Theft and burglaries are among the most-feared property crimes in the U.S. Data shows that 60% of residents fear someone breaking into their homes when no one is around, while 58% fear their houses being broken-into when they’re sleeping.
If unlucky and you fall victim to a burglary or theft, the losses incurred can be devastating. Data from the FBI shows that homes lose an average of $2,661 from break-ins. That’s on top of the emotional toll homeowners and their families experience after the break-in.
Luckily, some financial burdens can be lifted off your shoulders if you have homeowners’ insurance. Homeowners' insurance policies cover home theft, offering different types of theft protection depending on the policy.
Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Break-Ins and Theft?
Homeowners’ insurance covers theft from your home or property. Homeowners' insurance policies will cover stolen personal property and pay for theft-related problems such as replacing or repairing damaged items after a break-in.
For instance, if the burglar forced their entry through the door and damaged it, your homeowners' insurance will pay for repairing or replacing the damaged locks.
Losses due to theft are typically covered under personal property protection. Most policies also include coverage for property stolen away from home, albeit with a few limitations.
For instance, while comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy covers car theft, homeowners’ insurance might cover personal belongings stolen in your car.
These additional coverages provide you with extra protection in case of theft.
The Types of Theft Protection You Get from a Homeowners’ Insurance Policy
Homeowners’ insurance offers three key coverage types to victims of theft and break-ins. They include the following:
Also known as Coverage A, dwelling theft protection helps pay for any structural damage sustained during a burglary. Therefore, if a window or door gets broken, your home insurance will help replace or repair these structures.
With dwelling coverage, you often don’t have to worry about deductible limits when filing a claim.
Other Structures Coverage
Your home insurance covers more than your home and the belongings inside it. It also covers additional structures within your property under Coverage B of your homeowners' insurance policy.
Coverage B includes sheds, detached garages, and fences. Therefore, your home insurance will pay for their repair or replacement if damaged during a break-in.
Personal Property Coverage
Commonly referred to as Coverage C, personal property coverage helps you fix or replace damaged or stolen items. These range from furniture, appliances, and sports equipment to clothing.
Depending on the item’s value, you may not have complete protection for each item. Most policies offer sub-limits for highly-valuable items, while others provide increased limits for essential personal property such as computers and home-office equipment.
How Much Can You Expect Your Homeowner’s Insurance to Pay After a Break-In?
The most crucial information policyholders must know is that each coverage in their homeowner’s policy has a limit. The limit represents the maximum amount your insurer will pay for the covered claim.
Some coverages also have a deductible. A deductible is your share of the cost of the claim. You should choose and adjust your homeowners' insurance limits and deductibles based on your needs to avoid most of the expenses landing on your shoulders.
The limits imposed on your coverage will determine the amount of coverage you have on your policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the typical coverage limit for personal property is 50% to 70% of the dwelling coverage amount.
For instance, if you have a dwelling coverage of $250,000 and get a policy that sets the limit for personal property coverage at 70%, your personal belongings will be covered up to $175,000.
However, high-value personal items often have a sub-limit, a lower limit imposed by the insurance provider to lower how much coverage they can offer you.
For instance, despite a personal property coverage of $175,000 using the example above, the provider might have a sub-limit of $1500 on jewelry, meaning you’ll only get cover up to $1500, even if the value of the stolen jewelry exceeds it.
If you need more coverage for high-value personal belongings, you can opt for jewelry insurance or “schedule” them.
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
Choosing replacement cost or actual cash value will affect the cost of your policy and how much you receive for your claims.
Homeowner insurance policies based on replacement costs are more expensive, but the insurer replaces the stolen items with brand-new ones.
Actual cash value coverage is cheaper, but the insurer will only pay for the depreciated value of your belongings, which could leave you with an enormous bill to pay to cover the actual cost of the items.
How You Can File for a Burglary Insurance Claim
If you fall victim to theft or burglary in your home, there are essential steps you should take to file a claim:
Report the theft to the police – Your insurance company will most likely require a police report to file a claim.
Perform emergency repairs – If the door or window is broken, repair them as soon as possible. Save the receipts for these repairs for reimbursement by the insurance company.
Take videos or photos of the damage – Documents areas of your home where there was damage or where missing items were stolen.
File a claim with your insurance company – Your insurance company will review your claim and pay for losses and damages based on your policy.
If any personal belongings were stolen, providing your insurance company with the following information will be helpful:
The estimated value of your item
Where and when was it purchased
The brand and model of your item
To verify the value of stolen belongings, the insurance company may ask for the following information:
Credit card statements
Having a home inventory where you keep track of your belongings will make the claim process easier and maximize your payments.
Consult a Professional and Get the Best Coverage
A homeowners’ insurance policy is a comprehensive cover that will ensure you suffer minimal losses from property damage and theft. Contact our insurance professionals to help you choose the best coverage for your needs.