Inside Insurance: Diamonds aren't just a girl's best friend; robbers and burglars like them, too

What’s hot and what’s not on the list for home break-ins and robberies? According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), as of 2011, jewelry tops the list with 17 percent of total homeowner claims while electronics is next with 13 percent of these claims. In third place, furniture comes in at 11 percent.

What’s not hot: Beds and mattresses. The average amount paid for each homeowners claim, between 2005-09 was $27,691 for fire, lightening and debris removal, according to ISO, a Verisk Analytics company. Number two might be a surprise. It’s bodily injury and property damage at $18,050. Wind and hail, by comparison, was ranked at $6,881. Theft came in at $2,805.

The average number of claims filed per 100 policies is defined as claims frequency. Over the ’05-’09 period, wind and hail topped the list at 2.19 while water damage and freezing was ranked 1.44. Theft came in at .50 while fire, lightening and debris removal at .49.

While 97 percent of homeowners had homeowners insurance to replace their jewelry and electronics, only 29 percent of renters purchased renters insurance, a 2011 I.I.I. poll conducted by ORC International found.

Here is an indicator of what the economic downturn has done to homeownership and to those who rent. In the U.S., the home ownership rate was 65.1 percent in 2010, down from 66.2 percent in 2009, according to the U.S. Census. In some of the largest cities renters outnumbered owners, including New York, where 69.0 percent of households were renter occupied, followed by Los Angeles (61.8 percent), Chicago (55. 1 percent) and Houston (54.6 percent).

Average insurance premiums in 2009 and renters insurance premiums gives some regional perspective on who pays what. For homeowners insurance, Georgia ranked 24th in 2009 at $787 while Alabama ranked 11th at $987. Tennessee was ranked 22nd at $784 and South Carolina ranked 12th at $970.

In the same year for renters insurance, Georgia ranked 9th with $214 while Alabama was 8th at $216. Tennessee was ranked 11th with $211, and South Carolina at 15th with $198. These rankings were based on a homeowners and renters policy for owner-occupied dwellings, and the renters insurance rates were based on broad named-peril coverages for personal property of tenants.

In 2010, Georgia ranked 38th with 66.2 percent while Alabama was 10th with 70.1 percent. Tennessee ranked 22nd at 68.1 percent and South Carolina ranked 18th at 68.7 percent.

In 2010, California, Hawaii and Florida had the highest homeownership costs, based on the percentage of homes in which owners spent 30 percent or more of their income on homeowner-ownership related expenses. In our neck of the woods, Georgia homeowners ranked 17th at 37.9 percent. Alabama was 35th at 32.5 percent while Tennessee homeowners were 33rd with 33.2 percent and South Carolina was 31st with 33.8 percent.

Nationwide, 48.9 percent of renters spent at least 30 percent of their household income on rent and utilities in 2010. Georgia ranked 13th at 49 percent while Alabama ranked 28th with 46.7 percent. Tennessee renters also came in at 28th spending 46.7 percent on rent and utilities. What state ranked first? That would be Florida with 55.6 percent.

Your home should be a safe place, right? In 2009, more than 21 million Americans or 1 in 14 people experienced an unintentional injury in the home that required aid from a medical professional, according to the National Safety Council. The Council says the economic cost of home injuries was $192.2 billion.

Sadly, the number of deaths from unintentional home injuries rose 123 percent from 29,200 in 2000 to 65,200 in 2009.

These numbers may sound abstract to some, but they provide more information about what it takes to own a home, rent a home, provide a safe environment in a home and financially protect you and your family.