Home Burglaries Spike in Summer Months as More People Head Out for Vacation
INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE
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NEW YORK, July 31, 2006-Burglars who break into your home this summer could steal more than your jewelry and electronic equipment-they may also be after your identity.
When you leave on vacation, protect yourself against a physical or a virtual break-in, warns the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
More burglaries occur in July and August than in any other month of the year; losses due to burglaries totaled 3.5 billion in 2004, with residential burglaries averaging $1,642 according to the FBI.
"Once in your home, a burglar can easily obtain credit card information, social security numbers or other identification information by going over personal documents in a home or stealing the family computer," says Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I.
Identity theft is one of the most widespread white collar crimes in the country, according to the Better Business Bureau, with around 8.9 million victims last year. The average loss in identity fraud cases is over $6,000. However, if the fraud involves a credit card, victims are generally only liable for the first $50 dollars for each card.
Insurance is available for identity theft, providing reimbursement to victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports. Some companies include it as part of their homeowners insurance policy. Others sell it as a stand alone policy or as an endorsement to a homeowners or renters insurance policy. On average, these policies cost between $25 and $50 for $15,000 to $25,000 worth of coverage. Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement for expenses such as phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailing costs and sometimes attorney fees with the prior consent of the insurer. Some companies offer resolution or restoration services that will guide you through the process of recovering your identity.
Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for theft of personal possessions and damage to the home caused by the break-in. With replacement cost coverage, which is only about 10 percent more than actual cash value coverage, damaged property is replaced without a deduction for depreciation.
Regardless of how much insurance coverage you have, it is, of course, better to avoid getting burglarized altogether. The I.I.I. recommends you follow these preventive measures to keep your home safe:
As you prepare to leave on vacation follow these additional steps:
For information on homeowners and identity theft insurance, go to the I.I.I. Web site: http://www.iii.org .
The I.I.I. is a nonprofit, communications organization supported by the property/casualty insurance industry.