Returning to a burglarized home is an extremely traumatic and stressful experience, especially when valuable items have been stolen. Those with homeowner's or renter's insurance should consider filing an insurance claim after a burglary. However, some homeowners and renters run into difficulties during the claims process, as the insurance company’s profits are directly tied to denying claims and limiting payouts.
Claims disputes with an insurance company can be intimidating for policyholders, as these companies are powerful and employ attorneys who specialize in disputes and negotiations. Individuals who have not received the compensation they believe they deserve following a burglary often turn to the experienced third-party insurance claims lawyers of Stabinski Law for assistance throughout this process. For more information about how an attorney can help during a homeowners or renters insurance dispute, contact us today at (305) 643-3100.
What Should You Do After a Burglary at Your Home?
After discovering that a home has been burglarized, there are a few important steps to follow:
- Leave the house, call the police as soon as possible, and file a report. In some situations, the police may be able to find the perpetrator and/or recover some or all of your stolen property.
- Avoid touching anything in the house, as the police will need to investigate the scene for possible evidence.
- Write a list of everything that was stolen and document the scene by taking photos and videos of anything that was damaged during the burglary.
- Insurance policyholders should contact their insurance provider and notify them of the situation.
- If the home has suffered serious damage, such as broken windows or doors, emergency repairs should be conducted as soon as possible. Save receipts for the insurance company.
Contacting your insurance provider is the first step in the claims process. Insurance companies will want to see a copy of the police report, along with photos of the damages and receipts or estimates for home repairs.
What Does a Homeowners Burglary Insurance Claim Cover?
For homeowners who have recently become victims of burglary, their insurance coverage will be based on the specific types of coverage included in their policy. However, some homeowners struggle to obtain fair compensation for burglaries even when the terms of their policies should cover their property damage and stolen items. Types of insurance coverage that could apply when filing a homeowners insurance claim after a burglary include:
- Personal property coverage - Payments for personal property that was either stolen or damaged during the burglary.
- Dwelling coverage - This type of coverage pays for repairs for damage to the home, such as broken locks and windows.
- Other structures coverage - Structures separate from the main home, such as a gazebo or detached garage, are included in the “other structures” portion of many homeowners insurance plans.
How Much Financial Compensation Will the Insurance Company Offer?
The amount of money an insurance company will offer a policyholder also depends on the specific terms of the policy. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover theft, but the amount of financial compensation offered to the policyholder will vary depending on the policy limits and types of coverage. Insurance companies often set a coverage limit for personal property at 50% to 70% of the dwelling coverage amount. For example, a homeowner’s policy with a 50% personal property coverage limit and a $200,000 dwelling coverage amount would cover property damage up to $100,000. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the average loss per burglary is $2,661.
Additionally, many insurance policies have set limits for certain types of items, including:
Homeowners should review the terms of their insurance policies to better understand how much coverage they have for theft and property damage following a burglary.
What Should be Included in an Insurance Claim for a Burglary?
In cases where personal property was stolen, the insurance company will want documentation in order to verify the stolen items and assign a value to them. Individuals who are planning to file an insurance claim after burglary should gather the following documents for the insurance company:
- The date and location where the stolen items were purchased
- Estimated values for each of the stolen items
- The brand and model of each stolen item
- Bank and credit card statements
- Serial numbers
- Photographs of the stolen items
However, even if you don’t have a receipt (or other documentation) for a stolen item, there are other ways to prove that you were in possession of the item and that it was taken in the burglary. Don’t let an insurance company deny your claim or a portion of it because you cannot find a receipt or other documented proof of purchase. Often, your word can be enough. Remember that insurance companies are businesses, and their profits are based on limiting payouts as much as possible. Yes, providing documentation can help a claim go more smoothly, but there is still no guarantee that the company will make a fair offer. At Stabinski Law, we help insurance policyholders fight for the compensation they deserve in insurance disputes.
What if the Insurance Company Denies or Limits the Claim?
While receiving a denied claim or an insufficient compensation offer may be frustrating, it is not necessarily the end of the process. When this happens, homeowners should review their policies again to see if the insurer made a mistake. An attorney can be helpful during this stage of the process, as navigating the complexities of these policies and state laws can be difficult.
Homeowners who believe their claim was unjustly denied or that they were not offered enough compensation may request that the claim be reconsidered. Additionally, an official complaint can be filed with state departments, including the Division of Consumer Services in Florida. Attorneys can also help with the process, along with communication and negotiations with the insurance company, and seek other legal remedies.
Contact an Experienced Insurance Dispute Lawyer for More Information
Becoming the victim of a burglary is one of the most difficult experiences we can go through but getting back to normal is possible with some perseverance. While it may not be possible to replace certain sentimental items, filing an insurance claim can help provide compensation for personal property losses and property damage. However, while insurance is supposed to protect us from suffering unexpected losses, homeowners often run into serious hurdles when dealing with their insurance company during the claims process.
At Stabinski Law, our Florida third-party insurance claims lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients seek the maximum financial compensation they are entitled to. If you have recently suffered theft or property damage during a burglary at your home, we are prepared to guide you throughout the claims process. Contact us today at (305) 643-3100 for more information about filing an insurance claim after a burglary.