exits the home just so I can refer back to the video when trying to figure who is who.   Investigators in many cases don’t know what the subject looks when they work a surveillance.  I can use that information when attempting to identify what an individual looks like at one of their known medical appointments.  

If you found this article by searching for this question I hope this is a satisfactory answer.  If you have more questions be sure to ask in the comment section and I will do my best to give you an answer.

Andrew