Does Renters Insurance Cover Burglary?

Burglaries are when someone enters a property unlawfully and steals items inside. The burglar can enter with force, as in breaking a window, or with no force, like finding an unlocked door. No matter what time of day or what the motive, the illegal entry means big trouble for both tenants and landlords. A good landlord will know everything that needs to happen right after the burglary and get a glimpse of what it might be like to navigate with the insurance company.

Renters insurance burglary outcomes?

If you have renter insurances and fall victim to a burglary your possessions will be covered. In most cases, you’ll have to pay an agreed upon deductible that is written out in your insurance policy. An extremely high deductible may not make sense if you do not have a lot of valuable possessions. If a thief steals an $800 laptop but you have a $1,000 deductible the renter’s insurance is not useful in this situation.

Profile of a Burglary

Profile of a Burglary

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, there are more than 2 million burglaries each year in the United States, resulting in $4.6 billion in lost property. The top three ways that burglars enter a residential property are through the front door, through the back door and through the garage. Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries take place during the day when residents are at work or at school. They look for clues that nobody is home, such as mail and newspapers piling up, and pick properties that have easy entry points that are less likely to be seen from the street.

The bottom line is that many landlords and residents will experience a burglary at some point so it’s a good idea to understand what to do after it happens and who is responsible for what losses.

Theft of rental property

When a burglar breaks into a property, they are looking for certain things—money, jewelry, expensive electronics and anything else of value that can be easily unloaded. When a theft of rental property happens and the tenant has some possessions stolen, they may be wondering about whether insurance will cover the loss.

A landlord’s insurance policy will not cover any losses involved with theft of rental property, whether via a burglary or by any other unfortunate situation like a flood or fire. Only an insurance policy on the items will be effective in getting them replaced.

Many tenants have a renter’s insurance policy already, and many landlords make it mandatory to have renter’s insurance when signing a lease agreement. This way, the tenants are not left empty-handed if they are robbed.

Property Damage

Property Damage

While many burglars get into a property simply by walking through unlocked doors, there are plenty of instances where they kick doors in, smash windows or otherwise damage the property to gain entrance. This type of forcible entry can cause all kinds of property damage, from minimal to significant.

The good news is that a landlord’s property insurance plan should cover the damages to the property. However, if the damage is minimal, the repair costs may be lower than the deductible for the insurance, and landlords may not want to go through insurance. It all depends on what happened and how extensive the damages are, but at least landlords can have options when it comes to fixing the property up after a burglary.

Possible Exceptions

Of course, there are always cases where the responsibility for property loss and damages isn’t so easy to resolve. Depending on the actions and behavior of both tenants and landlords, there may be instances where their direct involvement or lack of involvement may open the door for additional responsibility.

Here are just a few examples:

• The tenant may be able to show neglect on the part of the landlord if there is documentation of repair requests to window locks, door locks and unsecured areas that were ignored over the weeks or months.
• The tenant may have neglected to secure the property against break-ins, such as by not activating the alarm system, neglecting to lock doors and windows or otherwise fail to notify the landlord of significant security issues.
• The landlord may bear some liability if they did not take proactive measures to boost security make the property more difficult to break into if there is a record of previous burglaries to the unit.

If landlords and tenants have questions on who exactly is responsible for burglary damages, they should consult with an experienced attorney that deals in landlord-tenant issues. It’s also in the landlord’s best interests to do a yearly review of security measures for each rental property to see what needs to be repaired, what needs to be improved and what can be added or enhanced to keep tenants, their property and the rental property less likely to suffer from a burglary.