Your house is one of your most important assets, so insuring it should be just as important. Given the frequency of natural calamities, the importance of home insurance can’t be stressed enough. But a house insurance policy doesn’t just insure your house against natural catastrophes, it also insures the contents of the house against burglary. But did you know that your house insurance policy will not cover theft? So what is the difference between burglary and theft? Let’s find out.
There are two types of insurance policies to cover your house: basic fire insurance policy and a comprehensive policy, also called the householder’s package policy (HPP). The fire policy covers your house and its contents against fire and other allied perils, including storm and flood. Some insurers may ask you to pay an extra premium to cover other natural disasters such as earthquakes.
HPP, over and above the fire insurance policy, includes covers that insure contents of your house against burglary and mechanical or electrical breakdowns. You can also add covers such as a public liability cover, which compensates a third party for losses caused by you; or a personal accident cover offering insurance on accidental death or total permanent and partial disability due to an accident.
LEGAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BURGLARY AND THEFT
While a packaged home insurance policy offers financial protection in case of damage due to natural calamities, it also compensates you if somebody breaks into your house and steals your valuables. Burglary is a real threat and it is good that your insurance covers it. But you must go through the insurance policy’s details to know how it defines burglary. While you may use the words burglary and theft interchangeably, the two have a different meanings in law and this distinction is observed by the insurers too. Burglary, by definition, involves a break-in through violent or forcible means. So if a person breaks a window to get into the house or break open your cupboard to steal, it is considered burglary. Usually, an HPP covers burglary but not theft.
Theft would mean the person committing the crime had access to the house or its valuables. For example: you may have dropped the keys of your house near the door, and come back home to discover your jewellery stolen. This is more a case of negligence. The insurer could say that you should have kept the keys safely. The reason why insurers don’t cover theft is because it is difficult to administer and often can be due to negligence. But some insurers also offer theft insurance as an add-on cover to the HPP.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAIM
As soon as you discover a burglary, file a first information report (FIR) and intimate the insurer. The insurer will need the copy of the FIR and will also ask for an incident report. It will then appoint a surveyor to investigate the claim. Once approved, the insurer will typically pay for the insured assets on market-value basis.
INFORMATION ABOUT THEFT OVER AND UNDER $5000 DEPENDING ON THE VALUE OF THE AMOUNT ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN STOLEN.
It is considered a “property offence” and it is not uncommon for an accused person to have multiple counts of theft alleged if the conduct accused of took place over a certain period of time. Theft charges usually involve retail theft, including shoplifting and price-switching, breach of trust situations involving employers, and large scale thefts involving vehicles or construction equipment.
These charges may sometimes be laid along with fraud charges. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your theft charge may be difficult for the Crown prosecutor to prove, or your constitutional Charter rights may have been violated during your arrest. As in all criminal cases, entering a plea of guilty to a fraud charge can have profoundly serious consequences. Having a criminal record may effect your work, your immigration status, your reputation, your family and your personal freedom.
WHAT IS THE POSSIBLE PENALTY FOR THEFT OVER $5000?
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, Section cc. 322.(1), every one who is found guilty of Theft Over $5000 is guilty of an indictable offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to ten years.
WHAT IS THE POSSIBLE PENALTY FOR THEFT UNDER $5000?
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, Section cc. 322., every one who is found guilty of Fraud Under $5000 is guilty of an indictable offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to two years, or in less serious cases, by an offence punishable on summary conviction.