Am I covered if theft doesn’t involve a break-in?

In our busy office we need to have couriers coming and going all day so it would be fairly easy for someone to con their way onto our premises. Would I be able to claim for stolen goods if a burglary was to occur in this way without anybody physically breaking and entering?


A. Emma Watkins of Ace Europe writes:

Theft cover in insurance policies is usually not so broad as to cover all aspects of ‘theft’ as defined in statute. The actual details of cover vary from insurance company to insurance company. However, these will often be defined as:

“Damage as a result of theft involving forcible and violent entry into or exit from the buildings of the premises or any attempt thereat, or following violence or threat of violence against the insured or any director, partner or employee of the insured.” So cover is not usually provided where the theft does not involve violent or forcible entry or exit methods. This in turn means that in the example cited of a courier walking into your workplace you would not normally be covered.

In any event, insurers usually require that you take all reasonable precautions to protect your premises. This could include, in terms of physical security measures, good quality locks, alarms, CCTV and/or access controls, as well as proper training and manage- ment controls for staff so that people invited onto your premises are properly escorted, challenged when not escorted, and made to sign-in and sign-out of your premises.

Alternatively, ‘full theft’ cover may be available. This is where your policy is extended to include theft not involving entry to or exit from your premises by forcible and violent means. This will not ordinarily include unexplained disappearance or inventory shortage. This wider form of cover is not always available but, where it is, it will often incur a higher premium. As you might expect, where this wider cover is granted the insurer would need to be satisfied that there is very good physical security, as well as first class internal theft management prevention systems in place.

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