It’s terrifying to realize you’ve been robbed. You probably worry that you’re in imminent danger as soon as you find out. In fact, you very well may be. However, in most cases when a home has been robbed, the thief is long gone and will not return. Restoring your sense of safety will take time and in that time there are some very serious steps you need to take. We’ve prepared a list of things to do to get reimbursed from Homeowners Insurance for what was stolen from you.
Call the Police
A home robbery is no different from a car theft so call the police right away. You need to file a report and put the incident on record, even if you feel like there’s no way the thief will be caught. For you to be able to file a Homeowners Insurance claim or a Renters Insurance claim, you must have the incident on record.
If you are away from your home and are alerted to the robbery of your home remotely, do not return. Call the police and ask that they dispatch someone to your home right away.
If you find your home ransacked, do not touch anything while waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of the crime. By touching your belongings or cleaning up, you will only contaminate the crime scene and possibly sabotage the success of the case. Everything in a crime scene becomes evidence so be careful to leave everything as it is until you are told you may do otherwise. Don’t do anything that may jeopardize your Homeowners Insurance claim.
Make Lists and Gather Photographs/Videos
Make a list of everything that is missing along with detailed descriptions of each stolen item. Ideally, you already have a catalogue of photographs of your valuables along with their value. Don’t forget video footage too. Remember that all images and videos should have duplicates, including a copy for you and for your insurance company.
Check for Surveillance
If you have a security surveillance system in your home, that’s great. Make sure to get that footage as soon as possible so that your system doesn’t accidentally film over or erase the evidence of the thief breaking in. If you do not have cameras but your neighbors do, ask around to see if there’s any documentation of suspicious activity on their cameras that same night/day. It’s not uncommon for a thief to burgle more than one house in a neighborhood. You’ll want to get some money back for what was taken from you and to give your neighbors a heads-up so call and ask them to check their surveillance systems. Remember to make duplicates of any surveillance footage, too. You’ll need a copy of everything for your insurance company as well, in case the robbery is not solved.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Don’t psyche yourself out by assuming everything is gone and that you’re at a total loss. Chances are that you will recoup a decent amount of what was stolen from you. Make sure you have duplicates of all the descriptions and images of the stolen items along with your police report because that is what the agent will ask for right away. After your materials have been reviewed, they will send over a claims adjuster to investigate the claim. It’s still important that you do not tamper with any evidence before the adjuster gets a chance to survey the scene.
Call Your Bank
It’s possible that the thief gained access to your personal information. You may have even left your credit cards or checkbook at home. If you had this information laying around or if it’s missing call and temporarily freeze those accounts.
Change Your Locks
Make sure that before you spend the night in your home, you have the locks changed. If you have any idea how the intruder got in, that’s exactly the area you need to secure your home. Look for other vulnerable areas that can turn into entrances. Breaking into the front doors or first-floor windows are the top ways intruders get inside. While it’s not common for a thief to return, it can happen sometimes so it’s better to be extra careful.
Tell the Neighborhood
Report what happened to you to your Home Owners Association (HOA) as well. It’s not uncommon for thieves to target several homes in one area. If you live in an apartment complex, tell management right away. Shout it out on social media. The more attention you bring to the robbery, the less likely the thief (or any other thief) will return to your neighborhood.
If you didn’t have a security surveillance system before, you’re probably kicking yourself now after the break-in. No one really wants to file a Homeowners Insurance claim, but once you’re robbed, you have no choice. Even if you had to file a claim, it’s never too late to invest in a sound security system. There are some start-up costs to setting up this sort of protection, but the expense may be offset by some Homeowners Insurance price breaks for having the protection. The reasoning is that you are a low-risk because you are taking cautionary, preventative measures to avoid being robbed. Also, the chances of the thief being caught are much higher with video evidence of the perpetrator breaking into your home. There are many security companies offering services these days.
In addition to the well-known systems like ADT and Brinks Home Security, which cost about $35-40 a month, there are others with astronomical pricetags. For example, Vivint and Nest can easily break the bank with upfront costs that run upwards of $550. And that’s not including the monthly subscription fees. There are setup and installation costs for camera surveillance, which can be anywhere from $400 to $4,000 so shop around for rates that fall in your budget. Keep in mind that most of these products come with monthly financing options so if you’re not able to pay in full, you can probably finance the cost. If you’re laughing because these numbers are much greater than you were hoping to spend, there are lesser but still valuable DIY kits available online and through Amazon. These devices will probably not earn you many discounts on Home Insurance, however.
Call and speak with an Insurance Specialist (888.772.4247) about what you can do to lower your Home Insurance payments each month by investing in a security system in your home. We are also here to help you tailor your policy so that you are protected in any situation that may leave you vulnerable. Remember to bundle your Homeowners with your Auto policy for maximum savings.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.