Home insurance: theft and burglary

Verified 17 September 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

If you are the victim of a robbery in your home, you must file a complaint as soon as possible with the police or the gendarmerie. If you have the theft guarantee in your home insurance contract, you must declare the claim to your insurer. You must do it by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, within 2 working days from the moment you became aware of the flight. You must attach the receipt of the complaint.

Theft and burglary warranty is not required, whether you are a landlord or tenant. It is not included in the basic guarantees, it must be subscribed specifically. However, it may be included in your contract, if you have taken out insurance "multi-risk housing".

If your contract includes a theft guarantee, you should check what it covers.

Indeed, the insurance contract specifies the different types of flights covered.

Typically, these flights are:

  • Break and enter or escalate premises
  • Theft with threats or violence against the person
  • Theft following a smuggling (for example, a burglar enters your home while you are present)
  • Theft by use of false keys (hooking by special tool, real key stolen or lost...)
  • Theft by the insured person’s employees (housekeeper, babysitter, etc.), provided that the person complained against is the subject of a complaint. The complaint can only be withdrawn with the agreement of the insurance business.

The acts of vandalism may be covered, if the authors have entered the dwelling in the circumstances provided for the flight guarantee.

On the other hand, theft committed by a family member or with his complicity is not guaranteed.

Items stolen in an outbuilding (cellar, shed, garage) separate from the dwelling are generally not covered by flight insurance.

Items in a courtyard, garden or common areas of a building are also not guaranteed.

Flight insurance covers property in the dwelling that belongs to the occupants.

Most contracts also guarantee items that are rented or entrusted to you, but the warranty may be limited for these items.

Example :

  • Common furniture: including furniture, linen, clothing, electrical appliances, household appliances
  • Valuables: including jewelry, precious metal objects, carpets, tapestries, paintings, furs
  • Sensitive objects: including television, hi-fi, video, photographic equipment, computer

The flight declaration must be made in 2 steps.

Reporting to the police or gendarmerie

You must go to a police station or the gendarmerie of your choice.

Who shall I contact

The police or gendarmerie services are obliged to register the complaint.

The complaint is then forwarded to the public prosecutor for a decision on further action (investigation, closure without further action...).

If you don't know the perpetrator, you can fill out an online pre-complaint before traveling.

You will then get an appointment and the police or gendarmes will already have the elements of your complaint upon your arrival.

Online Pre-Complaint

Reporting to the insurer

The flight declaration must be made within 2 working days the date you noticed the break-in.

It may be made directly to the insurer or to a person entitled to represent him (general agent or broker).

The declaration may be made by telephone, by Internet, on the spot at the insurer's agency or its representative, or by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

Report a flight in your home to your insurer

You must include the following in the declaration:

  • Contact details (name, address)
  • Insurance contract number
  • Description of the claim (nature, date, time, place)
  • Copy of the receipt for filing a theft complaint
  • Estimated condition of destroyed or deteriorated furniture and articles
  • Description of damage (material or personal injury, importance),
  • Damage to others (e.g. if a water leak in your home caused damage to your neighbors),
  • Victim contact information, if available.

You do not have to attach a complete inventory of items stolen or damaged during the disaster, along with their values. You will have to send to the insurance an estimate of the damage suffered within the period provided by the contract.

You must prove the damage you have suffered.

The first step is to gather all the elements that can justify the existence and value of the stolen goods. For example, purchase invoices, warrants, photographs of valuables.

Then you have to show the damage that has been done. For example, photos of broken doors and windows, climbing marks, ransacking of the home.

You can have a refurbishment quote done on the premises, to get an estimate of the cost. But you must not make the repairs without the authorization of your insurance. Your insurer will tell you if it allows you to start refurbishment work or if you have to wait for an expert's visit.

Please note

insurances generally recommend after a theft or a burglary to take precautions to prevent a new theft (replacement of locks...).

Expertise is not always required.

However, the insurance business may to appoint an expert to check the circumstances of the flight and assess the damage you have suffered.

You have the option of asking for a second opinion.

If the expertise or counter-expertise reveals that you have made false statements, the insurer may refuse to compensate you. Indeed, most contracts include a clause preventing compensation in the event of false statements by the insured.