A burglary post-mortem

It’s been almost six months since we were robbed on a hot summer night. Overall, we’ve been pretty happy with our insurer State Farm. I thought I’d share some things my husband and I learned in the process of dealing with the aftermath.

  • Be sure you have replacement cost value on your policy.  The reimbursement amount we can get for our stolen items is up to an additional 65% over the original claim amount. We were only offered 20% of the value for my daughter’s Wii, but because we replaced it we were able to get the full amount reimbursed, including tax.
  • Don’t take the first answer you get.  Our claim was handled via a 1-800 number so every time my husband called he talked to someone different.  When one woman told him State Farm wouldn’t cover our stolen auto titles because they were covered under our auto policy (wrong), he called back and got a different agent who agreed the tiles were covered.
  • Surprisingly, State Farm never contacted the Ogden Police department to get a copy of the report. State Farm asked for very little proof that we actually owned the items we were claiming.
  • Find out how long you have to file additional claims.  In October when my husband went to grab the leaf blower/vac he realized it was gone and was one more item to add to the list.  For weeks after the burglary we found new items that were missing.
  • Be sure you include all the details about each item so when the insurer calculates the value you get maximum reimbursement.  Supply the exact model if you know it. My husband’s DeWalt saw came with a laser light ($60 list price) which he had to purchase separately when he replaced the saw.
  • Be sure to include accessories that also need to be replaced. When my camera was stolen I lost an 8gb SD card as well as the camera case it was in.  I listed all three items as missing.
  • If you don’t agree with the value being assigned by the insurer, make your case.  When State Farm offered us $21 towards a 12-month, $60 Xbox Live membership we argued we should at least be reimbursed for half the cost since there was 6+ months left.  Calling the claims center (as mentioned above) my husband found someone who agreed to reimburse the full amount (yeah)!
  • Find out how long you  have to file a claim.  We’ve got a very generous two years to get paid for replaced items
  • Take advantage of bonus offers for items you’re replacing.  In one case we got a $10 Target gift card for an item we bought, helping to offset the $1000 deductible.  When we purchased the replacement Wii system it came with a free copy of the latest Zelda game.  My daughter had zero interest in the game so I turned around and sold it on Amazon, netting $40.

While I wouldn’t want to go through the experience again, I have to recommend our insurer based on how they’ve handled our loss.  If you don’t like how things are going, be sure to speak up and they may surprise you.


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