How to Deal with a Burglary

As if you haven't noticed, the world isn't a safe place at the moment. Leaving your front door unlocked has become a thing of the past. In 2006, one out of every 39 homes was burglarized in some form or another. Victims will feel completely violated and there are many frustrations in trying to replace lost or damages items and keepsakes. In order to get back what was taken from you, the first step is to file a claim with your homeowners insurance company in a timely manner. Countless victims can attest to the fact that initiating and going through the claims process is not easy.

Most policyholders rush through the application process and neglect to provide a detailed home inventory showing all of the important possessions they own and estimates of the value. You may have provided a ballpark guess as to the value of your possessions as a way of cutting costs and saving time, but you might be unaware of the implications. If you have not maintained an accurate home inventory, the claims process could become a nightmare scenario. Imagine trying to recite every important possession you own from memory after you are dealing with the aftermath of a burglary. There is good news though - it doesn't have to be this way. Follow these simple steps to save yourself the additional headaches if you have to file a claim in the future.

An Inventory of Personal Property

First, make a note of when your policy renews each year. This is when you will want to update your personal property inventory. This makes it easy to adjust your coverage or switch to a different provider that offers better rates. Go room by room with a pen and paper or use a tablet and spreadsheet to document each of your belongings. Assign a replacement value to each item and try to compile any receipts you may have for the items. A camcorder or cell phone camera can aid you during this process as you can film or take pictures of the possessions in your house. Track serial numbers and any additional details that would be easy to include in a claim. This will likely make your reimbursement quicker and easier if you follow these simple steps.


The Insurance Information Institute reports that a regular home insurance policy covers personal property at 50%-70% of the face amount of the policy. As mentioned before, though, documenting the actual value of your belongings will be much easier with a home inventory. Exceptionally valuable items like jewelry, antiques, and collectables are usually protected by a basic policy, but their value may exceed the limits of what the company will pay for any one item. If you want to insure these items for their full replacement value, you will need to get a personal property rider included in your policy. This will increase your premiums, but you will receive extra coverage for your high-dollar items. For instance, you might have a diamond ring that was stolen in a burglary that would be fully covered if you had a personal property rider. The ring would also be covered if you lost it. Riders are fairly easy to add to your policy, but insurers typically require an appraisal before they will insure these items.