When we find something that belonged to us missing, we at times presume it was taken away without our permission by someone dishonestly. The term that we use in our day to day language for this incident is - that a theft has been committed.
Insurance as we understand is a process using which, such unforeseen incidents can be compensated. Before we go into the various methods by which insurance can help in compensating losses suffer due to theft, let us first also look at the legal definition of Theft & a related term - Robbery in IPC (Indian Penal Code).
We can see the commonality in the legal definition and the common sense understanding that we have of the term; of course with some additions in IPC definition. One interesting addition here is the concept of “moveable property”. So, a tree growing on land is immoveable but when cut & separated from earth is moveable (Expl. 1)
Hence a building & Plant & Machinery fixed in foundation can not be covered by Theft insurance but a Lap top or mobile phone can be.
It is important to keep the IPC definition in mind, so that we can understand the different insurance covers available for covering theft and other variations of it
In all robbery there is either theft or extortion.
When theft is robbery.—Theft is "robbery" if, in order to the committing of the theft, or in committing the theft, or in carrying away or attempting to carry away property obtained by the theft, the offender, for that end voluntarily causes or attempts to cause to any person death or hurt or wrongful restraint, or fear of instant death or of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint.
When extortion is robbery.—Extortion is "robbery" if the offender, at the time of committing the extortion, is in the presence of the person put in fear, and commits the extortion by putting that person in fear of instant death, of instant hurt, or of instant wrongful restraint to that person or to some other person, and, by so putting in fear, induces the person so put in fear then and there to deliver up the thing extorted
Thus we can see that theft is an essential part of a crime to be considered as robbery.
We have looked at the two offences against property as defined in IPC. Interestingly, Burglary is not a term defined in IPC but used in insurance policies. As may be obvious by now, the term builds on the concept of Theft as defined in IPC.
“Burglary means the unforeseen and unauthorised entry to or exit from the Insured Premises by aggressive and detectable means with the intent to steal Contents therefrom.”
The insurance policy defines Robbery as “the theft of Contents at the Insured Premises using unforeseen, aggressive and violent means against the Insured’s Employees.”
a. In a policy covering a commercial premises, only theft is almost never covered even as an additional cover. The policies available cover Burglary &/or Robbery.
Apart of the standard exclusions of War, radioactivity etc., the policy does not cover
Both individuals & commercial establishments should take this policy for coverage of their moveable assets.
The burglary/theft (in some cases) can be availed in different policies: