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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Break-Ins?

Updated: September 2017

Homeowners insurance may help cover break-ins. Two coverages in a homeowners policy may help you recover from a burglary: dwelling coverage and personal property coverage.

Dwelling coverage helps cover the cost of repairs due to a covered loss, which typically includes damage caused by a break-in. So if an intruder breaks a window or damages your door, dwelling coverage may help pay for repairs.

Personal property coverage helps cover the cost of repairing or replacing your belongings if they are stolen or damaged by a covered loss, such as theft. So if an intruder steals items from your home, personal property coverage may help pay to replace them.

At A Glance

  • Homeowners insurance typically helps cover property theft and damage to your home as the result of a break-in.


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How Much Insurance Do I Have for Break-Ins?

As for how much you can expect your homeowners insurance to pay after a break-in, well, that depends on your particular policy.

When it comes to dwelling coverage, most policies help pay to repair or replace burglary damage with same-quality materials.

Your personal property coverage might work differently. If you have "replacement cost" coverage for your belongings, your insurer would help reimburse you for the cost of repurchasing the item at today's prices, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says. But if you have "actual cash value" coverage, your insurer will likely deduct for depreciation, paying only what the stolen item would sell for today, not the cost to buy a new one.

Regardless, most policies typically only cover a claim up to a specific amount — what's known as a limit. Each coverage in a homeowners insurance policy has its own limit. Odds are, the damage to your house caused by a break-in won't reach the dwelling coverage limit you have on your home, because it may be as high as the amount required to rebuild the structure.

But personal property limits can be different. Most policies provide coverage for your possessions at about 50 to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have on your home, according to the III. However, certain types of property, like jewelry or silverware, will likely have their own lower limits. For instance, jewelry coverage might be capped at $1,000 or $2,000, the III says.

So, if someone steals your TV in a covered break-in, your personal property coverage would kick in to help reimburse you to buy a new one. But, if a high-value item, like a ring, for example, is stolen, you'd only be reimbursed up to the sub-limit, and you'd have to pay the rest out of pocket. Your insurance agent can help you understand the limits on your coverages.

Keep in mind, you'll typically have to pay your deductible, which is your share of the cost for a covered claim. One exception is if you've purchased scheduled personal property coverage to increase your coverage limits on certain high-value items. You may find that you won't need to pay a deductible before your insurer pays for the loss of a scheduled item.

Tips for a Burglary Insurance Claim

Would you know what to do if your home was damaged or your stuff was stolen in a burglary? Start by reporting the burglary to police, the III says. You'll also want to promptly get in touch with your insurance agent because, according to the III, many insurance providers place a time limit on how long you can wait to file a claim.

To get the claim going, it's a good idea to document any property damage with photos or video and prepare a list of the stolen items (along with receipts), the III says. If you already have a home inventory, it may expedite this process.

You'll also want to make any emergency repairs that will help protect your home from further damage, the III says. For instance, you may want to replace broken window panes or door locks that were damaged during the break-in. Be sure to save your receipts, the III says, because those expenses may be reimbursed by your insurance provider.

You probably never expect to be the victim of a burglary, but if you are, knowing what to expect from your insurance afterward can be a good first step to putting the pieces back together afterward.

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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

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