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A theft or break-in can happen when you least expect it, no matter where you live. The good news is a home insurance policy may help you recover.

Here’s what you need to know about home insurance and theft:

What is considered theft in insurance?

Theft occurs when someone unexpectedly takes your personal belongings without your permission, with the intent to permanently keep them. These may be clothing, electronics, appliances, jewelry, lawn equipment, or anything else you own. Since these items may come with a high monetary and emotional value, theft can be devastating.

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Does home insurance cover theft and break-ins?

Some types of home insurance coverage may apply if you’re a victim of theft or a break-in, including:

  • Dwelling coverage: Dwelling coverage helps with repairs to your house if it’s damaged by a break-in. It’ll come in handy if an intruder breaks your window or damages your door.
  • Personal property coverage: Personal property coverage pays to replace or fix your items if they’re stolen or damaged. If an intruder steals your phone or breaks an expensive table, for example, it applies.
  • Other structures coverage: Other structures coverage helps pay for repairs to detached structures on your property if they’re damaged in a burglary. These may include damaged fences, detached garages, gazebos, or fences.

How much insurance should I have for theft?

The amount of home insurance you need for theft will depend on your coverage type and policy limits.

Dwelling coverage

You should ideally have enough dwelling insurance to cover the cost to completely rebuild your home and any structures that are attached to it. Keep in mind that the rebuilding cost is not the same as your home’s sales price. It might be higher or lower, depending on where you live, the condition of your home, and other factors.

If your home is insured for 100% of its replacement cost, you should have plenty of coverage for theft, since any damage to your home likely won’t reach your coverage limit.

Tip: To most accurately calculate your home’s replacement cost, consult an insurance agent or professional appraiser.

Personal property coverage

Like dwelling coverage, you should ideally have enough personal property coverage to replace all your belongings if need be. These include everything inside the home, such as clothes, furniture, toys, appliances, jewelry, and food. Personal property coverage is often between 50% to 70% of dwelling coverage, but you may want to consider higher coverage or an insurance rider to help cover any valuables you have.

The way your insurance provider will reimburse you after a theft depends on the type of insurance you have. If you have replacement cost coverage, your insurer will reimburse you for what the item would cost today. If you have actual cash value coverage, your insurance carrier will reimburse you for what the item would sell for today (deducting for depreciation).

Tip: To ensure you have enough personal property coverage to replace your belongings, create a detailed list of everything you own, including purchase prices. Once you complete it, add up the total value of your belongings to get an idea of how much coverage you’ll need.

Learn More: How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?

Other structures coverage

Most insurance providers set your other structures coverage at 10% of your dwelling coverage limit in a standard homeowners insurance policy. However, this might not be enough coverage for you if a burglar does severe damage to the structures on your property.

Tip: If you have many other structures on your property and find that their total value exceeds 10% of your dwelling limit, speak to your insurance carrier to increase your coverage.

When doesn’t home insurance cover theft?

Your standard homeowners insurance policy may not cover theft in some instances. As previously mentioned, if a theft exceeds your personal property coverage limits, your insurer won’t completely cover it.

Homeowners insurance also typically has limits on cash theft — so if you have thousands of dollars socked away under your mattress, your insurance carrier likely won’t reimburse you for all of it.

Check Out: Everything You Need to Know About Home Insurance Claims

Does home insurance cover theft from a car?

Home insurance covers your home itself as well as the personal items inside your home, even when they’re elsewhere. This includes your vehicle. So, if someone steals items inside your car, your homeowners insurance policy will protect you. However, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the theft of your vehicle itself.

Keep in mind: Some policies have lower coverage limits if a person steals or damages your belongings away from your home (this is known as “off-premises coverage”).

How to file a claim for theft

Once you realize you’re the victim of theft, follow these steps:

  • Evaluate what’s missing and any damage. If your home or car has been broken into, determine what was stolen or damaged. While you don’t need the exact dollar amount of the damaged or stolen items, you should make sure it exceeds your deductible before you file a claim.
  • Report the crime to the police. Report the theft and any vandalization to the police. Be sure to get a police report, as your insurer may ask for it.
  • Document the theft. Take clear photos or videos of the damage or places where property was stolen. Your insurer may ask for this documentation as evidence when you file a claim.
  • Contact your homeowners insurance carrier. Every insurance provider has its own unique process for filing claims. But some insurers allow you to begin a claim online through a customer portal. You may also call your local insurance agent. No matter which route you take, you’ll need your policy number on hand.
  • Work with your claims adjuster. If the theft caused damage to your home, your insurer will likely send a claims adjuster to inspect your home. Respond to them promptly to avoid delays.
  • Receive your payout. If your home insurer approves your claim, you can expect a check in the mail. This may take some time, so be patient and reach out to your insurance carrier for status updates.


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Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.

About the author
Anna Baluch
Anna Baluch

Anna Baluch is a personal finance freelance writer with years of experience writing for well-known media outlets in the business and personal finance space. Her work can be found on media outlets like The Balance, Freedom Debt Relief, LendingTree, Credit Karma, Nav, and RateGenius. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Northwood University and an MBA from Roosevelt University.

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