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Homeowners insurance when burglarized

It's a curious fact that the federal government does very little to monitor the amount of crime. You would imagine the Department of Justice would be interested to follow the statistics of wrongdoing so that resources could be targeted where most needed. Instead, we have judicial statistics that record the number of cases coming before the courts — the tip of the iceberg with so little crime actually detected. The police admit to solving less than 10% of the burglaries reported to them. Yet the statistics show the number of burglaries has been falling. This surprising fact is explained in two ways. First, most people have the basic contents of a home so burglars struggle to find buyers for the goods they steal. Second, more than a quarter of our homes are now fitted with an alarm system, iron bars on the windows, and stronger doors. This makes it more difficult for the burglar to break in. Obviously, a determined thief will always get in but, if it looks too much hassle, most move on in search of a home where the owner has helpfully left a door or window open.

So let's start with the good news. Most insurers offer a discount for people who fit security measures to reduce the risk of a burglary. Check with your current insurer to see what gives the biggest savings. Now come back to your home with a little more confidence. You may still find the worst has happened, but you have done your best to prevent it. Now the practicalities: did you have enough cover? Whether you are a renter or an owner, it's worth paying the full rate to cover the replacement value of all your possessions. Walk through the rooms and make a list. It's too easy just to think of the more expensive items like the television, your computer(s), cameras and music equipment. You will be surprised how quickly the value of the contents rises when you actually list all you have.

In fact, there should be two lists. One should be the everyday possessions, the other the expensive items. This can be jewelry, artwork and other collectibles. Take photographs of all the expensive items. For all the larger electronic and domestic goods, make a note of the serial numbers. Insurance companies are always more comfortable if you have proof of purchase — yes, it's a good idea to keep receipts and instruction manuals should a claims adjuster ask for them. Receipts are also useful to show the original value. If you have no receipts, look for evidence of payments on credit card and bank statements. Even PayPal may show payment when you bought online.

Although this all looks a lot of hassle, you are smoothing the way should you come back to a burglarized home. Now you have a master list, it's easy to find what's been stolen. The claims check is also likely to arrive more quickly, which should make you feel a little better. Now spend some dollars to make your home a fortress and the next homeowners insurance quotes will not rise too much. When you claim, remember this will be recorded in CLUE and A-PLUS so, when you next come to renew your home insurance, all insurers will know about your claims history.

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