Add it up: the cost of a home burglary

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A residential burglary is very expensive. Property is taken or destroyed and the home is damaged. However, the most costly impact is harder to put a price on. Things like the sense of violation and devastation a family feels take a toll long after repairs are made and stolen stuff is replaced.

Hard, immediate costs:

Stolen items/replacement costs:
According to FBI UCR data, the average value of property taken in a burglary is $2,119. Fortunately, most people have home owner’s insurance to help offset this cost, once a deductible is met. Unfortunately, the value of a two-year-old laptop is far lower than the cost of buying a new item. Often, people end up replacing the lost items with similar ones, but of lesser value or not replacing them at all.

Home repairs:
Burglars do some serious damage. Doors, locks or windows broken; phone lines cut; carpets or floors ruined; ceilings or walls damaged.

Conservatively, replacing a window runs about $300, plus labor; a couple locks about $200; and a broken door about $500. Homeowners may need to hire a contractor to repair damage or repaint, or hire an industrial cleaning service to take care of vandalism or large messes.

Time missed from work:
Usually, family members have to take time away from work to take care of police reports, coordinate repair and clean up efforts, and purchase replacement items. Additionally, people may miss work due to court appearances, time spend negotiating with insurance companies or time needed to recover from mental and emotional stress of the entire ordeal.

Stress related illnesses triggered by the crime lead to time lost from work, too.

Insurance:
A home burglary frequently leads to increased insurance premiums. The amount of an increase varies based on a lot of factors, but almost always is a permanent increase. This consequence becomes a lifelong financial reminder of a one-time event.

Soft, long-term costs:

Credit score (and more) at risk:
Savvy burglars steal personal information for “identity theft” purposes. Victims must immediately cancel credit cards, replace drivers’ licenses, and contact the credit reporting bureaus to have them “flag” their report for possible fraudulent use. And it doesn’t end there. Once someone’s personal information has been exposed, they have to review their credit rating at least once a year and challenge any false reports. This is a time consuming process and legal fees can mount to fight fraudulent claims.

Emotional toll and lost peace of mind:
Anyone who has experienced a residential burglary will tell you the worst part is the feeling of violation. To know strangers took liberties in your home, touched personal items, invaded your most personal space can create real and lasting consequences.

People tell themselves, ‘if I’m not safe in my home, where am I safe?’ Nightmares, insomnia and increased stress are not unusual. Everyone’s experience is different. So is everyone’s response to it and recovery from the trauma.

Medical care/therapy:
After a burglary, medical expenses can add up. Although not physically injured during the crime, victims often experience health consequences stemming from worry, stress, insomnia and fatigue. Whether treatment is needed from a medical doctor or a psychologist, the bills quickly add up. Treatment is particularly expensive for people without health insurance.

Destroyed or stolen heirlooms & mementos:
As you look around your home, you’ll notice the things that have the most value to you, wouldn’t necessarily have value to anyone else. While having your new iPad stolen is frustrating and annoying, it’s nothing compared to the destruction or loss of family photo albums, grandma’s recipe box or your private journals. These priceless items are irreplaceable and losing them is heartbreaking.

“Hard” costs of a burglary vary depending on the items taken, the damage inflicted and the amount off-set by insurance. However, this number is compounded by the “soft” costs of ruined mementos, missed work, stress, and disruption of peace of mind.

As a client, we’re on watch for you 24/7. If you want more tips to increase your home security, call us today and meet with one of our experts.