Packages often go missing from our building's lobby and we think they are being stolen. Does renter's insurance cover package theft, and is it worthwhile to file a claim? What else can we do to prevent this?
Renter's insurance does cover theft, but it's probably not worth it financially to file a claim for a missing package, our experts say.
Renter's insurance is highly recommended for New York City tenants, because it will cover you if your personal property is stolen, damaged, or destroyed, and protect you from liability if someone is injured in your apartment. You can also get reimbursed if you have to leave your apartment if it becomes uninhabitable and you need to stay in a hotel. But in most cases, an insurance policy won't help with package theft.
"Package theft will be covered under most policies if it happens in the building or directly in front," says Jeffrey Schneider of Gotham Brokerage (a Brick sponsor). "Unfortunately, your deductible will apply, so this may not be a great option, other than for very high value packages. It may not be worth filing a claim to recover $100."
The situation is similar for co-op shareholders or condo owners: It probably only makes sense to file an insurance claim if the value of the lost package is higher than that of your insurance deductible. An appeal to the board may not help, either.
"A cooperative or condominium board would reject responsibility for a lost package," says Jeffrey Reich, partner in the law firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas. "If a cooperative or condominium is sued by a resident over the loss or theft of a package, the board would potentially make a claim to its own insurance company in connection with the defense of any such case."
However, you have other options for dealing with package theft, particularly if this is a recurring problem that affects other residents. If your building doesn't have a doorman, speak to your neighbors about the importance of never buzzing in a stranger. Discuss with them, too, reporting the issue to building management as a group—there's strength in numbers. Updating locks, installing security cameras, and setting up a package room, or package locker are all good ways to reduce theft.
And as an individual, you have your packages delivered somewhere off-site, like to a post office box, UPS drop-off, or Amazon hub.
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