Burglary and Theft

Costliness: #10


Frequency: #1


Burglary and Theft in Small Businesses

A heist in the dead of night is exciting in movies, but break-ins are terrible experiences for businesses in real life. Discovering a smashed window and stolen merchandise is a devastating start to your day. If work equipment is stolen, projects stall; if money goes missing, distrust forms; and if stock is shoplifted, profits fall.

As the most common insurance claim that small businesses make, theft and burglary are likely to affect your business at one point or another. Here's how to prevent them and minimize the damage they can do.

Which Industries Are Most at Risk for Burglary and Theft?


Warehouses and distribution



Small Business Insurance Policies to Help with Burglary and Theft Risks

Theft and burglary don’t have to cut into your bottom line. These small business insurance policies can help your business recover:

  • Commercial Property Insurance: Property Insurance can help compensate your business for supplies, equipment, inventory, and furnishings stolen from your premises.
  • Business Owner’s Policy: A BOP bundles Property Insurance protection with General Liability Insurance at an affordable price for small-business-specific insurance protection.
  • Inland Marine Insurance: Inland Marine can cover certain high-value items, as well as property you own that moves around with you (such as tools you take to and from worksites).
  • Install an alarm system that can be controlled and monitored remotely on your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

  • Use a UL-certified Central Monitoring Station to monitor your alarm system 24/7.

  • Lock every entry point (e.g., windows, doors) when leaving your building or work vehicle.

  • Track every key issued to employees and ensure keys are returned upon company departure.

  • Perform background checks on newly hired employees.

  • Install CCTV cameras that store footage offsite. Place them in strategic locations to identify faces of customers and employees.

  • Evaluate the landscaping around your building and remove areas where criminals can hide and sneak.

More Details about Theft & Burglary

Your approach to security and insurance should depend on the specifics of your business. Take locks, for example.

“People ask if access badges will work better than just a simple bolt lock and key,” says David Narayan of security website A Secure Life (@ASecureLife). “The obvious answer is yes, but are they necessary?”

Ask yourself: what makes financial and practical sense for your business?

“Sometimes going simple is just as easy as going high-tech,” Narayan says. “A door with shatter-proof sensors and double floor bolts works just as well as any digital lock.”

Simple security can be just as effective as high-tech options.

Still, be thorough, and don’t be cheap. “You get what you pay for,” says Robert Siciliano (@RobertSiciliano), security expert BestCompany.com. “An alarm system that triggers a breach always sets off a siren. And while noise is a good deterrent, it’s not nearly as effective as gun-wielding police being dispatched and showing up in your driveway. Spend the few extra bucks for the monitoring.” In some cases, you can even get a discount on insurance premiums for installing central-station alarms.

As for small business insurance policies, be aware of your coverage details. Property Insurance may compensate you for either the…

  • Actual cash value of property, which offers the depreciated value of stolen items, usually in return for lower premium.
  • Replacement value of property, which covers the full amount to replace stolen items at market cost, but requires higher premiums.

In addition, high-value property may need to be “scheduled” individually in the policy to be covered. This might include items such as expensive equipment or rare artwork.