You’ve been broken into! Now what?

At the end of a long day at work, you arrive home ready for a warm meal and a little down time.  Instead, you find you’ve been broken into.  Think!  What do you do?

  • If you haven’t entered your home, don’t go in.  The person could still be inside, unlikely, yes, but you don’t know that.
  • Call the police and wait outside for them to arrive.
  • Let the police secure your home and provide them as clean a crime scene as possible.
  • If you’ve entered your home and discover you’ve been broken into, don’t touch anything else and exit your home.
  • Call the police and wait outside for them to arrive.
  • Note what you touched since entering the home but give the police as clean a crime scene as possible.

By exiting the home and waiting for the police to come you are contributing to the probability they’ll find some evidence that will aid them in determining who broke into your home and capturing them.  It may even lead to you recovering what was taken.

Did you conduct a home inventory?

  • If you did, print two copies out, one for you & one for the detective who will investigate your burglary.
  • Highlight what was taken, providing serial numbers and pictures if you have these.
  • Be sure to get the detective’s name, phone number, email address & how to get a copy of the police report.
  • Use your copy to confirm, if there’s anything you overlooked in your initial report to the police.
  • I recommend people keep a legal pad so they can record anything they find missing over the next several weeks.  Sometimes an item isn’t discovered as missing until weeks later.
  • You’ll also use a copy of this list with your insurance adjuster when you initiate the claim.
  • If you didn’t conduct an inventory, then refer back to last week’s post about how to conduct one.

There are a couple of other things you need to think about while the police are at your home.

  • Realize you’ve been victimized by a crime.  Do not minimize this.
    • Spend the night with a friend or family member
    • Have someone spend the night with you
    • Stay in a hotel
    • Find someone to talk with who understands
  • Work through the process of what it will take for you to feel safe again.
    • Install a monitored alarm
    • Get a dog, even a small dog can make a difference
  • Secure your home.
    • Repair any damage that was caused from the break in (was a door kicked in or window broken)
    • Change your locks, especially if you have a spare key missing
    • Take pictures of any damage and keep receipts of any repair work.  You’ll need these for your insurance claim.

Once your home is secured and you’ve begun the process of determining what was taken, should you file a claim?  As a Texas insurance agent, I’m not permitted to tell a client they should or should not file a claim.  That is usually considered an ethics violation.  There are three questions we review with our clients that help them determine whether or not to file a claim;

  • What is your insurance policy’s deductible (other perils if there’s more than one)?  Texas home insurance policies typically start with a 1% deductible on other perils.  That’s 1% of your home’s dwelling value, so a home insured for $200,000 has a deductible of $2,000.00.
  • What was the cost of the repairs?
  • What was the approximate cost of the items taken?  This is especially important when jewelry, furs, artwork, or other items are stolen.  Most policies have limits on these items when stolen so know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t.

It becomes clear very quickly whether or not it makes sense to file a claim.

Have you been broken into?  Share your experience and what you’d do differently so we’ll all learn from it.  Post your comments or questions in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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