creeper burglary/insurance claim

Our house was burgled during the night while we were asleep ustairs. Stupidly (i aldready know and don't need telling!) we hadn't locked the front door that night, we also have a burglar alarm which wasn't set.

Would we beable to claim for the items taken (laptops, cameras, car keys, ipod) even though the door wasn't locked?
If we could, would it push next years premiums up a lot?

Insurance is with direct line

TIA
22:46 Sun 20th Nov 2011
 
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Very doubtful - normally a burglary would be accompanied by forced/violent entry - which hasnt happened here.

Insurance companies esp round this time of year (Xmas) are very suspect of claims where gadgets etc are stolen, and the circumstances are a ittle bit "iffy"

A crime reference from the police will help, but expect to be treated as a bit suspect, so as much evidence you have to back up the better - but if there were clauses in your policy that stated you needed the alarm on (ie you may be getting a discount for that) - then its going to be bad news

If you do claim, then yes theres a very good chance you will lose some NCD (no claims discount) and therefore premiums will rise more than usual
If the door was closed but not locked, you might be OK - but it really will depend on the small print on your insurance policy.

It also depends on your insurers whether they operate an NCD process - they don't all do it, and yes in that case, you would lose 2 years' NCB.
Question Author
Police were called and got a couple of prints, so we have a crime ref no. There were also lots of similar burglaries in the area that night.

Most of what was taken was irreplaceable - digital photos on one laptop, a 30yr old camera of my mums, my old uni work/dissertation etc were on the other laptop. But the car/house keys cost a bit to sort out and since we've only just moved, we're skint!

oh well, thanks both, looks like I'll have to call the isurance co. and see what they say.
I know you said that “normally” burglary is accompanied by forced/violent entry, Jack, but that is not the definition in law. A person is guilty of burglary “if he enters any building or part of a building as a trespasser with intent to steal,...” You can see from that wording that no forced entry or violence is required and no actual theft needs to have taken place (so long as intent can be proved).

The circumstances described by k8bailey definitely amount to burglary, even if the offender walked in through an open front door. I have seen cases of burglary being charged when the offender walked into the till area of a shop (during opening hours) with the intent to steal. The law applies because they were trespassing in the part of the building not open to the public.

Whether your insurer will pay up, k8, very much depends on the level of blame they might attribute to you by leaving the door unlocked. As suggested by Jack and boxtops, the “small print” may determine whether they pay. I’ve just looked at the “general exceptions” section of my policy. It says:

“You must do all you can reasonably do to avoid injury, loss or damage and protect your property.”

If your insurers have a similar clause (which they no doubt will have) they could argue that failing to lock the front door contravenes that clause.
Sleeper burglaries rarely involve forced or violent entry.
I've had direct experience of this. A burglar walked into my grandparents' house one afternoon and nicked a load of stuff. Insurance co initially refused to pay out on the basis the door was unlocked. After a battle conducted by correspondence and a good look at the small print, they caved in. You'll just have to keep at them.
if your premium is based on the fact you have a burglar alarm (ie they have given you a discount because of this) then you might have a bit of a problem. The only way you'll know is to call their claims dept
Question Author
hi, just wanted to say thanks for the answers....direct line weren't at all bothered that the door was unlocked and no alarm set at the time of the burglary, as the property was occupied at the time. They define force as the burglar having to open the door, rather than the door being open.......you learn something new everyday!

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