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Your standard homeowners insurance policy covers theft, regardless of whether items are stolen outside or inside your house. Theft coverage is part of your homeowners insurance’s personal property coverage.

Insurance companies usually reimburse you in two ways. If you have "replacement cost" coverage, your insurer will help you purchase the item at today's pricing. On the other hand, if you have "actual cash value" coverage, your insurer will take depreciation into account and only pay what the stolen item would have been worth if you were to sell it in today’s market.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover theft of items inside and outside your home. The coverage extends to every individual listed under your policy, including children who live in a school dorm.

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When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Theft?

Most homeowners insurance plans provide coverage If your personal possessions are stolen inside or outside your home. For example, your home insurance covers you if you are pickpocketed on the street or if an intruder steals things from your house or detached structures.

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  • If your belongings are stolen or destroyed as a result of a break-in, your homeowners insurance’s theft coverage can help pay to repair or replace them.
  • If your belongings are stolen while you travel, your home insurance will cover the loss.
  • If your child is away at school and their laptop is taken from their dorm room, the loss is covered.

Some items will only be covered up to a limited monetary value. Moreover, whether you’ll receive actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value (RCV) will depend on what’s stated in your policy. Keep in mind that students are no longer covered by your home insurance if they move out of university housing and into their own home.

When Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover Theft?

Some belongings aren’t covered by your homeowners insurance. For example, your comprehensive car insurance pays if your car is damaged or stolen while on your property.

In addition, some valuable items like jewelry, expensive art, furs and silverware are usually only covered up to $1,000 or $2,000. Purchasing a scheduled personal property coverage add-on will extend the coverage limit for those valuables. Stolen cash is also covered, but only up to a limited amount.

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How to Protect Yourself From Theft

It’s as important to prevent theft as it is to protect yourself through homeowners insurance. Some simple measures, such as locking or reinforcing your doors and windows, can go a long way toward deterring criminals.

  • Secure Entryways

    Most thieves access the home through doors or windows. Reinforcing your windows with metal grills, installing a double-key deadbolt and installing a fence can halt intruders.

  • Install Home Security Devices

    Installing a home alarm system is one of the most reliable ways to avoid burglary. Additional measures include installing security cameras and motion detectors.

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    Don’t Make Your House an Easy Target

    A robbery usually occurs when thieves know there is no one at home. Therefore, if you’re taking a vacation, don’t advertise it, and ask a neighbor to check on your home while you’re away.

Where to Buy Homeowners Insurance

Most large insurers, such as State Farm, Allstate or GEICO, sell homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance is also available from a variety of smaller insurers like Lemonade and Hippo. MoneyGeek suggests shopping around for homeowners insurance and comparing quotes from several companies to find the best deal.

In the United States, homeowners insurance costs an average of $175 a month. Your exact rate, however, will be determined by the value of your personal property. To find out how much you'll need to pay for insurance, you can use MoneyGeek's personal property calculator.


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About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content director at MoneyGeek with over five years of experience analyzing the insurance market, conducting original research and creating content that can be personalized for every buyer. He has been quoted on insurance topics in several publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Mark earned a master’s degree in Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his economics and insurance knowledge to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.