Did you know that there is one burglary every 13 seconds in the U.S?
As per a report issued by the US Department of Justice, FBI, almost 11.5 people out of 10,000 experience property crime each year. These include burglaries, unlawful entries, motor-vehicle thefts, and other thefts. However, the good news is that these are declining as more and more people have started installing home security systems to protect their homes.
So, what’s the difference between a break-in and a theft?
Break-ins constitute burglary and robbery, whereas theft involves appropriating a person’s physical property, such as money or possessions, without their knowledge. Robbery means using force, threats, or violence to snatch something that’s not yours. Simply the intention to commit a crime by entering property unlawfully through force or an unlocked door constitutes burglary.
You may then ask yourself, how do I protect my property from break-ins and theft?
The first thing to do is to purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy from a reputed insurance company. A homeowner’s insurance safeguards your home and personal property from natural calamities and other perils that will sometimes include break-ins and theft. So, if someone tries to break into your home and steal your possessions, you may be able to claim for the damage caused by the break-in.
Next, purchase a good home surveillance system, install motion-sensor lights around your home, fix deadbolts on your doors and locks on your windows. This layer of protection not only reduces the risk of a break-in, it also re-affirms your seriousness in protecting your home to your insurance provider. Since it reduces the chances of a burglary, your insurance provider is likely to give you a discount on the premium. Always remember to switch on your home alarm system when leaving home. After all, your safety is in your hands!
What are the important factors to consider when buying a homeowner’s insurance policy?
- Your home insurance is made up of dwelling coverage, coverage for other structures on your property, personal property coverage, loss of use coverage, personal liability insurance, and medical payments coverage. Once you have decided the amount of coverage you require for dwelling coverage, which includes rebuilding and repairing your home, the other coverages are factored automatically as a percentage of this coverage. Damage to other structures is usually set at 10% of the dwelling coverage and you receive 50%-70% of the dwelling coverage if your personal possessions or home’s contents are ruined due to a covered peril and so on.
- Ascertain if you have an actual cash value or replacement cost value mentioned in your policy. If your policy mentions actual cost value then you will receive only the depreciated value of the lost items whereas, in a replacement cost home policy, you will receive an amount equal to the current price of your items as if they were new. The premium would be higher for a replacement cost home policy.
- The amount of premium that you pay is related to the amount of coverage in your policy. If you happen to live in an unsafe neighborhood where the property crime rate is high, or your region commonly suffers wildfires or hurricanes, the chances are that your premium may be high. Other factors that affect your premium are your home’s age, its dimensions, and the number of rooms in the house. If you wish to purchase additional coverage, especially for your expensive possessions and jewelry, it will translate to higher rates of premium for you.
The average annual homeowner’s insurance premium was pegged at USD1,249, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
What should I do if there is a break-in or theft in my home?
- Report the crime to the law enforcement agency. Keep this police report safely as it is required when you make an insurance claim.
- If you need to make emergency repairs, please ensure that you save your receipts for reimbursement from your insurance company.
- Take photos or videos of the damage. Make a note of the areas of your home that were damaged or where missing items were stolen.
- Inform your insurance company so that the claim process can commence without delay. Parallelly, contact a reputed public adjusting firm like Experienced Public Adjuster to assist you with the claims process.
- Keep an updated list of your possessions, especially your valuables. Having professional appraisals of any expensive valuables, noting the estimated value, brand, and model of your items, including keeping receipts and detailed photographs, is helpful when filing a claim.
Why do I need a public adjuster?
Facing a burglary is a horrifying experience. On the one hand, is the immediate demand of keeping your family safe and protected and on the other hand, is the stress of liaising with your insurance provider to get what is rightfully yours. You want to get your life back on track as soon as possible. Further, your insurance provider will send field adjusters to inspect your property. They may ask you many questions and insist on various documents to validate your story like bank statements, credit card statements, photographs, receipts, warranties, etc. Did you leave the front door open? Was your home vacant? Answers to such questions need to be well thought out as you may say something which will become an obstacle in the claims process. If you have a representative from Experienced Public Adjusters to take over the responsibility, you will become stress-free, and the entire process will be handled smoothly. If it is a minor theft, you may not want to file a claim as your premium will go up significantly. Insurance companies are always looking at reasons to cut down or refuse your claim. As expert public adjusters, we are astute enough to understand their tactics. They may blame you for not filing a police report immediately after the burglary, or for delaying the submission of your claim for more than 60 days after the theft, or for leaving your home vacant and under construction to deny your claim.
At Experienced Public Adjusters, we have a qualified team of licensed professionals. We take pride in our work, and with your best interests in mind, we keep you informed at all stages of the claim process until a fair settlement is received by you. We’ve been in this business for a long time, so we’re fully conversant with all the requirements of your insurance provider. We keep ourselves updated with the latest requirements and statutes and reach out to professional valuers and appraisers if required. So, when you need assistance with a break-in or theft claim, reach out to Experienced Public Adjusters!