Securing your home

Q: How can I secure my house or apartment while I’m away?

A: Create a lived-in look to deter burglars. Do this by stopping newspaper and mail deliveries, ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway occasionally, and putting lights on a timer or asking a neighbor to turn lights on in the evening. Use a telephone answering machine or call forwarding to quiet ringing telephones. And, make sure that all windows and doors are locked to make entry difficult for intruders.

Q: If my home is burglarized or damaged by fire, are all of my possessions covered?

A: Under a standard homeowners insurance policy for a single-family home, the contents of the home are covered for 50 percent of the amount of insurance on the building ($50,000 contents coverage on a house insured for $100,000). A renters policy is written for a specified dollar amount, based on what you own, to cover the loss of personal belongings in your apartment. There are special limits of liability on certain items in certain situations, however. Typically, there is a $100 or $200 limit on money and $1000 on securities, passports, tickets and stamps. There is a $1,000 limit on watercraft, trailers and outboard motors. For fine jewelry, furs and watches that are stolen, a limit of $1,000 is set. And, there is a $2,000 limit for theft of guns and a $2,500 limit on theft of silverware, goldware and pewterware.

A home inventory is important to have should you become the victim of a burglary or fire. The inventory is a list of your possessions, including makes, & serial numbers. Photographs or a videotape are other ways of recording what you own. These records should be kept in a safe place away from the house or the apartment so they would not be lost in the event of fire.

Q: What if the items I take with me on vacation are stolen?

A: Your belongings are generally covered by your homeowners or renters policy anywhere in the world, including items in storage facilities, suitcase contents and items lent to friends. This is an optional coverage and generally not available in the 5 boroughs of New York City. Ask us.

Q: We’ll be traveling by car on vacation. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Check with your professional insurance agent to be certain that your auto insurance is up to date, and make sure the car is in good running condition. While traveling, be sure your passengers wear seat belts and young children ride in car seats at all times. Also, keep cameras, purses and other valuables with you while on vacation, never leave them in the car.

Q: I plan to rent car for this trip. Will my auto insurance cover the car I rent?

A: Yes. If you insure a personal automobile in New York State, that policy also provides coverage for damage you may cause to a rental car. This applies to out-of-state rentals too. When renting in another country, check with us about coverage.