Cathleen used her renters insurance after a burglary and was able to recover the cost of her stolen belongings.
Using Renters Insurance After a Home Buglary
person found Cathleen's experience helpful.
After four years, my family had finally gotten back on track. My husband's disability claim was worked out, we were off welfare and we had just bought a lovely little farm. We'd paid cash and things would be tight for a while, but things were finally coming around. These were my thoughts as we headed back to our rental house to spend the last few days of our lease getting the last of our possessions out. I walked around the corner, thinking how much I would miss the beautiful hollyhocks in the front garden.
The front door was open a few inches.
I called out to my husband, telling him to call 911 and to keep our barely 3-year-old daughter in the truck. I peeked in all the windows but could not see any movement. After the police got there and cleared the house, I was able to go in and see what had been done.
Everything was gone. Bank papers, our washer and dryer, the lawnmower, spices I'd been picking up one or two at a time so that I could make my spice shelf look pretty when everything else was bleak, our winter clothes, heirloom Christmas ornaments brought by my husband's family from Romania during the Communist takeover, when half the family didn't make it out and were never heard from again, an antique century cane he'd found in an antique mall . . . . There were so many things that weren't replaceable and so many more that we would have to put precious funds into while we were still trying to get the farm off the ground.
Then I remembered our renters insurance.
We called the agency and told them what was going on. They were over at the rental house within five minutes, helping us with paperwork, telling us what we needed to do to replace the items we'd lost. They called the bank for us and arranged for us to go in and handle changing our accounts later that afternoon. They were a lighthouse while we felt tossed about in a sea of confusion.
I'd never had renters insurance until my husband insisted on it before we headed to my in-laws for the holidays the year before. I'd completely forgotten about it, other than the occasional grumbling under my breath about spending $20 a month on it while we were on welfare. I've never been so happy to say I was wrong about something in my life! The insurance company took care of us completely.
The problem was, we'd never done a household inventory and were in the middle of the move. This made it really difficult to figure out what had already been moved, what was in the house when it was broken into, what was in storage, and everything in between. The insurance company was great, letting us file multiple claims on the same event and even giving us a full year to finish figuring out what was where so that we could really go through things. There were definitely some things I wish I'd done before the burglary, but we did the best we could.
The first thing I'd have done differently was to increase the value of our possessions on the insurance policy. You're going to laugh, but I had no idea that the Lego sets my husband had before we were married that I'd stored on the back porch were actually collector's items worth several hundred dollars! I certainly hadn't thought of how much it would cost to replace the appliances and lawn and garden equipment that were lost.
Secondly, I would have made sure that our insurance included replacement cost coverage. This costs a little bit more, but it means that you can replace stolen items with a new item instead of having to find a comparable equivalent to your four-year-old computer that isn't in production anymore.
Thirdly, the most important thing I would have done is to have a good household inventory, and I would have kept a copy away from the house. This can be as easy as spending a couple hours going through the home, taking a good photograph of the items as well as recording any pertinent details, such as model and serial numbers. You can even take a photo of an item, turn it around to see the model numbers and then take another photo of that, eliminating any need to write out the information. Even if you don't get everything recorded in the first pass, you've at least got part of it. Make another round the next time you have a couple hours free and record more of it.
Having your home burglarized leaves you feeling at a loss and vulnerable. By having a few things in place, it makes the recovery process much easier!