Break-ins, theft, and vandalism are some of the most heavily disputed claims in the state of Florida. Why? There are a lot of moving parts to these types of claims, and more importantly, because when your personal property has gone missing, there's often little or nothing left to prove you even owned something in the first place...
Insurance companies profit when they create a lot of hoops to jump through. It's a psychological tactic designed to further frustrate those who have already been through a loss in their home. A home robbery is no different. In fact, it's the insurance company's bread and butter.
When your mind is frazzled, while you're feeling violated and still trying to figure out what happened, the insurance company is likely going to tell you that unless you produce receipts/proof of purchase for every item you claim, you will not be compensated.
This is incorrect! Your insurance policy does not say this!
What your insurance policy does say is something to the effect of "submit all bills, receipts, invoices to justify the figures in your inventory," and then some other vague stuff like "You must cooperate with our investigation." That first part doesn't say if you don't have receipts or proof of purchase you will not be paid. It says that if you have those documents, they should be submitted to assist in the valuation.
What if you don't have receipts? What if you purchased cash? What if an item was a gift? What about family heirlooms?
The insurance claim process is not supposed to be an adversarial proceeding. It's supposed to be a joint effort between the insurance company and their insured to figure out the value of the claim. Unfortunately, it often becomes the insurance company shifting all the burden to the insured to figure it out, while the internal representative for the insurance company misconstrues the language of the policy and the field adjuster is conducting an investigation as if you're committing fraud (especially if your personal property inventory gets amended because you noticed something else missing later on).
Tip: One of the best ways to combat this in advance is to walk through your home with a camera every time you change your smoke detector battery and take photos or video of your belongings in every room.
This is just the beginning...
Even if your claim is accepted, your insurance policy has an entire section dedicated to lesser limits for certain categories of your contents. You may not be entitled to receive the full value for your items, most commonly on money, jewelry, firearms, heirlooms, and business property.
Many times, insurance companies will hold up the payments for 99% of the claim while they dispute one item that has a sub-limit. This can create unnecessary delays while you're already trying to juggle your day-to-day life with trying to rebuild your home life.
Your homeowners insurance policy typically covers your belongings, up to a certain limit, while they are anywhere in the world? Even if you're robbed on vacation or someone breaks in to your car while you're still in the mall shopping on Black Friday.
Did you know?
An often under-looked part of break-in, theft and vandalism claims are damages to the dwelling.
Let's face it. Most home burglars aren't Pink Panthers.
They may be able to pick a lock, but more often than not, they're less than careful going through your home. Many times, insureds are more concerned about the violation and loss of their contents and may not realized door or window frames are damaged (sometimes triggering ordinance and law, or code upgrades that are required with a repair). Many modern doors and windows can't easily be repaired. Maybe Harry and Marv left the water running, or broke a plumbing fixture.
Even if they were careful, there are sometimes clean up efforts associated with police investigations.
Either way, significant insurance benefits are often forgotten or never pursued in the first place because this becomes one more hurdle that a busy homeowner might not have the time or patience to oversee.