Buying a House

How to Prevent Porch Package Theft

(Tips for protecting your packages from disappearing while you’re out, and how insurance might also help)

Porch Pirates

Online shopping has introduced a great convenience for those who don’t have the time or preference for brick and mortar stores, but unfortunately it’s also introduced new risks to consumers. When your packages disappear from your porch before you ever get the chance to claim them, you can end up losing a lot more than money. Package thieves cause unnecessary stress and frustration for homeowners everywhere.

Fortunately there are some easy steps you can take to prevent your deliveries from vanishing. It’s also important to get equipped with the proper homeowners insurance, and an independent insurance agent can help you find the right coverage long before you’d ever need to use it. For starters, check out this guide to preventing porch package theft and how homeowners insurance can help, too.

Package Theft Stats

Package theft is particularly a concern around the holidays and in globally tough times, such as pandemics, because a much larger percentage of folks than usual do their shopping online. However, “porch pirates” have become a threat year-round with the rise in online shopping in general. Check out a few quick package theft stats and see for yourself.

Since package theft is a very real threat, it’s crucial to take action steps ahead of time to protect your deliveries from disappearing. It’s also critical to get set up with the right homeowners insurance for further protection.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Package Theft?

Yes, however, it can get a little tricky. First of all, in order to file a successful claim, you’d need to be able to prove your package was actually delivered and then stolen, which can be a challenge. If the package wasn’t actually delivered, the fault would return to the sender. This is why large online retailers like Amazon have started photographing package deliveries, so they can’t be held liable if your package disappears later. If your package was delivered and then stolen, it becomes your responsibility.

What insurance companies refer to as “mysterious disappearance” doesn’t always indicate a theft. If you were able to provide proof of package theft, the issue would then become if the value of the goods you ordered exceeded your insurance policy’s deductible. Renters insurance deductibles can be lower, often between $250-$500, but homeowners insurance deductibles are typically one percent of the total value of your home. Unless what you ordered was really expensive, it’s unlikely to exceed this amount.

How to Prevent Porch Piracy

So, while it’s good to know that homeowners insurance can provide coverage for stolen packages, it’s also important to understand that you may not actually get your money back if your order wasn’t valuable enough to exceed your deductible. Beyond avoiding the hassle of filing unsuccessful insurance claims, however, it’s best to just prevent porch piracy all around.

The following action steps can eliminate porch package theft:

  • Install a doorbell camera: The most popular option to catch porch pirates is to install a doorbell camera like Google Nest, Vivint, or Ring. Homeowners can record footage of their porches and other entryways around the clock with doorbell cameras, which would then allow them to prove to an insurance company if a package was in fact swiped from their home.
  • Install motion sensor lights: One way to deter porch pirates is to install motion sensor lights. These lights are activated when someone walks past a programmed spot on your property, and can help to scare away package thieves.
  • Use Amazon’s Smart Lock Kit: Amazon created its own service to help prevent porch piracy. Their Smart Lock Kit gives parcel deliverers permission to leave a package right inside your home. While this isn’t the most popular option currently, it’s been gaining traction over time.
  • Schedule your deliveries: If you have the option to plan or schedule a delivery for a day when you know you’ll be home, that’s an easy way to prevent your stuff from getting stolen. For example, if you’re always home on Saturdays, order from Amazon on a day that will allow the delivery to fall on a Saturday.
  • Get a BoxLock: A new popular option is to use a smart padlock box, known as BoxLock. Packages you order are scanned by the delivery person, and then your BoxLock is scanned. The BoxLock will only open for packages scheduled to be delivered to you. If you’re afraid of someone stealing the box with a package inside of it, you can padlock the box to your porch.
  • Ask a neighbor for help: If you have a trusted neighbor, you can ask them to grab your package for you before you get home. This option can work well for folks who live in apartments and may not have the option to install cameras or motion sensors.
  • Ship to an alternate address: If none of these other options work for you, you might consider having your packages shipped to an Amazon Hub Locker. Amazon Hub Lockers are found at many convenient locations such as grocery stores, and requesting to have your packages shipped to them comes at no additional cost. This option can work well for folks who live in high-traffic areas, such as a busy downtown street.

Though unfortunately porch piracy has been steadily on the rise as online shopping becomes more popular, there is hope for homeowners who want to protect their packages. While it’s important to take steps to keep thieves from stealing your deliveries, it’s also important to be covered by homeowners insurance, especially if you ever order products or equipment that’s particularly valuable. Your independent insurance agent can help you find a policy that makes you rest easy.

Here’s How an Independent Insurance Agent Can Help

When it comes to protecting homeowners against porch pirates and all other perils, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who specialize in home insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources, and help you walk through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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