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Twice the victim: how burglaries affect your insurance

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Twice the victim: how burglaries affect your insurance

CREATED Nov 29, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov 30, 2012

Reporter: Maggie Vespa

Web Producer: Mekita Rivas

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's the "seedy underbelly" of the already dark world of crime.

Imagine this: your home is burglarized and your security and possessions are gone. Now the people you thought would be there to help may instead hurt you more.
 
We're talking about insurance companies and the ugly, little known effect that being the victim of a burglary can have on you, your policy and your life.
 
You've seen him on air with us before.  
 
His home has been burglarized ten times since August.  Police, having already arrested one person, are still on the lookout for the other pilfering punks.
 
And if all of this isn't bad enough, eastside homeowner Bob Davis is finding himself in a whole different kind of quandry. This time, it's with his insurance company.
 
"We're losing thousands, I mean thousands of dollars because of this, and it's... I guess, it's just the industry, I believe," Davis said.
 
An industry that, if Davis were to file claims for all the stolen goods, could raise his rates through the roof or drop him all together.
 
"It's so frustrating, I don't know what to say," he said.
 
Tucson attorney Scott Baker has seen it before.
 
"I don't know that they believe in luck," Baker said. "They believe in odds."
 
According to Arizona state law, there are seven reasons an insurance company can drop you like a hot potato.
 
Some are pretty black and white, like regarding neglecting to pay your premium or displaying gross negligance.
 
Others are a little grayer, such as item five, which cites a substantial change in your risk-factor, not reasonably forseen by the insurer.
 
There's also item seven, which states failure on your part to take reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce risk.
 
Regarding the Davis family, one might think installing a beefed up video security system in the home qualifies as a reasonable step.
 
Baker said that often, you would be wrong.
 
"Some of the insurance companies have taken the position that, the fact that you have these claims demonstrates that there is an increased risk," Baker said.
 
It's a point that Baker said is a frequent battle in court and a battle Davis is desperate to avoid.
 
"We're wanting to use or having to use our insurance, and because of that, we're being punished. It's disheartening," Davis said.
 
Baker said first, know your deductible. If it's more than what was stolen, it's probably not worth it.
 
Secondly, he said you can always call and ask your provider what impact the claim would have on your policy.
 
It's called an "inquiry," but Baker said be very clear when you call that you are not filing a claim.