The possibility of being dispossessed of our properties (be it personal belongings, business properties, trade stocks, or properties held in trust or on commission) by unscrupulous elements exist on a daily basis. When this happens, we are left in a disadvantaged position. Business activities can be completely disrupted if not terminated. Where and how to begin becomes an issue of great concern.
Burglary insurance policy provides cover against loss of or damage to your property by burglary or house-breaking.
In insurance, there is a distinct difference between “theft” and “burglary”.
Theft is very broad in its definition and covers so many areas. Perhaps the simplest definition is that which was provided by the Theft Act of 1968 which states “a person is guilty of theft if he appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it: “theft” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.
Burglary is defined as “a felonious entry (entry with the intent to commit a crime) into a building by forcible means.
Robbery is also defined as “any taking of personal property of another by means of violence to the person in lawful possession of the property.
By virtue of its indistinct limits, insurance finds it difficult to provide “theft” cover for premises risk (buildings). What we have is a “burglary” or “house breaking” cover – Both means the same thing.
What does a burglary policy covers?
Basically, it provides cover against
- damages to your building following a burglary incident
- Loss of your contents (following a burglary incident) which includes; stock in trade, goods held in trust or commission, plants and machinery, fixtures and fittings, cash and notes secured in a locked safe, household goods and personal effects.
For a burglary claim to subsist, it must be accompanied by a “forcible and violent entry or exit”.
That is, there must be a physical damaged done to the building (by the robbers) in an attempt to either gain entry into or exit from the premises. This is a fundamental requirement. Where there is no such physical evidence, the liability of a burglary policy is not engaged.
The foregoing invariably means that;
- Access into the premises with the use of a key is not covered
- Entry via the use of assault, violence or threat is not covered
- Unauthorized taking away of your property with or without your knowledge is also not covered.
Special privileges for residential premises exist under burglary insurance policy to cover the your property within the geographical area (Nigeria) whilst contained;
- within any domestic offices, stables, garages and or outbuildings forming part of the premises
- in any private dwellings (house, hotel, lodging house etc other than your premises) in which you or your family member is temporarily residing at the time of the loss
- temporarily contained within any other occupied private dwelling house
- in custody of a bank or safe deposit.
While every business organisation needs and should have a burglary policy to protect its properties , a stand alone burglary policy is usually not advisable for a residential premises because it provides a limited cover. Instead of a burglary policy, a House-owner/House-holder comprehensive insurance would be more appropriate. This would include a burglary cover among a host of others.
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