Theft and Vandalism Insurance Claims in Texas
Theft and vandalism claims in Texas can have an emotional impact on the policyholder. They can feel violated and betrayed, and can see these acts as a breach of trust between them and their community. Not only are they dealing with the emotional loss, they have experienced a financial loss as well.
Most insurance companies are only concerned with: Did a theft or vandalism actually occur? Was the property vacant for a period of time? Did the policyholder actually own the items they are listing on the insurance claim as stolen or vandalized and can they provide proof of ownership of the items? Be prepared for a series of questions and/or an examination under oath.
It is important that immediately following the discovery of the theft or vandalism damage a police report is filed with your local Texas department and your Texas insurance company is notified. As part of the police report, you must make a detailed list of everything stolen or vandalized, and if you forget to list something in the initial itemized list, you must file a supplemental police report to amend the list.
The best forms of documentation you should collect to support the stolen/vandalized items can include: pictures, videos, and proofs of purchase, such as: invoices/receipts, credit card statements, policy endorsements, and appraisals. The more documentation you have as to support your ownership and detail the replacement cost of the items the more likely your theft insurance claim or vandalism claim will be properly paid.
If proof of ownership cannot be determined, the insurance company will likely ask for financial documentation, such as tax returns, to determine whether your income level and lifestyle are enough to purchase and own the items that were stolen. Even with this type of information it may still be difficult to get proper payment on the insurance claim. There are special limitations in most insurance policies for theft of personal property.
Some items may have special limits and restrictions, and will not pay out enough money to purchase a replacement. To avoid these special limitations, there are items that you should list in the policy for the replacement value. The Disaster Advocates Texas Public Adjuster team will be happy to do a No Cost Consultation to review the policy and ensure all payments are made properly.
Vacancy becomes a major issue in theft and vandalism claims. Depending on the policy language, if a property is left vacant for a specified amount of time the theft/vandalism claims may be denied. Many policyholders question the definition of a vacancy clause.
The Disaster Advocates recently represented a vandalism claim in which the property was vacant because the owner was making renovations. The insurance company intentionally delayed payment and was considering coverage denial through the property owner’s policy vacancy clause. After submitting supporting documentation and detailed timelines of construction, The Disaster Advocates were successful at helping our client receive full compensation.
We can review your policy and vandalism or theft claim to determine if the vacancy clause will become an issue during the claim filing process.
According to Insurance Journal, metal theft claims have risen 36% in the three years since January, 2010, according to an insurance research organization. Fifty-five percent were on commercial insurance claim policies, while 45% were on personal policies. The report ranks Texas second, behind Ohio, with 2,624 claims of metal theft.
“Law enforcement agencies across the country and around the globe started seeing increased numbers of thefts of metals, such as: copper, bronze, brass, and aluminum in the years leading up to the recent economic downturn,” the report says. “Copper prices were at record highs, increasing the attractiveness of the metal as a target for theft.”
The damage caused by these thefts is often several times the value of the metal stolen, leaving the victims with hefty repair costs, which are then often passed on to insurance companies, according to NICB. The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that metal theft costs U.S. businesses around $1 billion a year.
Don’t become a victim twice; Let The Disaster Advocates help you “Claim What’s Yours.” Please contact TDA Public Adjusters to set up your No Cost Consultation.