Theft and Your Home Insurance Coverage
If you come home from a long vacation — or even a quick trip across town — the last thing you expect to find is a broken window or front door. And the good news is that burglaries across the nation are going down (the FBI found a 10% decrease in break-ins from 2018 to 2019), but it’s still an issue you should prepare for as a homeowner.
Home break-ins can rattle your sense of security. Replacing your belongings and repairing your home after theft shouldn’t be more cause for concern. Your home insurance policy is there to help you in the event of theft. Though there are caveats you should be aware of regarding how much coverage you have.
- Home insurance covers theft, including costs to replace stolen items or repair your home if it’s damaged.
- You’ll be protected if you’re the victim of theft outside the home, including your car.
Does home insurance cover theft?
Home insurance does cover theft, vandalism and a variety of other hazards that can occur throughout the life of your mortgage. It covers everyone on your policy, including your children living away at college (though it likely won’t cover them once they move off campus) and guests staying at your home.
It’s key to read the fine print since how much reimbursement you and your family receive can change vastly depending on if you have actual cash value, replacement cost value or extended replacement cost coverage in your policy.
It’s common knowledge that homeowners insurance policies include coverage for your home structure, personal property, liability and any additional living expenses. But when a break-in occurs, how do these categories affect your coverage? Below, we dive into dwelling, property and other types of theft protection.
Dwelling theft protection
Dwelling coverage, also known as Coverage A, will help pay for any structural damage sustained during a break-in. So if a door or window is broken during a theft, your home insurance will help repair or replace those portions of your home. And though you’d usually have to meet a certain deductible before receiving assistance from your home insurance company, it’s important to note here that you don’t have to worry about deductible limits in the event of a break-in.
Your home insurance covers more than just your home and the items inside. It also covers additional structures on your property under Coverage B of your policy. Coverage B includes detached garages, sheds and fences in the event they’re damaged during a break-in.
Personal property replacement
Personal property coverage, frequently referred to as Coverage C, helps you replace stolen possessions and fix damaged items. Anything from appliances and furniture to clothing or sports equipment will be (mostly) covered under the personal property section of your policy.
Depending on the value of your items, however, they might not have complete protection. While most policies have sub-limits for certain highly valuable items, other providers (like us) have increased limits for items like computers and home office equipment. If you want more coverage on items that don’t have increased limits — such as firearms or antiques — you’ll need to purchase scheduled personal property insurance.
Limitations on home insurance theft coverage
Like most other portions of your home insurance coverage, there are limitations placed on how much protection you’ll get from theft (or damage that occurs during theft). As mentioned above, your dwelling theft coverage does not have a deductible. But your personal property theft protection does, meaning you’ll need to reach your deductible before your home insurance provider starts to pay out.
Stolen personal property does have policy limitations, so if you want extra protection, it’s recommended to get an insurance rider like scheduled personal property insurance.
They also limit how much they’ll pay, so highly expensive items might need their own insurance rider. Typically, these limits are set at several thousands of dollars for things like jewelry, trailers, china, watercrafts and furs. Your policy has put limitations on other events as well, such as if your property is stolen outside the home or in your car. Check out our breakdown of these commonly asked questions below.
When your home insurance policy doesn’t cover theft
While your home insurance provider will do their best to make sure you’re covered in even the most unique theft situations, there are some instances where you won’t be covered. Any theft that occurs from a named or additional insured isn’t protected, as well as theft from a home that is rented out or currently under construction. If personal items are stolen from your boat or other watercraft, it won’t be covered. Additionally, if you don’t report the theft to the police in a timely fashion but still try to file a claim, there’s a chance you won’t receive financial assistance for the stolen or damaged items.
Does homeowners insurance cover theft outside the home?
Homeowners insurance does cover theft when it occurs outside the home. So if your purse or wallet is stolen while you're at a restaurant, you would be covered. However, it’s worth noting that there are some limitations for stolen items outside the home.
Some insurers limit coverage for belongings in external locations to 10% of the coverage designated for personal items. So if your possessions are stolen from a storage unit, car or hotel room, there’s a good chance that your insurance policy will cover a portion of the loss. Often, there’s also a provision for unauthorized use of credit cards. Inclusions, exclusions and limits all vary by policy and provider.
Does homeowners insurance cover theft from your car?
Homeowners insurance would help pay to replace any of your personal belongings that are stolen from your vehicle. However, it won’t help pay to repair any damage to your car that occurred during the break-in. For that, you’ll need to file a claim with your auto insurance company.
How to file a theft claim
Before a break-in occurs, creating a home inventory video is a good idea, as it will help you assess the total value of everything lost in the event of theft. It’ll also save you valuable time during the insurance claims process when it comes time to file a claim.
Following a break-in, it’s essential to act quickly to minimize losses. Once you’ve made sure that your family members are safe and secure, contact the police and file an insurance claim. Provide your insurer with a copy of your police report and detailed information about any damage. Be ready to respond to any questions your insurance company has to keep the process running smoothly.
Your provider may take a few weeks to update your claim status. You may want to start repairs to get your home back to its original condition during this time. If this is the case, make sure you keep all records of the repair costs’ damage and receipts to submit to your provider for reimbursement. This way, you can ensure you get paid for all incurred damage.
Protecting your home from break-ins
As a homeowner, protecting your home from break-ins should always be top of mind. According to the FBI, there were over 1.1 million burglaries in 2019, with the average break-in costing around $2,661. To prevent someone from getting into your home and stealing your belongings, ensure that your home isn’t an easy target. Try these tips to make sure your home is fully protected.
- Install smart home devices, such as cameras and alarm systems to monitor and secure your home. The use of these devices can even save you money on your home insurance policy.
- Add extra lighting and motion control light sensors outside of your home to make it more difficult to break in unnoticed.
- Ask your neighbors to bring in your trash cans and collect your newspaper while you’re away.
- To add more protection to your home, install basic items like padlocks, deadbolts and window grates.
Taking steps to keep your home secure can do more than just lower your home insurance premiums — it can also give you greater peace of mind knowing your family (and your belongings) have full protection no matter what comes your way. Want to make the switch to an insurance provider that makes the theft claims process pain-free? Give our insurance agents a call to see what Hippo can do for you.