Whether it be a smartphone, jewellery or a bicycle, it is always very annoying when cherished items are stolen. The good thing is that you can obtain immediate cover for these thefts by taking out household contents insurance, thereby saving yourself the financial hassle at least.
The A to Z of insurance: types of theft
Not every theft is the same – at least not to insurance companies. Most insurance companies distinguish between various types: robbery, burglary and simple theft. The insurance cover also differs depending on what type of theft it is.
In a robbery, personal items are taken under threat or with the use of force. If you are attacked out on the street or threatened in your home, it is a robbery. The term used, therefore, is ‘use of force against persons’.
If it involves the use of force against property, it is a burglary. This is the case if someone breaks open your front door or smashes the window and forces their way into your home. It also counts as burglary if force is used to open other spaces (e.g. hotel rooms) or containers (e.g. safes).
Simple theft at home
In the case of simple theft, personal items are stolen without any use of force. This may be the case at home if you did not lock your front door, you accidentally failed to bolt the garage properly or you did not close the window on the ground floor.
Simple theft away from the home
Simple theft often occurs while you are out and about. The train station is crowded and once on board the train, you are suddenly missing your mobile phone. In the café, you leave your bag unattended for a short time and then it is gone, along with your laptop and purse. These incidents of pick-pocketing and theft by tricksters are subsumed under the term ‘simple theft away from the home’.
How is theft insured on your household contents insurance?
On your household contents insurance, your entire household inventory is automatically protected against “break-in”, “robbery” and “simple theft at home”. If your home is broken into – with or without the use of force – you are reimbursed the reinstatement value of the stolen items. Any repair costs incurred for smashed windows and broken doors are also paid.
Under basic household contents insurance, your personal items are also protected away from the home if they are taken from you using force (“robbery”). Again, you are reimbursed the reinstatement value of the stolen items.
Supplementary insurance: “simple theft away from the home”
As thefts often occur while we are out and about, Helvetia offers supplementary “simple theft away from the home” insurance. This covers your personal items not only against pick-pocketing while you are out and about, but also against other incidents of theft that do not involve the use of force. If your skis are stolen on the ski slope, for example, or your sports bag is snatched from the locker. Cash assets are not covered, however.
How are cash assets insured?
Specific rules apply to cash assets – that is to say, cash and credit or debit cards – in the event of theft. Cash assets are only insured if it is a case of robbery or burglary. If your purse is stolen without you noticing, regardless of whether you are at home or out and about, cash assets are not insured.
How am I insured against theft when I am abroad or travelling?
While you are cooling off in the sea, a thief takes the bag you left behind? With supplementary “simple theft away from the home” insurance, you will at least be prepared for the financial losses in cases like this, as having this supplementary insurance means that you are also very well insured in the event of theft abroad and will be reimbursed the reinstatement value of the stolen items.
Supplementary “simple theft away from the home” insurance also protects your luggage should it be stolen at the airport.
For those wishing to take no chances, there is also the option to double the agreed sum insured on trips involving at least one overnight stay abroad (in a hotel, with relatives, etc.).
Incidents of theft and how they are insured
Basic household insurance
Supplementary “simple theft away from the home”
Supplementary “motor/electric motor vehicles”
Theft of a locked bicycle
After a long day at work, you just want to go home. But at the train station, you discover that your locked bicycle has been stolen.
If you forgot to lock up the bicycle
As you are running a little bit late and do not want to miss the train, you are rushing and forget to lock up your bicycle. When you return, however, your bicycle is no longer at the train station.
While you are in the mountain hut enjoying the après ski atmosphere, a thief takes the skis you left outside.
E-bike stolen from the cellar
Full of anticipation, you are preparing for your cycling tour. But a look in the bicycle cellar spoils the mood, as there is no trace of your e-bike.
In the case of e-bikes slower than 25 km/h
In the case of e-bikes faster than 25 km/h
Purse snatched from your bag
In the jostle of the crowd, a thief snatches your purse. However, as cash, credit and debit cards, and travel cards and tickets that do not bear a holder’s name count as cash assets, they are not insured away from the home.
Mobile phone stolen
At the train station, someone reaches into your bag and takes your mobile phone without you noticing.
Break-in at home
You come home to find your front door has been broken open and your valuables, including all your expensive electronic items, have disappeared.
Garage door not locked
After returning from your holiday, you notice that you accidentally failed to lock the garage door. There are various household items missing.