Theft is a peril your insurer covers – it applies to your personal property at home, and anywhere else.
What’s considered theft in insurance?
Insurance protects you from sudden, unexpected things that may happen to you (or that you may accidentally do to others). Theft fits the bill… as long as you’re not the thief
What’s cool about this named peril (if we can say perils are cool?!) is that your insurer will cover your stuff both at home and anywhere else, even abroad! So if your earrings are stolen from your hotel safe while you’re out to dinner, or someone swipes your purse when you’re out sightseeing, you’re covered!
Does renters / homeowners insurance cover theft?
As we mentioned above, theft is a named peril (which also include other bad things that may happen to your stuff because of fire, vandalism, freezing, and more). Renters insurance always covers theft – and homeowners insurance covers theft, too, even if someone steals your smartphone, for example, while you’re away from home.
That said, like most parts of your insurance policy, there are a few exceptions you should note.
Theft isn’t covered if:
- You’re the one who stole something
- It happened somewhere you rent/own that’s under construction
- It happened at your place when someone’s renting it out
While the first is pretty obvious, the second two are less so.
Insurance is there to protect you from sudden, accidental events that you couldn’t have prevented on your own – essentially unforeseeable risks. Places that are under construction or rented out to others carry a much higher risk of something happening to your stuff, and are therefore excluded from your coverage.
Read: that super fancy watch you left in your room while renting out your place that was stolen? Not covered by your insurance company.
When theft is covered… and when it isn’t
Now let’s dig into some practical examples of when theft would and wouldn’t be covered by your insurance company:
Example 1: Burglarized apartment
Let’s say you go out for a movie with a friend, and come home to find that a burglar broke into your place and stole your TV, computer, sound system, a bunch of expensive jewelry, and your friend’s backpack which had a laptop and headphones inside. Ouch.
Would you be covered? Yes, mostly.
First off, your and your friend’s stuff would be covered, provided they don’t have a policy of their own. Just make sure you can provide a full inventory of what was stolen, make and model, receipts, and pictures if possible. The more info you can get, the easier it will be for your claims adjuster and insurance company to process your claim.
The only tricky thing in this scenario is the expensive jewelry.
Most companies provide around $1,500 of insurance coverage for jewelry under your base insurance policy. If your jewelry was worth more than that, you’ll need to have something called an endorsement to add on extra coverage in order for it to be protected in scenarios like this. Otherwise, if your jewelry was worth more than $1,500 and it wasn’t properly insured, you may be in a bit of a pickle.
Now, for another example.
Example 2: House swap theft
Let’s say you did a house swap with a couple you found on Facebook, and came back to find that they stole a bunch of stuff including cash, jewelry, TVs, and watches.
Unfortunately, since you willingly let others stay in your home, you’re actually on the hook for this.
To sum it all up, don’t let strangers into your home and always make sure you have enough coverage for your stuff!