Burglary, Robbery, Theft and Insurance Coverage

According to the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, the definition of burglary, robbery and theft are as follows:

  • Burglary – Felonious abstraction from premises, breaking and entering, visible marks on exterior at place of entry
  • Robbery – Forcible taking from person by violence or fear of violence including unconsciousness or death
  • Theft – Includes any act of stealing; broader than “burglary” and “robbery”

These definitions have direct relevance in terms of the triggering of insurance coverage under a standard homeowners insurance policy.

A recent scenario crystallizes the use of these definitions in a homeowners policy.

A homeowner hired an uninsured non-bonded worker to perform renovations in his house. This worker was given a key to the residence. The worker gave that key to a helper, who then used that key to help himself to objects in the house. Upon discovery of the missing items by the worker, a report was made to the police of the theft by the helper. The homeowner inquired as to coverage under the homeowners policy. Since theft coverage under the homeowners policy is triggered by evidence of forcible signs of entry or exit to the house and none of these signs were visible, as access was given with the key, no coverage was available under the policy.

Effectively, this scenario means that the homeowners policy really picks up burglary in terms of coverage since visible signs of forcible entry or exit must be evident in order to trigger coverage. There are policies such as personal inland marine floaters which are typically designed for items such as jewelry, fine arts, musical instruments and the like that do provide coverage for mysterious disappearance, robbery and other forms of theft. For a full review of your insurance and ways in which loss may be mitigated please feel free to call us at Rolfs Insurance Services, and if you have family and friends that may be in need of proper coverage we appreciate the referrals that are given.

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