Life is complicated, insurance doesn't have to be.
You hear a strange noise down the hall and you're home alone. You
can't figure out what it is, so, naturally, your mind jumps to the
last crime drama you watched, and now you're terrified.
We hope that it's just the cat knocking something over again.
But if it turns out to be something more, your next steps are crucial.
So, what should you do in the event of a house robbery?
But first, let's get technical. Did you know robberies and
burglaries are different?
Either way, your homeowners insurance will likely cover
damage done to your home by the intruder and most of the
belongings they take.
1. Get to a safe place and stay out of your house
You open your front door and see your house was broken into
(a burglary). What do you do? Bolt into the living room to see if
you still have your laptop? Hurry upstairs to check on a family
heirloom you keep hidden?
While this instinct makes sense, it's dangerous. If you spot
any signs of burglary, you should immediately exit your home. Stay
with neighbors or inside your locked vehicle until the police arrive.
There are two reasons for this seemingly counterintuitive step.
2. Call the police
As soon as you and your family are in a safe place, outside
of your home, call 911. The police will come to your house, do an
investigation, and ensure the thief isn't still there. They will ask
you to do your best to create a list of the missing items to include
in the report. This step is very important. A police report and an
accurate list of your missing items is crucial for your insurance claim.
3. Take inventory of stolen items
So here's the hard part, not to say the rest of this hasn't
been challenging, but now you need to establish what has been
stolen. You will probably identify any large or valuable items that
are missing first, like electronics, home safes, and jewelry since
they're more noticeable. But it's important to look around and make
a complete list of all items that were stolen, big and small, to
include in the police report and your insurance claim.
Police frequently check local pawnshops and dark corners of
the web used for trafficking stolen goods. You never know which
stolen item, a watch, an old cellphone, a power tool, might be the
key that helps find your items.
This information needs to be turned over to the
police as soon as possible.
The best thing you can do to increase the odds of having your
items returned is to accumulate as much information about the items
as you can, including:
Ideally, you'll have an up-to-date list of your belongings
before a break-in, so it's a good idea to start recording items as
you acquire them if you don't already. This is called a home inventory.
To create your home inventory, you can use one of the several
home inventory apps, or a spreadsheet, or just pen and paper, as
long as it's recorded somewhere.
Check out our free template: Inventory
List For Your Personal Property to get started on yours.
4. Call your insurance agent to file a claim
After the police have reviewed the scene and filed an initial
report, your next phone call should be to your insurance agent. When
you call your agent, have your list of stolen items ready. Make sure
the list you give your agent matches the one you provide the police.
After this, a claims adjuster will reach out to go over the
next steps. They will ask for a copy of the police report or a case
number. You can still file your claim without one, however, you will
need to provide the report later to proceed with your claim.
Your list of missing items is also necessary when you talk to
the claims adjuster. So, if you haven't noticed, step three is
important. Try to find any receipts or professional appraisals of
any items that were stolen. This will help the claims adjuster
evaluate the value of your items.
If you cannot locate receipts, try to look through your email
or web history for proof of purchase, things like:
Claims adjusters can only do so much if you can't confirm
what your valuables are worth. They will do all they can to make
sure you receive compensation for the items that were stolen.
What will my home insurance cover in the event of
a house robbery?
insurance policies will cover damages to your property from the
robbery and the items stolen. However, it's important to keep in mind
there may be a value limit for the items stolen. For example, fine
arts, jewelry, and guns may need to be insured by adding an
endorsement, for high-value
property and valuables.
5. Take steps to prevent future break-ins
Nobody expects a break-in to happen. However, after your
house is robbed, it's a good idea to see how you can try to
prevent future robberies.
Hint: Certain home security measures may
get you a discount on your insurance, depending on the insurance company.
At Auto-Owners, we provide discounts for:
You can also consider easy-to-implement home
security measures, like:
Above all else, we hope you feel safe in your home again.
Having an intruder ransack your belongings is upsetting, so we
encourage you to take time to de-stress and make a game plan on
how to prevent future robberies.
*Products referenced may not be
approved/available in all states. Limitations and conditions
may apply. Premium will be based on benefits chosen and
policy rates available at time of application.
Disclaimer: This article is not expert advice. The
analysis of coverage is in general terms and is superseded
in all respects by the Insuring Agreements, Endorsements,
Exclusions, Terms and Conditions of the Policy. Some of the
coverage mentioned in this material may not be applicable in
all states or may have to be modified to conform to
applicable state law. Some coverages may have been
eliminated or modified since the publishing of this
material. Discounts may not be available in all states.
Limitations and conditions may apply. Premiums will be based on
benefits chosen. Please check with your local Independent
Auto-Owners Insurance Agent for details."
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