If you take precautions to secure your home when you leave for work every day and when you leave on vacation, you may be wondering whether it is truly safe from break-ins. There are a number of things you can do, as a home owner, to thwart burglars. A good home security system, for example, can go a long way toward preventing a break-in attempt from being successful.
Burglary Facts in the U.S.
- About two-thirds of burglaries occur in homes, and about 62% of those happen between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Only about 15% of stolen property is recovered
- An average burglary results in about $1,600 worth of stolen property
- A burglary occurs about every 15 seconds in the United States
Tips for Keeping Your Home Belongings Safe from Theft
You can’t keep all of your valuable possessions locked in a safe. There are other ways minimize your risk of break-ins. For example:
- Do not keep expensive possessions such as electronics where they can be plainly seen from outside.
- Always secure sliding windows and doors, especially when you’re gone.
- Secure the yard by keeping foliage away from doors and windows. Trim bushes so they don’t give intruders a place to hide.
- Contact your local police to find out if they offer a security evaluations.
- If you’re leaving on a trip, tell only those who need to know.
- Make sure to lock the house whether you are at home or away.
- Do not hide spare keys in the yard or garage. Consider leaving them with a trusted neighbor. Or install a secure access through your garage that requires a keycode to enter.
Most of the time break-ins involve theft of small appliances, jewelry, and expensive tools; anything that is small and expensive makes an attractive target. When you can, keep these things locked up, or at least out of sight. Store jewelry in a safe or lock box, for example, and make sure expensive tools are secured in a locked toolbox, the garage or a shed.
Finally, make sure you have adequate burglary insurance in your home or renters policy, so you can be compensated if and when you do experience theft.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Theft Outside the Home?
In general, homeowners insurance does cover theft of your personal items outside the home. Most policies include “off premises” coverage, which covers you from a loss of personal property away from home, such as in your car, in your child’s college dorm room, or wherever you may be traveling.
Off-premises homeowners insurance doesn’t cover every possible loss. Additionally, you might need to purchase a separate "rider" to make sure any special or expensive items are covered for their full value.
If you travel a lot, or have a second residence where you spend a significant amount of time, you probably need off-premises coverage more than someone who works from home and leaves only occasionally for short vacations.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Laptop Theft?
Homeowners insurance can cover laptop theft, but many laptops have a value that exceeds the standard policy allowance for personal property. Therefore, it is a good idea to purchase a rider for your laptop.
Keep in mind that a business laptop may not be covered under your homeowners policy.
Do You Need a Special Theft Insurance Policy for Valuables?
You can purchase riders for your homeowners policy to cover specific items of value, like fine art, jewelry, collectibles, and expensive electronics. Many homeowners have questions about what items are considered valuables, and if extra insurance is important for things like taxidermy, heirlooms, signed sports memorabilia and gun collections.
It is a good idea to get appraisals for anything rare or particularly valuable you own, and to consider adding a special rider to your home policy that covers them for their full appraised value.
How to Find a Theft Insurance Company
While many homeowners insurance policies are similar, every home owner has individual concerns when it comes to insurance and theft. Consider asking an agent if additional theft insurance is important for the items you own.