Your Home Was Broken Into. Now What Do You Do?

Your Home Was Broken Into. Now What Do You Do?

Home invasions not only cost you hundreds of dollars, they can also be traumatic for you and your loved ones. On top of this emotional and financial damage, it can be difficult to know what to do after a break in occurs. Everyone assumes a home break in will never happen to him or her, but in reality, over 2 million burglaries happen in the U.S. per year, and 74% of these burglaries happened on residential properties.[1] So your home was one of these two million – what should you do?

Contact the police.

Of course, the first step should also be to alert the authorities. Tally up everything that was stolen or damaged in your home, and create a detailed report so that the police have a record of the incident. This can serve as the basis for a further investigation, and can help them track down the burglar in the event that the items that he or she stole turn up elsewhere. It also provides a credible reference for your insurance company when you file claims to recover your property, so make sure you keep a copy of the report for your insurance claim.

Call your insurance company.

That leads us to the next step, which is to contact your insurance company and report all of the damage that was done during the break in. They will most likely want a copy of the police report so that they have concrete evidence of the burglary and to prove that you are not committing insurance fraud. They may also send a claims adjuster out to survey the damage and verify the facts of the incident, so make sure you leave your home or apartment as-is until this occurs. It may be a good idea to stay with a friend or family member during this time to make sure all of the evidence remains in place while your case is being surveyed. (Staying elsewhere will probably also make you feel more secure than staying in the home that was just burglarized.) Your insurance company will then go over your situation and hopefully reimburse you for the value of the items that were damaged or taken, less any deductible included in your policy

Own an alarm system? Contact your provider.

If you own an alarm system, it’s likely that your alarm system monitoring company contacted you when the break-in occurred, and, if you were unreachable, contacted the police directly. (If they didn’t, it’s probably time for a new monitoring company). Your alarm system provider can also be helping in telling you what to do after a break in, as they most likely have experience with break ins and an action plan in place.

Your alarm system monitoring company should also have valuable information concerning the time of the break in and the point of entry, which can help the police create their report and track down the intruder. If you have a security cameras installed, request the footage from your monitoring service if you don’t have direct access, and hand it over to the police. If there is visual evidence of the intruder, it can give them a significant head start in identifying him or her, returning your belongings and arresting him for the crime. Also, if your alarm sounded when the perpetrator entered your home, it’s likely that one of your neighbors took notice and caught a glimpse of the incident, further helping the case.

Don’t have an alarm system? Get one now.

Of course, ideally your house would have never gotten broken into in the first place. While an insurance check can cover the monetary damage done by a break in and police investigations can capture the intruder, neither can replace the actual items that were taken, or repair the emotional damage that comes along with realizing your home has been broken into. To prevent further incidents, it’s a good idea to invest in a home alarm system.

After you reinforce your locks and repair the damage that was done during the burglary, plan for the future by installing a home alarm system. Homes without alarm systems are three times more likely to be broken into than homes that do have alarm systems.[2] Given this statistic, you can significantly decrease your chances of a recurrence by investing in a home alarm system.

In addition, given the emotional toll a home invasion can have on your life, a home alarm system will give you the peace of mind that would not be there if you simply went back to life as usual and allowed your home and your belongings to remain unprotected.

Talk to your insurance company again.

After you purchase a home alarm system, you can save up to 20% on your monthly home insurance costs by letting them know that you have protected your home with an alarm system. This can help counteract the potential increase in premiums that comes along with filing a theft claim. Depending on the terms of your policy, an insurance company may also charge you a deductible when filing a burglary claim, and only cover the cost of the loss after this deductible has been met. By decreasing your insurance costs with an alarm system, you can also start to recover the cost of this deductible.

While a home invasion can be taxing on both your wallet and your emotions, knowing what to do after your home was broken into can ease the anxiety of the incident and get you, your family and your property on the road to recovery.

[1] http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/property-crime/burglarymain

[2] http://www.safeguardtheworld.com/statistics.html

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