A story by Olle Meurling, written by Stavros Tsichlis (Insurance Advisor at
Having your house broken into is a traumatic experience; you do not really know how it feels until it has happened to you. After the first shock and once the reality settles in, you must get involved into the practicalities of your house insurance policy and how to go about it in order to get compensated.
This article is about my experience, my thoughts and my tips as I recently went through this process and I would like to share it with you.
The first action you should take is to inform the police as their report is requisite for the claim to go through!
Take immediate Action!
The first action you should take is to inform the police as their report is requisite for the claim to go through. This is very important and it must be done as soon as you realise that your house is broken into!
The police will ask you for details as to what happened and if there are items missing. This is where you need to be extra cautious: If you didn’t have time to search your house and make a list of the things stolen, do not report anything and state that you will go the next day to submit your report. Insurance companies will base their compensation according to what you have declared in that list – this is why it is particularly important to get it right the first time!
Damages to your building
Your insurance plan will also cover damages made by the burglars to the building, doors etc. (if you have this cover in your plan). This can include lock replacements, broken windows and doors etc.
Holiday houses and time away from home
Another important detail that you need to keep in mind is that most insurers set a limit on the time you can be away from home (abroad) for the contents to be covered. This varies from 45 to 90 days.
This means that if you are away for more than 3 months in one time and you report a damage when you get back you may be denied compensation. The best solution is to have a neighbour or a maintenance company to look after your property while you are away and report an incident immediately to your insurance company.
Fun fact: In most cases, pools are covered only against fire - as ironic as that sounds!
Items of great value
Items such as cash and jewellery are exempt from most Greek insurance policies. In some cases jewellery can be covered if they are in a safe box which must be embedded in the wall.
Any other items of great value (usually more than 2.500 – 3.000 Euros per item) such as carpets, paintings etc. should be declared in your application so that the insurance company is aware of their existence.
Parking spots, pergolas, storage sheds and pools
Do not assume that the above will be automatically added to your cover if you sign up to a house insurance agreement. It is a good idea to mention anything that is OUTSIDE of your property to the insurer and make sure that they mention it specifically in your plan. This also means that trees as well as fences are excluded from the policy as are items outside (e.g. bikes).
Your cheque is being processed!
The insurance company will send you (or to your insurance advisor) a comprehensive report that will mention the incident, your report to the police, the details of your house and the estimate of the claim among other details.
Be careful! If you do not submit receipts which show that you have replaced the stolen / damaged items the insurer will pay you the depreciation value of each item!
If, for example, you own a 42-inch TV which is 5 years old and you do not submit a receipt of a new one (of similar specifications) the insurer will pay you its value minus 5 years of depreciation. If you submit the receipt of the new TV you will get the full value of the TV.
Your cheque has arrived!
The final claim has been settled and the compensation letter has arrived for your to sign and get paid. If you disagree with anything regarding the claim DO NOT sign the compensation letter as this also acts as an acceptance letter. This means that you accept whatever is proposed and the claim file will be closed!
The insurance advisor
Something that is always forgotten is the value of the person who is assisting you in this process – your insurance advisor! It is a good idea to have his / her details in your files and ask that someone is allocated to you when you need assistance.
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