If your house is broken into to and sacked, you can probably recover some of the loss from your insurance company. Cash is one thing that burglars love, but if you lose money during a break-in, you may only be able to recover part of the money through your homeowner's insurance. An insurance policy is a contract with specific terms and conditions that vary by company and policy. If you have questions about what your policy specifically covers, read the fine print to check your policy terms and limits.
The largest amount of coverage generally written into a standard homeowner's policy covers losses incurred to the structure of your home, as this is typically the most expensive category. Your policy may specify that it will pay replacement cost, meaning it will pay the current price to replace or repair your damages, not their depreciated value. Or the policy may specify actual cash value as the coverage type. This means that your insurance company will deduct depreciation from the purchase value of your damaged structure when it settles the claim. Replacement cost will do more to fully cover all types of loss to your home's structure.
Personal Property Coverage
Homeowner's insurance also covers the loss of your personal property. This includes items and furnishings not permanently attached to the structure of the home, such as cash. But personal property like jewelry, cash and electronics may have an aggregate payout limit detailed in the policy. Check the wording of your policy carefully to be certain you have adequate coverage for your personal property. For example, if you have a special coin collection or expensive computer equipment, you may want to talk with your insurance agent about obtaining an endorsement to your policy that will provide the additional coverage you need.
Limited Cash Recovery
According to Donnie Singleton, CIC, an independent insurance agent with 38 years experience and the owner of Singleton and Associates in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, a standard homeowner's insurance policy offers "very limited" coverage on lost cash, typically no more than $200, although the amount of coverage depends on the insurance company and the specific policy. Cash typically falls into the same category as collectibles, coins, medals and bank notes. An aggregate limit is then applied to the entire category of this type of personal property in a standard homeowner's policy. Therefore, unless the policy specifically states otherwise, you should not expect to be reimbursed for any significant amount of cash you lose during a burglary.
With the variety and convenience of passbook savings and interest-bearing checking accounts available to consumers today, depositing cash into an easily accessible secure account is a much safer alternative to keeping cash in your home. In addition, claiming a loss of cash money in a burglary may require documentation to substantiate the loss, such as a recent ATM receipt or other proof. It's best to keep your cash in an insured bank account as opposed to tucked under the mattress.
- Bankrate.com: Insure Your Cash Against Theft
- Donnie Singleton, CIC; Singleton and Associates; Mount Vernon, Kentucky
- Insurance Information Institute: What Coverage is Included in a Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy?
- Nolo: Homeowners' Insurance What You Need to Know
- Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association: Understanding Homeowners Insurance Policies
Vicki A Benge began writing professionally in 1984 as a newspaper reporter. A small-business owner since 1999, Benge has worked as a licensed insurance agent and has more than 20 years experience in income tax preparation for businesses and individuals. Her business and finance articles can be found on the websites of "The Arizona Republic," "Houston Chronicle," The Motley Fool, "San Francisco Chronicle," and Zacks, among others.