Finance

Burglaries: What you need to know to insure your home and property

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Find out what you need to know to insure your home, and not just against burglary.

Police statistics show that in recent years the number of burglaries has fallen significantly, from 364,000 crimes in 2000 to 127,000 in 2012. Unfortunately, only just over 30 % of recorded burglary offenders are detected. That's why it's worth insuring homes and apartments.

In Poland, about. 60 % of real estate. This proves that Poles are still not very aware of insurance. Unfortunately, mistakes are also made when choosing an insurance. How to choose the one that is not too expensive and at the same time provides effective protection of property in various situations?

What can property insurance protect against?

The reason is that in the event of a burglary, you should first insure objects that may be valuable and an easy prey for a thief. These are primarily movable goods, i.e. consumer electronics, high-end electronic equipment (laptop, camera, game console), as well as clothing, jewellery, coins or other collectors' items (paintings, sculptures, clocks).

You can also insure the fixed furnishings of your home, i.e. door and window frames, built-in cupboards, wall coverings, television and alarm systems, etc. These items are insured not so much against theft itself, but against damage caused by a burglar.

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It's important to note that property you store in your garage, basement or other utility rooms - typically bicycles, barbecues and lawnmowers - may also be covered, as well as structures located outside the building but forming part of the property, such as fences or gates.

What does the cost of insurance depend on?

The insurance premium depends mainly on the scope of the coverage and the amount of the insured sum, which the owner of the property indicates to the insurer. It is the owner who must determine the value of his property, which will serve as the basis for the payment of a possible indemnity. In this context, in addition to burglary and theft, fire, devastation, power surge or flooding must also be taken into account. These situations are usually associated with much greater losses, which must be taken into account when determining the sum insured, which, after the loss, must be sufficient to cover the resulting losses.

How can you reduce the cost of your insurance premium?

The insurance company always pays attention to the type and extent of security devices. Thanks to them, as they minimize the risk of burglary, you can get a discount from the insurer and pay less. What kind of protection is it? First of all, it is important to know if the apartment or house is equipped with an alarm, if it is located in a guarded housing estate and if it is equipped with certified multiple-key locks, doors or windows with increased resistance to break-ins. On the other hand, roller shutters or bars in windows are particularly advantageous for owners of single-family homes or ground-floor apartments.
A customer's seniority with a company and a damage-free insurance history are also often appreciated. Cancellation of an instalment payment can result in another discount, as can the purchase of several insurances in one package (e.g. third party liability in private life, accident insurance, legal protection (OP) and insurance of an apartment against several risks, e.g. theft, fire).

When do we not receive compensation?

Each insurer specifies its own list of liability exclusions in the general insurance conditions. This is a catalogue of situations in which the company may not pay compensation to the client.

If an apartment owner fails to lock the door or loses the keys to the door, he or she may have difficulty obtaining compensation. One of the main categories is the exclusion of liability for commercial items. Although some insurance companies offer clauses that extend coverage, for example, to electronic equipment used for business purposes.

Always take a few minutes to read the liability exclusions section of your policy. This will help you avoid disappointment when a claim occurs and the insurer refuses to pay the claim.

Remember that the security devices in the property that were declared when the insurance was purchased must be in working order and active at the time of the loss. If an expert determines after a theft that the alarm in the apartment was not working or that there is no alarm at all, and this was stated in the contract with the insurer, we will not receive compensation.

Inform in time of the settlement of the damage

A homeowner needs to know not only what events are covered by insurance, but also what to do in the event of a loss. Effective reporting of the event to the insurance company allows you to expedite the settlement of the claim and bring it to a successful conclusion.

- Time plays a huge role in such cases. One should not forget that, for example, a burglary is not only related to the loss of objects, but also to the complete devastation of the front door. In such a situation, it is essential to act quickly, in order to protect the property from further damage. It is also important to quickly report the incident to the insurer, which leads to the payment of compensation and restoration of the pre-loss condition - explains Piotr Adamczyk.

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What to do if your insured home or apartment is damaged:

  • if possible, protect the property from further damage;
  • inform the insurance company of the incident immediately;
  • Gather the necessary documents that will allow you to efficiently conduct the claims process (take pictures, look up the insurance policy and, if there has been a burglary, notify the police and attach the information about the notification to the documents);
  • make an appointment with an expert of the insurance company - within 7 days (in practice, it is a period of 1 to 3 days) from the notification, an inspection of the damaged property takes place, in which an expert of the insurer participates together with the injured party (or his lawyer);
  • make sure that you have given the insurer the correct account number to which the compensation will be transferred - as a rule, the compensation awarded is transferred to the bank account indicated by the injured party within 30 days of the claim being reported.
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