Coming home to find your place ransacked by burglars can leave you feeling violated and distressed. Having your personal belongings stolen only adds insult to injury. Fortunately, renters insurance can provide financial protection if burglars strike.
Renters policies typically cover theft, including burglary and break-ins. But policy specifics vary, so it’s important to understand exactly what your renters insurance does and does not cover for burglary.
This guide examines renters insurance coverage for burglary. We’ll look at what’s covered, exclusions, reimbursement details, and tips to prevent break-ins in the first place. With the right policy provisions, you can have confidence you’re protected if a burglar targets your rental.
Renters Insurance Basics
Before diving into the specifics on burglary, let’s review the basics of what renters insurance includes:
Personal property coverage – Pays to repair or replace belongings stolen or damaged due to covered causes.
Liability coverage – Covers injuries or property damage you’re legally liable for.
Loss of use – Pays additional living expenses if your rental is uninhabitable after a covered loss.
Additional coverages – Options like replacement cost coverage for belongings.
Premiums vary based on factors like location, claims history, coverage limits, and deductible amount. Bundling renters with auto or life insurance can also earn discounts.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Burglary?
A standard renters policy will provide coverage if a burglary occurs in your rental unit and your personal property is stolen. For example, renters insurance would typically cover:
- Items stolen during a break-in
- Belongings stolen if someone picks your door lock
- Loss from a smashed window to gain entry
- Damage during a burglary to walls, floors, doors, etc.
Some renters policies may also cover burglary of belongings when you’re away from home, like:
- Luggage stolen from your hotel room
- Car break-in and theft while traveling
- Pickpocketed phone or wallet
- Storage unit theft
However, exclusions apply in certain situations. Let’s take a closer look at how burglary claims work.
Renters Insurance Claim Process for Burglary
Follow these key steps if you return home to find you’ve been burglarized:
1. Document the scene
- Take photos and video documenting damage, stolen items, and the condition of entry points like doors and windows. Don’t clean up or touch anything until after police inspection.
2. File a police report
- Call the non-emergency police line to report the burglary and request documentation for your claim.
3. Notify your landlord
- Inform your landlord about the break-in and request prompt repairs to any property damage that compromises security.
4. File your renters insurance claim
- Contact your insurer and explain the theft. Provide any required documentation like the police report.
5. Complete the claims process
- Work with your adjuster and answer any questions promptly to settle your claim.
6. Update security
- Take measures to improve home security, like adding deadbolts, security systems, outdoor lighting, etc.
With the right renters policy provisions, you can receive reimbursement for stolen or damaged property resulting from a break-in.
What’s Covered for Burglary Under Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance covers theft of your personal belongings. This includes outright burglary as well as theft under other circumstances. Here are some examples of covered scenarios:
Someone breaks into your rental while you’re out and steals electronics, jewelry, etc.
A burglar smashes a window or door to enter and ransack the place.
Someone picks the lock and sneaks in undetected to steal items.
Belongings are stolen from your car, hotel room, or storage unit.
Your luggage is stolen at the airport or items pickpocketed while traveling.
Cash stolen in a break-in, up to policy limits (usually $200-$300).
Unless specifically excluded, theft coverage encompasses burglary and robbery inside or outside your rental. Protections and limits can vary, however.
What’s Not Covered for Burglary by Renters Insurance?
While renters policies cover burglary broadly, some important exclusions exist. Your insurer likely won’t cover:
Roommate theft – Claims require proof of unlawful entry and criminal intent.
Disputes or accidents – Civil disputes and unintentional damage aren’t covered.
Negligence – Leaving a door wide open may negate coverage.
Unexplained disappearances – No proof of forcible entry and theft.
Property in transit – Belongings stolen while moving often aren’t covered.
Identify theft costs – Coverage requires a specific endorsement.
Checked luggage – Airlines cover checked baggage.
Read your policy carefully to identify any other exclusions that might apply to a burglary claim.
Two important factors determine how much renters insurance pays for stolen items:
Replacement cost vs. actual cash value
Replacement cost – You’re reimbursed the amount needed to buy new replacements. This is the best option.
Actual cash value – You’re paid the depreciated value, which is less than replacement cost.
Per item limits – Caps coverage for categories like jewelry, electronics, etc.
Total personal property limit – The max the policy pays for any one claim.
Higher limits mean more burglary coverage, but cost more. Review your coverage needs with your agent.
Tips to Prevent Break-Ins
While renters insurance covers burglary, prevention is ideal. Follow these tips to deter break-ins:
Use strong deadbolts on all exterior doors and windows.
Install a monitored security system with door/window sensors.
Keep doors locked at all times, even when home.
Don’t share vacation plans publicly on social media.
Ask neighbors to watch your rental and collect mail when traveling.
Install exterior motion sensor lighting.
Keep valuables and cash out of sight and in locked areas.
Don’t allow newspapers to pile up outside when gone.
Taking prudent measures reduces the need for a renters insurance claim. But it’s still wise to have strong coverage in case burglars strike.
Can Roommates File a Joint Claim?
If you share a policy with roommates, you can file a joint claim for burglary damage and loss. Each person can submit claims for their own stolen or damaged belongings.
However, anyone named on the policy who was involved in the theft or negligence that enabled it would likely have their portion of the claim denied. All roommates must be victims of the crime.
Does renters insurance cover burglary and theft? Keep these general guidelines in mind:
Renters policies cover burglary and most forms of theft, even away from your rental.
File a police report and contact your insurer right away after a break-in.
Roommates can file joint claims if sharing a policy and victimized together.
Track your stolen belongings to submit a detailed claim for reimbursement.
Items stolen due to disputes, accidents, or negligence are often excluded.
Prevent break-ins by fortifying entry points, using security systems, and being discrete online.
Higher limits ensure you’re adequately covered for burglary-related theft costs.
With the right renters insurance provisions, you can have confidence you’re covered financially in case a burglary or other theft occurs. But prudent prevention steps help avoid ever needing to use that coverage.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Theft?
What is typically not covered by renters insurance?
Does renters insurance cover theft while moving?
Does renters insurance protect the tenant by covering damage or theft?
What is a theft deductible for renters insurance?