Californians Reminded to Beware of Holiday Burglars

November 23, 2004

The holidays may be a time for giving, but thieves can twist the season into a time for the taking.

November and December typically see a rise in household thefts. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 242,000 Californians were burglarized in 2003. But while most homeowners have a financial backstop against crime through their homeowner insurance policies, roughly 80 percent of renters do not have insurance.

“Renters often believe that their landlord’s insurance will cover their losses. Others may think that they do not have enough property to insure,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California. “They may be putting more at risk than they realize.”

A renter’s policy provides coverage for stolen personal property, ranging from clothes to sporting goods to entertainment systems. It also provides coverage from damage due to fire, smoke and certain water damage. Additional liability insurance is also available to cover medical and legal expenses in case an individual is sued by someone injured in their apartment.

Before purchasing renters insurance, individuals should remember the following:

— Conduct a home inventory. It will assist one to determine the best policy to suit their needs. Keep one’s inventory in a safe place and be sure to update it annually. An inventory can also help in the event that one files a claim.

— Shop around. Policies and prices vary from company to company.

— Ask for available discounts. Many insurers will offer discounts if an individual has more than one policy with them.

— Verify the policy before signing. If there are questions about limits or conditions, ask the agent or broker for clarification.

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