Blog Home Theft And Insurance After A Burglary

Feb 5, 2021

How Insurance Can Protect After A Home Burglary

Person with black gloves picking a lock

Home theft is a real threat in Canada. A 2020 study by Statistics Canada revealed more than 1.3 million Canadians were a victim to property theft, break-ins and burglaries. Even as we spend more time at home, homeowners need to take steps to prevent theft.

This blog provides you with some great information about security tips for your property and how to make sure your items can be replaced.

Does Insurance Cover Home Theft Or Burglary?

Yes, most home insurance policies provide protection against theft, break and enters, and burglaries. Details can be found under the property damage and theft section. It will be replaced or get reimbursed for most personal belongings stolen during a break-in.

It will help cover the costs to repair damaged areas of your home, such as doors, windows, and other entry points up to your policy limits. Additional damage caused by burglars while in your home may also be covered, such as damage to landscaping.

What Stolen Items Will Insurance Cover After A Home Burglary?

Common personal belongings will typically be protected, such as :

  • Electronics : TV, stereo
  • Computer : Laptops, tablets, smartphones
  • Clothing : Pants, jackets, shoes, hats
  • Furniture : Chairs, tables, décor items

Check your documents to clarify what is covered and your specific limits.

Does Insurance Cover Theft Outside The Home?

Yes, many policies include theft that happens outside of the home. Some personal belongings are also covered when you take them outside of your home and when travelling. Personal property in your car, cameras, laptops, and other belongings are covered within policy limits.

Protection For Theft Of High Value Items

High ticket items and other personal belongings are not commonly included. However, you can purchase additional insurance for unique items such as :

  • Art : Paintings, pottery, sculptures
  • Jewellery : Engagement rings, family heirlooms
  • Collectibles : Comic book collections, sports cards, rare books, toys
  • High ticket items : Wine collections, media center equipment, furs

These are available at an additional cost. Talk with your insurer about your options to make sure your items are protected.

What Happens If You Rent And There Is A Burglary?

Home security app

Home theft and break-ins happen to renters too. This is another important reason why you should invest in tenant insurance. You will have protection for personal belongings in the event of a burglary. If you rent an apartment or condo, are away at college, or share a house, this will protect you.

What To Do After A Home Burglary

Here are the steps to take if your home has been burglarized :

  1. Make sure it’s safe : Before you enter the house, make sure it is safe to do so. Someone may still be in your home. If you suspect someone is still in the house, wait in a safe place for the police to arrive.
  2. Call the police : As soon as you discover your home was broken into, call the police. Leave everything as you found it until the police arrive.
  3. File a police report : Work with the police on scene to provide a police report. Be as detailed as possible. Provide an initial list of damaged/missing items.
  4. Secure your home : If required, take steps to secure your home. You may need to temporarily board up a window or door.
  5. Make a list : Having a home inventory list prepared can help with the management of organizing missing and damaged items for your insurer. Take photos and videos of the damage.
  6. Contact your insurer : Provide a full statement of the incident. Your provider will help you with the next steps.

How To File A Home Theft Claim

Home security system being set up

If you are a victim of theft, you should notify the police and file a home insurance claim as soon as possible. Waiting too long could create issues – such as forgetting important information.

The process is similar to how you would file other types. You will be assigned an adjuster and are required to fill out documentation and provide proof of the items that were stolen. You will also need a police report.

  1. Open the claim : Contact your insurer and provide a full statement of the events that occurred. Provide a copy of the police report and get information about the documents you need to fill out and next steps. Your limits and insurance deductible will also be checked.
  2. Appraising stolen items: Create and send a complete list of items that were stolen or damaged. You may be asked to provide proof of ownership (photos, receipts, warranties, bank statements).
  3. Assessing damage : If damage was done to your home, have a trusted contractor provide you with a detailed estimate for repairs.
  4. Analysis : As soon as you send in the required documentation, your adjuster will assess. Repairs for damage will be conducted as soon as authorization is given.
  5. Settlement : Based on the documentation you provided, your advisor will arrangement a settlement. Payout amounts will vary.
  6. Payment : A settlement cheque will be sent. Payment amounts and schedule will be provided.
  7. Closing : Once all payments have been made and repair work completed, the claim will be closed.

Any claim could impact your payment. Therefore, it's important to assess your claim's size and compare it to the cost of your deductible. Your history could also come into play and impact your costs.

Which Factors Will Impact My Home Theft Claim?

The amount of money you will receive as part of your settlement depends on what is included in your policy. If you have contents insurance, specific items will be covered for replacement. Damage to your property as a result of the break-in will be replaced with similar materials and quality. The cost to repair this damage rarely meets the limits.

However, the amount you receive for your personal property can vary. You are subject to limits, and some types of personal property may have sub-limits. For example, it may only provide you with up to $1000 for additional jewellery insurance.

Having actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost will also impact your settlement. ACV provides you with a depreciated value of the items stolen. The replacement cost is based on the price of replacing them at today's prices.

Tips To Protect Your Home From Burglars

While you may not be able to prevent it from happening completely, there are many things you can do to be proactive. In addition to ensuring you have adequate protection, taking steps to protect your home from thieves and deterring theft is important :

  • Invest in an alarm or motion detection system : There are many different types and styles of home alarm systems on the market today. They are available at many price points. Home alarms will also qualify you for a discount. Make sure to put up signs and stickers on your door and windows that notify others about your alarm system.
  • Lock the doors and windows : While obvious, it's important to make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave. This includes sliding patio doors, gates to the backyard, and any windows that are accessible from the outside.
  • Reinforce patio doors : Patio doors are relatively easy to pick. Invest in additional door stops and foot locks to provide added protection.
  • Don't keep spare keys on the property : Many people keep spare keys hidden somewhere on their property – welcome mat, anyone? Rather than hiding spare keys, consider using a lockbox and placing it somewhere on your property.
  • Get a safe : Keeping your valuables in a safe is an effective prevention measure. It can help minimize how much and what is taken if your home is burglarized.
  • Don't be flashy : Watch what you say and whom you tell about personal items. For example, avoid displaying high ticket items near windows. Avoid talking about or sharing photos of expensive personal items online. Also, be conscious of the packaging you put out for garbage pickup. You never know who may be watching.
  • Work with your neighbours : Sometimes it takes a collective effort. Work with your neighbours and keep an eye out for each other to help keep your neighbourhood safe.
  • Install security cameras : They are not only ideal for helping to catch thieves, but their presence alone will also deter some people from attempting to break into your home.
  • Create the appearance of being at home : Whether you are home or not, it's always a good idea to give the appearance that someone is home. Leaving on a light or radio is a good way to do this.

Following these prevention tips along with updated coverage will help protect your home and personal belongings.

Home Theft And Burglary FAQs

Standard policies include loss of jewellery from your home during a break-in. Check with your provider for specific information and limits for your home insurance.

To a limit, cash will be covered up to a few hundred dollars. Keep a minimum amount of money in your home and the rest at the bank.

You can insure your credit card to offset any potential loss due to theft or counterfeiting of your card. Many consider adding identity theft insurance as an added precaution.