What To Do After a Burglary Happens In Your Home
There’s no denying that equipping a home with a professionally installed home security system will significantly decrease the risk of being burglarized. The Electronic Security Association reports that homes with alarm systems are three times less likely to be burglarized, but some homes with alarm systems are still burglarized. Surprising as it may seem, we find that the many homeowners who were robbed typically failed to arm his or her system before leaving the home. If you do happen to experience a burglary, follow the steps below in order to stay safe:
1. Leave the house and file a police report.
Most burglars are there to steal what they came for and exit a home as quickly as possible, however it’s very dangerous for a homeowner to assume that a burglar is gone from a home after a burglary. When returning to a residence after a burglary has occurred, leave the premises and immediately notify law enforcement. Some burglars have been known to hang around or hide in a home – and this poses an immense threat to families. It’s not necessary to determine if any items have been stolen before you notify the police.
A victimized homeowner should always file a police report before anything else is done. Some homeowners make the mistake of calling the insurance company before filing a police report. One has to keep in mind that the insurance company will need to see the police report before allowing a claim to be filed. Experts recommend that burglary victims file a police report within 24 hours of being burglarized, but doing it within the hour would be ideal. Also, if it’s discovered that a burglary has occurred upon coming back from vacation, file a report immediately, even if the amount of days that have passed since the crime is unknown.
2. Don’t touch anything.
The first instinct of a burglarized homeowner is often to go check the most valuable possessions in a home, such as a safe. If it is evident that a safe, or any other item, has been tampered with, don’t touch the item. While most burglars wear gloves, that is not a guarantee and touching the items that have been tampered with could ruin valuable evidence by eliminating fingerprints. If you see something that may have been left behind by the burglar, don’t touch it either. It’s essential to let the police do their jobs. This step may seem difficult, but it is very important.
3. Make a list of everything that was stolen.
It’s a good idea to have an inventory of your possessions, and with today’s technology, it’s easy to create a very detailed and thorough document. Homeowners should create an inventory of their valuable items with the names of the items, pictures, serial numbers, dates of purchase and even receipts if possible. Creating a video recording of a room with all the possessions present is also a beneficial practice for homeowners as it provides further evidence. While time consuming, creating an inventory will prove to be worth it for homeowners during a potential worst case scenario.
After notifying the police, compile a list of everything that is damaged or missing from the home. Now, with a readily accessible inventory, a homeowner has a tangible reference point when it comes to assessing losses. This method is the best way to ensure that the insurance company offers the proper deserved compensation.
4. Call your insurance company.
With an inventory already prepared, this last step becomes easy and much more stress free for a homeowner. Homeowners should call the insurer, report the crime and the insurance company will then send a claims adjuster to the home to evaluate the property and assess losses. With the inventory, a homeowner can provide visual evidence with an associated price to the claims adjuster.
While it can be difficult to prepare for and think about being the victim of a burglary, taking preemptive steps can substantially aid a homeowner in the long run. Even when running out for quick errands, a homeowner should always arm the home security system and lock the doors. Homeowners should also regularly test an alarm system as another preemptive measure to prevent burglaries. While home security systems are trustworthy, it’s always a good idea to make sure everything is working properly, especially before leaving for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, taking all the preventive steps simply doesn’t eliminate the possibility of a burglary occurring, but it does dramatically improve the safety of a home and provide a reliable contingency plan.