Garages or sheds are convenient places to store things like bicycles, garden equipment, and power tools. Unfortunately, this can make them easy targets for vandalism and burglary. Having your items stolen or vandalized can be devastating – and replacing them can be expensive. Fortunately, most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for outbuildings and similar structures on your property. However, your policy may have a limit or only cover certain items. Here’s what you should know before filing a claim.
Insurance Coverage for Items Stored Outside the Home
Homeowners insurance policies commonly include coverage for outdoor structures such as sheds, garages, greenhouses, and other outbuildings on your property and their contents. Review your policy to ensure you understand what is – and isn’t – covered and if you don’t, ask your insurance agent to explain your coverage.
Some policies cover damage an outdoor structure sustains during a break-in and theft, but not the items stolen from the structure. If that describes your coverage, you may want to consider adding contents insurance, which typically covers 40 percent of an item’s cash value or 70 percent for replacement. Also known as personal property insurance, contents insurance may be available as an endorsement to an existing policy or as a separate policy, depending on your insurer.
If your policy already covers contents, make sure you know the single-item coverage limit, especially if you store expensive property in your outdoor structures. Make a list of the important items stored in your garage or shed, as well as their values, and add them to your policy. A complete inventory of everything stored in your outbuildings can be helpful when filing a claim after burglary or vandalism.
Recovering Damages After Theft or Vandalism
File a police report and notify your insurance company of any theft or vandalism as soon as possible, which protects your rights and allows you to file a claim to recover damages. Provide your insurer with a copy of the police report and other evidence to support your claim.
Still unsure what a contents endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy will – and won’t – cover? Consider the following. If a door or window was broken during a burglary, your homeowners insurance would likely cover the cost of repairs, up to the policy limit. Items taken from the outbuilding may be covered by contents insurance. However, these policies typically don’t cover damages due to homeowner negligence, meaning that items left unsecured outside a structure likely would not be covered by insurance if stolen.
Is Your Insurer Acting in Bad Faith?
When you filed a claim with your insurance company, did they:
- Fail to investigate your claim?
- Only offer partial replacement for the damage or your items?
- Refuse to resolve your claim in a timely manner?
- Pressure you to take a settlement that’s less than what your claim is worth?
- Deny your claim without providing a reasonable explanation?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, your insurance company might not be acting in good faith. Don’t let an insurer unfairly devalue or deny your claim for theft or vandalism-related damages or losses. At The Voss Law Firm, P.C., our exceptional team of Texas insurance claims attorneys helps clients protect their rights and go after the recovery they deserve. Ready to find out how we can help maximize your claim for your damaged outdoor structure or its contents?
Talk to Us About Your Claim
When your insurance company doesn’t treat you fairly, there’s far too much at stake to go it alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Our knowledgeable and experienced Texas insurance claims lawyers will help you understand your rights, explore your options, and fight for fair coverage. Complete our online contact form or call our office at 888-614-7730 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation with a member of our team.