It is a horrible feeling to come home and discover someone has broken into your home and stolen or vandalized your property. Especially when you return home after a hurricane to discover that not only has your home been damaged by the elements, but it has also been burglarized.
Many homeowner’s insurance policies will cover theft or vandalism, and it is a fairly common occurrence to have to file a claim for theft or vandalism following a natural disaster. You will need to file multiple claims at once, for the different damages your home sustains and for the theft or vandalism. Vandalism claims usually go together with theft claims, since the thief usually has to do some damage to the property to enter it to steal from you, so you will likely be filing those claims side by side.
File a Police Report
Since these cases are difficult when it comes to insurance claims, it is important that you follow the right steps to help your case. One of the most important things to do is call the police and file a report with them. Your insurance company will ask you for a copy of the report, so it is a vital first step.
You will need to make a list of everything that is missing when you file the police report; it is important to be able to prove ownership of the items that have been stolen. Make sure you take photos and videos of your home to document the crime scene and do not move anything until after the police have filed the report.
Proving Ownership and Value
The best way to prove ownership to the missing items is to record everything in your home before you evacuate for a disaster, so you will know what is missing; if you can, update your inventory at the beginning of hurricane season and at the end of it every year. Keeping copies of receipts for more expensive things, like computers, television sets, game systems, and more can also help you prove ownership and establish the value of individual items when purchased. Having a detailed record can help the insurance company with their appraisal process to determine the value of what was stolen. If you are able to, keep track of the appraised or estimated value of your items.
Keep everything stored digitally somewhere so you do not run the risk of losing it in the storm or not having access to it; use a cloud as a backup too, in case the computer everything was stored on is stolen. If this feels like a daunting task, there are plenty of mobile apps that can help you take and organize your home inventory.
Hurricane Irma Theft and Vandalism Claims
If your home was vandalized or robbed during Hurricane Irma and you are trying to get your claim settled with your insurance company, time is running out. You have three years from the time the storm made landfall, on September 10, 2017, to file your claim or appeal with your insurance company.