Thursday, November 7, 2013


Theft of installed copper pipes is rising. What insurance provision covers that kind of loss?

Both theft and burglary cover stolen property, whether that property is copper piping, permanently attached items such as a heating pump or appliance, or personal effects. But they differ as to how the thief entered the house:
  • A theft endorsement applies whether someone opens an unlocked garage or kicks in a door.
  • A burglary endorsement - although a type of theft coverage - only applies if forced entry leaves signs of visible damage, such as a broken window. If items are stolen without signs of forced entry, a theft claim will be accepted but not a burglary claim.
So what happens if there is a break-in but nothing is actually stolen? Vandalism coverage protects the policy holder if a would-be thief ruins the drywall or cabinets but does not manage to cut out the pipes or steal the heat pump.

When you write dwelling coverage - particularly for more vulnerable vacant homes - be sure your customer understands that theft and burglary are not the same, and that vandalism coverage is needed too. Not all coverage is available in all programs, and terms and limits apply, so check the program manual.