What is Covered Under Home Insurance if My House is Burgled?

Caeva O'Callaghan | March 5th, 2020

The good news is, your home insurance will cover you if someone breaks into your property and steals your stuff. The bad news? You’re unlikely to get a payout for theft if you’ve been reckless, forgetful or haven’t played by your insurer’s rules.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What will my home insurance pay for if my house is robbed?
  • Is it a burglary if the robber found a spare key?
  • What am I covered for if my house is burgled?

Burglary isn’t as cut-and-dry a matter as a house fire. There are grey areas and caveats that may mean you’re out of pocket. In any case, it’s always worth lessening the risk of being robbed, for your own peace of mind.

Burglaries and home insurance

Cash, jewellery and small electronics are most common things burglars will steal from a home. Paintings and other valuable items, such as TVs, may also be robbed.

Most standard home insurance policies don’t cover valuables worth more than a few thousand euro. For example, Aviva will give you a maximum payout of €2,600 – or 5% of the contents sum insured – for any individual item. You can usually pay for extra cover to insure valuable items separately. Some insurers offer policies that include fine art, valuables and antiques. These policies are not necessarily more expensive (on a pro-rata basis) than your standard home policies, but take into account the worth and replacement or repair cost of your collection.

Furthermore, if you collect jewellery or watches, these can be insured for all-risks cover. This covers the items for everything, including lost items, but it’s usually quite expensive.

If you acquire something valuable, even if it doesn’t need to be insured separately, you should always tell your insurer. Laptops, bicycles, smartphones, wedding rings and medical equipment such as dentures or designer glasses are all expensive to replace, but you’ll struggle to get a payout if your insurer doesn’t know they exist.

What if I have a break-in?

According to Defaqto, around 87% of home contents policies say there must be evidence of “force”, “violence” or a “break-in” if you want to make a burglary claim. This means that in order to say your home was broken into, the Gardai must find evidence like broken windows or forced locks.

Unfortunately, if you forget to lock your door, “just pop next door for five minutes” or fail to repair a faulty lock, if someone enters your home and robs you they’ve not had to break in. As you’ve made access easy for the thief, you won’t be covered.

However, insurers don’t always make it black and white. In rare cases, a burglar gains entry through an open window or unlocked door when the owners are home. Zurich, for example, offers cover where there is no evidence of a break in. But they do require a full assessment, and only in homes owned by the person living in them. Aviva allows claims “regardless of forced entry or exit” – but again, only if your house is occupied by the owner. And for FBD, forcible entry need not be evident unless the property is let.

However, most insurers normally require evidence that a theft actually occurred. Usually, this is a Garda report.

What if the burglar uses a spare key?

According to insurers, as well as common sense, you have a duty to take care of your possessions. This means your policy won’t cover you if a robber finds your spare key under the mat and lets themselves in.

In a similar way, insurers will usually refuse to cover the theft of a car if you leave your keys in the ignition. One of the reasons car thefts escalate during the winter months is that people de-ice their cars while they get ready for work. For car thieves, it’s like you’ve served up your vehicle on a plate.

In recent years, it’s common for thieves to use fishing rods and hooks to lift keys from hallways and consoles. Insurers call this cartoonish practice called “fishing”. It’s why you should never leave your keys in the lock or within sight of the letterbox.

Insurance providers Zurich, Allianz and FBD will cover you for theft arising from fishing, if the Gardai can prove that’s what happened. It’s also worth checking if you’re covered if someone steals your keys, but fails to steal anything else.

If you have any questions around your home insurance call us directly in QuoteMe.ie.

If you require more information on what is covered when if your home was ever to be burgled, give us a call in QuoteMe.ie anytime and get our expert advice from certified insurance agents. We have been providing insurance in Ireland for over 30 years and have seen all eventualities. We are available for calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online through our online quote system. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your situation.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.