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Burglary and Robbery

When my friend saw me he said he couldn't believe he was robbed.

Robbed, I said. Wow, are you OK?

Yeah, I'm fine, he said. I wasn't home at the time.

Oh, so you were burglarized, I said.

That's what the detective said! Is there a difference?

Of course. Like a million other words, we use burglary and robbery interchangably in speech without worrying about the precise meaning as long as everyone understands. Insurance terms, like legal terms or any other contract language, must be precise: the language must deliver an exact definition to avoid ambiguity. 

So what's the difference? Robbery is when something is stolen from you by another using violence or the threat of violence. Burglary is when your possessions are stolen by thieves who unlawfully enter your property. 

Forcible entry is a clear indicator of unlawful entry and that helps define the cause of loss as burglary -- the theives in my friend's case had pried his back door open with a crowbar, damaging the door, frame, lock, and wall. 

What if there isn't forcible entry? That's another post.

If you have questions about coverage or you want to clarify the rough definitions above, call your agent or contact us