A home burglary occurs once every fifteen seconds in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
It’s disheartening when you return home after a long day at work, only to discover your front door has been kicked in and your belongings stolen. The average burglar gets away with $2,185 in stolen goods. Assuming you have homeowner’s insurance, however, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be reimbursed for any stolen or damaged property.
Contact the Police Immediately
If you believe a burglar has broken into your home, don’t go inside. There’s always a chance that the burglar is still inside, and entering could place you in harm’s way. Instead, contact dial 9-1-1 and follow the operator’s instructions. Depending on the circumstance, the operator may advise you to wait inside your vehicle while parking in the driveway, or wait at a neighbor’s house until the police arrive.
Get a Copy of Police Report
After the local police have cleared your home and deemed it safe, ask for a copy of the police report along the names of any officers who assisted in the investigation. You’ll need this information when filing a homeowner’s insurance claim.
Contact Your Homeowner’s Insurance Provider
Go ahead and call your homeowner’s insurance company to inform them of your situation.
Repair Essential Damages
Don’t wait until after you’ve filed a homeowner’s insurance claim to repair property damages. Whether it’s a broken door or smashed window, contact the necessary repair company ASAP. Broken or otherwise damaged entry points leaves your home susceptible to further burglary. So, photograph the damage, contact a repair company, and save the receipts.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to repair all damages. Rather, repair doors, windows or other areas that are essential to your security and safety. If the burglar vandalized your home by smashing interior walls, for instance, you can hold off on repairing this until after you’ve contacted your homeowner’s insurance company.
Prepare a List of Stolen and Damaged Items
Now comes the not-so-fun process of inventorying your stolen and damaged items. Create a detail list of every item that was either stolen or damaged during the break-in, along with the price paid for the item and its fair-market value. If you have receipts, serial numbers or photos, include them as well. The more information you have about the stolen products, the greater your chance of receiving a fair, hassle-free reimbursement by your insurance company.
Homeowner’s insurance policies typically have a deductible that the homeowner must meet when filing a claim. Much like a car insurance deductible, this amount is deducted from the total reimbursement of your claim. For example, if you filed a homeowner’s insurance claim stating $3,400 worth of stolen property and your deductible is $1,000, your provider would reimburse you $2,400 ($3,400-$1,000).
Deductible amounts vary depending on the policy, although most fall somewhere between $1,000 and $100,000. Opting for a lower deductible typically increases premium amounts. Contact your insurance provider to learn more about their deductible and plan options.
Replace Cost vs Actual Cash Value
If you haven’t done so already, review your homeowner’s insurance policy and its reimbursement terms. Most policies consist of either “replacement cost” or “actual cash value” coverage. A policy with replacement cost means the insurance provider will value stolen items as if they were new today. A cash value policy, on the other hand, means the insurance provider will value stolen items at their depreciated fair-market value in their current “used” condition.
For the best rates on homeowner’s, auto, business and life insurance, contact us today. Established in 1953, Oyer, Macoviak and Associates is Florida’s premier personal and commercial insurance provider.
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Rob Macoviak is the President of Oyer, Macoviak and Associates. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates is the oldest independent insurance agency in Boynton Beach and has been in business since 1953.