Insurance Blog

Burglar breaking into home

When you go on vacation this Summer, remember these top tips to keep your home from becoming a target of burglars.

1) Stop your paper and hold your mail

2) Make sure you set timers on your lights or invest in motion detectors to give your home a ‘lived-in’ look.

3) Have a neighbor or friend check on your home periodically and pick up any flyers that have been left at your front door.

4) Do not post vacation pictures on social media until you are home.

Here are some additional tips from a Trusted Choice article by Jennifer A. DiGiovanni:

Recent reports of burglars stealing garage door openers from unlocked cars and returning later to gain keyless entry into a home has individuals becoming more vigilant about concealing or locking up the small devices. Other tactics used by burglars include using a coat hanger to jimmy a garage door’s release string and breaking into back doors hidden from neighbors.

Easy Ways to Discourage Burglars

In addition to keeping car doors locked, you can increase home security by making other small changes to discourage would-be thieves. Burglars often target dark, silent homes. Motion detecting lights that switch on when someone approaches your house will scare off intruders. Light timers set to activate when you’re away after dark also help disguise an empty home. Make sure you clear a sight line from the street to your house, which helps neighbors detect strangers lurking around your property. If you’re an animal lover, dogs are another great deterrent for burglars. The sound of barking is often enough to encourage a would-be thief to pass over a noisy house in favor of a quieter one.

Spend More on Security and Save on Homeowners Insurance

According to Paul Martin, CPCU and CAP State Association Liaison, two security features which net home owners a discount on their insurance premiums are centrally monitored home security systems and gated communities. To qualify for a reduced premium, a monitored security system must be tracked off-site to ensure someone is available to contact the home owner and the police during an alarm event. Posting signs on your property indicating that your home is in fact monitored is another visual deterrent for burglars. Gated communities restricting nonresident access are a strong deterrent to burglars looking to make a quick getaway, and insurance companies will discount insurance premiums for home owners in those types of neighborhoods.

What to Do if You Are a Victim of a Burglary

If you return home and find evidence of a break-in, the first thing you should do is file a police report. The police will walk through your home, collect evidence and begin an investigation. After the police report is filed, you will be asked to take an inventory and list everything that was taken from your home. Documentation in the form of original receipts works best, but if you no longer have that information, just an inventory of items and projected replacement cost serves as good starting point when filing an insurance claim.

Know What Is Covered If a Burglar does Break In

According to the FBI’s most recent burglary statistics, the average dollar loss in a home break-in amounts to just over $2,000. Yet, home owners can take comfort knowing insurance does cover theft loss, with some exceptions. Actual cash and coins are limited to $200 in losses, and jewelry is also generally limited to a specific amount unless a separate insurance rider or policy has been purchased. Also, paper documents, including security certificates and savings bonds, are limited to $1,500 in losses.

Other limited items homeowners might not consider when initially arranging homeowners insurance include watercraft (in the event a burglar walks off with your favorite canoe or kayak), car trailers, sterling silver or platinum items, and firearms. Collectors of high-value items like stamps, coins or art will require a separate endorsement for full coverage.

If you run a business from your house, you should also be aware of special loss limitations. For self-employed individuals working out of the home, business items will be limited to $2,500 in losses. Items classified as business items include copiers, printers, or even inventory stored in your residence.

Understanding Replacement Cost

 

As long as an item does not fall under a specific exception or exclusion, insurance policies generally pay out the replacement cost of an item to a claimant. Sentimental items may not have high monetary value, so it is important to keep these treasures in a secure location. Photo albums, family heirlooms and other objects passed down from generation to generation may be irreplaceable. It’s important to remember this when selecting pieces to place in a safe or safe deposit box.

Fourth of July Fireworks: Beautiful, Patriotic… and Dangerous

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 60% of all fireworks injuries occur around July 4th. While these loud bursts of light and color add flair to celebrations, it should be remembered that fireworks are explosive devices and must be handled with care. Many communities celebrate the Fourth of July with firework shows they are often managed by professionals and are executed under controlled circumstances, which allows for the safe enjoyment of the show by the public. However, lots of people also celebrate Independence Day with fireworks at private events, like backyard barbecues, picnics and beach parties.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers the following tips for safe use of fireworks:

  • Know your fireworks; Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

The quickest way to ruin your holiday is to have a friend or family member injured by a mistake with something as volatile as fireworks. You also want to make sure that you’re minimizing the risk to buildings and cars in the area where you celebrate, as mishandled fireworks pose an obvious fire risk. Make sure if you’re using fireworks you’ve got lots of clear space away from houses, garages, etc. Baldwin / Welsh & Parker’s Trusted Choice®independent insurance agents can help you understand the risks you may face if you’re using fireworks as part of your holiday celebration.

We wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Check out these important links for more information:

US Consumer Product Safety Commission

National Council of Fireworks Safety

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While waiting for your vehicle replacement part/s, you may choose to rent a car if one is not available from your dealership. Here are the most frequently asked questions and answers about your insurance coverage while renting a replacement vehicle.

Q: If I am involved in an accident with the rental car would any loss of use or administrative fees be covered under the collision or comprehensive coverage?

A: Loss of Use and admin fees are not covered under an Auto Policy. The insured can check with their carrier to see if they may have coverage through an enhancement endorsement.  Loss of Use is charged by the Rental Company. If there is an accident with the Rental Car and the car is being repaired, the Rental Company can charge “Loss of Use” for the amount of time that vehicle is not available to be rented. Loss of Use is charged regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.

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