When someone intentionally and purposely damages your home or takes your property, it is important to know which type of insurance claim you need to file. There are differences between theft, vandalism, and burglary that could affect your insurance claim.
What Is Theft?
Theft is knowingly taking another’s property without their knowledge or using false pretenses to obtain it. For instance, you store your bike on your back patio, but it is not locked up and someone takes it. On the other hand, your neighbor asks to borrow your bike and then refuses to give it back. Both examples would be considered theft.
What Is Vandalism?
Vandalism is the willful destruction of another’s property. This could include spray-painting the side of the home, breaking glass windows, and forcing doors open. Vandalism also includes damages to your yard, trees, and other landscaping—for example, someone deliberately cuts down all the trees in your yard.
What Is Burglary?
Burglary is entering or accessing a property without the owner’s permission. Entry could be gained by simply opening a door that was left unlocked. It may or may not include stealing property and/or causing vandalism to the home.
If someone commits burglary and enters the home, they may also commit vandalism like breaking dishes and furniture or turning on the water so the sinks and bathtubs overflow. In addition, theft could also occur during a burglary if they steal any property like TVs, jewelry, or other valuables.
Filing an Insurance Claim
When you file an insurance claim for theft, vandalism, or burglary, your insurance company and its adjuster could question the claim. Sometimes they may not believe a crime actually took place unless you can provide proof.
One way to provide proof is to call the police and file a police report for the crime. Another way to provide proof is to take pictures of any property damages prior to cleaning those up. If you were to clean up broken glass or wash off graffiti, your claim could be denied.
It is equally important to contact an insurance claim lawyer to assist with filing your claim. Insurance companies like to downplay the seriousness of the damages or the value of the items stolen. You need to remember, insurance companies are for-profit businesses, which means they will attempt to make a settlement for as little as possible if you attempt to file the claim on your own.
Furthermore, they may try to confuse you about whether you have “replacement cost” or “current market value replacement cost.” If your policy is written for the replacement cost of contents, then this means the current retail prices are used.
If your policy is written for current market value replacement, this means each item is depreciated based on its age. The difference between replacing it and the depreciation expense is what you are reimbursed.
In addition, if collectibles, jewelry, and other high-cost items were stolen, your policy could have coverage limits, unless you have separately itemized coverages for these things. For instance, if a diamond wedding band valued at $5,000 is stolen but you only have standard coverage, the coverage limits could be as little as $500.
For additional help in filing an insurance claim and homeowner representation to help ensure you receive the proper insurance settlement amount, please feel free to contact Silver, Bass & Brams at 1-888-897-1786 today!