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Home Theft Insurance Claims: What You need to Know

Allsound recently issued a warning about an increase in home break-ins between Wilderness and Plett. They say there’s also been an increase in evening home invasions where victims are held up, assaulted and robbed. These incidents typically occur at night between the hours of 8 and 11.

As common as burglary is, most people don’t know what to do if they become victims.

In terms of insurance claims, the first thing to do is report the incident, because as far as your insurer’s concerned, a crime hasn’t occurred without a police report.

What to do in the immediate aftermath

Call the police. As hard as it may be, it’s important to resist the urge to touch anything or clear anything up as you’ll want the police to have the best possible chance at gathering any useful evidence. It’s likely the police will take a while to arrive, so help them get a head-start with their investigation by taking as many photos and videos of the scene as possible.

Another immediate concern is to report as missing any personal documents or items that may have been stolen. These could include debit and credit cards, passports, electricity cards or driving licences.

When the police do arrive, they may want to take a statement from you as well as from your neighbours. You’ll also be issued a case number; which is an essential requirement when making your insurance claim.

Contacting your broker or insurance company

If you have Home Contents Insurance, you’ll most likely need to file a claim within 24 hours of reporting the incident to the police. It’s best to get in touch with your insurer or broker as soon as possible. If you need to talk to us about your home insurance, give us a call on 044 382 0550.

If you have any broken windows or door-locks that need repairing, check whether they’re covered under your Homeowner’s policy and always keep any receipts from locksmiths or glaziers. Your policy may also make provision for the appointment of a temporary security guard to protect your house.

Some insurance companies might require photographic evidence of the damage, so be sure to double check over the phone what your insurance provider requires.

Checking your policy

While Homeowner’s Insurance might sound like a catch-all type of cover, it is in fact limited to the structure of your home, rather than its contents. So if a thief breaks a window or causes structural damage during the course of a break-in, your Homeowner’s policy should kick in and enable you to repair these using materials of a similar quality.

Home Contents Insurance is a separate type of cover that offers reimbursement for items stolen from within your home. Contents should be insured for their current replacement value, so make sure you check the terms of your policy and the insured value noted, or you might not be sufficiently compensated to replace your stolen items.

Remember too, that Home Contents Insurance does not cover you against theft that takes place outside of your home. If you travel with your valuables on a regular basis, you might want to consider taking up an All Risk Insurance policy.

Always check the limit for single items when you’re shopping for Home Contents Insurance. If you have expensive furniture, art or jewellery in your home, you may want to take out additional insurance for further peace of mind.

Different policies offer varying levels of cover, but most will offer a degree of financial protection should you experience a burglary. Holding the right Home Contents Insurance cover may not soften the blow of a burglary, but it can make sure you’re reimbursed and take the financial weight off your mind.

Keeping a record

When it comes to claiming, it’s extremely important that both you and your insurer know what you are claiming for and that you have proof of ownership of the goods in question. Set up an online file for proof of purchase documents — these might be necessary to settle your claim.

Equally, it is vital that you keep at hand receipts or proof of purchase, as you will need these when you make your claim. Record any serial numbers for electronic goods to make it easier for the police to identify your property.

Knowing your limits

There are limits with regards to values covered. If you insure items at the correct replacement value, you’ll be paid out the value if all the terms have been adhered to. However, if a high value item is not specified, it will only be covered for a limited amount.

Where a TV is damaged due to accidental breakage, it will only be covered up to a limited amount. You may have the option to increase your limit. As such, it’s very important that you understand the limits of your policy and to speak to us should you need additional cover for your most valued possessions.

* This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. 

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