I read an article today on the Nextdoor website about a house that had an attempted break-in.
It happened early in the morning- while they were asleep. In fact, they probably wouldn’t have even found out about it- except that they have one of those home video camera systems that are popular these days.
The man attempted to get into their garage and front door- then walked to their backyard and tried to open their patio door. The camera later spotted him about 90 minutes later leaving their yard, going down the driveway on a bicycle with a white grocery bag.
This incident happened less than a mile from our office.
A few months ago, there was a report in another neighborhood- not that far from here- where someone tried breaking into another house. At approximately 11 am, while the family was at work, the perpetrator tried the back door and then tried to use a ladder to get to an upstairs window. When the ladder fell, it broke the window- which caused one of the other neighbors to come out and see what all the ruckus was all about. They saw a white male running away and made a police report. They never got the burglar.
Reading these two incidents on the Nextdoor website reminded me of the time when my family had a burglary. We typically park our cars outside in our driveway- because our garage is full of bikes, baseball stuff, and lawn chairs… you know… the things summer is made for! And being that we live in Hartland- where there is not much crime (so we thought)- we usually didn’t lock our doors, especially our car doors.
It was July, 2013- I can remember this because it was just a few weeks after my husband lost his mother. Having our cars broken into was just like the frosting on the cake made of crap in our life. But I went out to get in the car and I noticed that the center console was open and that the items from it were strewn about. At first I thought maybe one of our kids had been in the car looking for something but after talking with them, we ruled that out. Then I realized my ipod was missing. I had a $20 bill in the compartment by the door for emergency gas money that was gone too. My husbands car was also hit. In his trunk, he had a box full of trophies he had taken from his mom’s house after her funeral… you know- mementos from growing up. #1 salesman at this job. #1 speller in 1st grade. That sort of thing- and there had to have been like 20 or 30 of them. All of them gone. Some punk kids stole the entire box
He also had a 36 pack of Coke. They took exactly 4 cans. Apparently they were thirsty from all that stealing.
My husband was just… distraught. We sent the kids out to check the park dumpsters in town for the plaques in case the kids ditched them – because WHY? WHY would they want them? But they found nothing. We filed a police report… but that ended up going nowhere. A few days later a neighbor found one of the trophies and brought it over and she and I cried over it… and how hard it is to help your spouse through grieving his mom and former life.
Break ins… burglaries.. robberies… there is not a polite way to say this. They suck.
They take away your sense of security.
Even if what they take from you isn’t worth much on a monetary scale.
So it’s important to protect yourself and your family and your belongings as best you can every single day.
- Lock your doors. Use a deadbolt on exterior doors. (You get an insurance discount for this). Use a pole on the track of your sliding glass doors to prevent someone from breaking that lock- because those are not very secure. Lock your car doors too!
- Install cameras. There are many available now and some will log you straight into a command center. There are insurance discounts for many of these also!
- Subscribe to a company like ADT for security monitoring. You get an insurance discount for this too. Note: ADT is not the only company that does this… check around.
- Store your ladders inside your locked garage. I have a neighbor who leaves his ladder against his house for weeks at a time. Don’t do this- it is an invitation to a robber. No- you do not get a discount for doing this- it is just common sense.
- Use timers or leave your lights on at night to make it look like you are at home even when you are not- that way you could trick a burglar.
- Install motion sensor lights outside.
- Be careful about vacations (see my next blog…)
Lastly, your home owners (or renters or condo) insurance will have coverage in case you are robbed.
Two things to remember if you find yourself in a position to file an insurance claim for robbery:
- Any payout will be “less” your deductible (if you have a $10,000 loss and a $1,000 deductible, you will get $9,000)
- Certain items have caps specifically for theft. One example is jewelry, which on a standard home/renters/condo policy is capped at $1,000 per item. Unless you have an endorsement (rider) on your policy that adds coverage for that one item. So if you have a $5,000 necklace that is stolen and you have not told your insurance agent to endorse it on the policy (and paid extra for it to be endorsed), and it is stolen- then you will only receive a maximum of $1,000 back.
Talk to your trusted advisor. We are here to help make sure you have the best coverage for all of your needs.