What to Do After a Home Burglary

Burglar breaking into home

Coming home to discover a burglary has occurred is a very upsetting experience. You may be well inside your home before you see things aren’t right; it’s important to stop and leave your house immediately as soon as you realize you’ve been robbed. Call from your car or go to a neighbour’s to call the police.

1. Call the Police

From a safe location, contact the police as soon as you can and report the theft. Don’t go back into the house until the police arrive since you could inadvertently disturb evidence. Our natural reaction is to start putting things back where they belong or checking the damage to certain items but don’t clean up at all until the police have completed their visit and noted evidence.

Go through the entire house and tell the police all of the items that are missing and take photos of the damage. If you have a home inventory list, it will be an invaluable reference during this difficult time. Check for these items:

  • Jewelry,
  • Electronics (TVs, stereo equipment, computers, etc.)
  • Artwork,
  • Sports equipment,
  • Musical instruments,
  • Prescribed medication,
  • Cheques and credit cards kept at home, and
  • Identification documents (passport, SIN, bank accounts, etc.)

Keep a copy of the list of stolen items and damage since you will need to give this information to your insurance company too.

2. Call Your Insurance Company

After you have contacted the police and have their names and badge numbers, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to start the claims process to repair the damage to your home and replace the stolen items. Even if you do not have a home inventory list, you may have photos of your home taken during family gatherings or parties that can be the ‘before’ pictures. Your insurance company will need to know the approximate value of all stolen or damaged belongings.

Some of the more expensive items like jewelry, instruments, sporting equipment, and artwork are not usually covered by the limits in standard home insurance policies and need to be specifically insured. Hopefully you arranged to protect your high value items with adequate coverage.

3. Contact Your Neighbours

Let your neighbours know what has happened because they need to beware of the increased risk in the area. In addition, they may have seen something they thought nothing of at the time but now realize may be helpful to the police.

4. Guard Against Future Thefts

Although it is a disturbing thought, burglars have been known to return to homes they robbed a couple of months ago to steal all of the brand new replacement items you have just purchased. Here are some of things you can do to prevent or discourage break-ins to your home:

  • Install a monitored home security system (if you don’t already have one)
  • Install motion-detector lights on all sides of your home’s exterior
  • Upgrade the locks on your doors and windows
  • Consider adding security cameras at all entranceways

Less expensive options include:

  • Posting “Beware of Dog” signs (even if you don’t have one!), and
  • Same thing using alarm company signs.

Advice from Home Insurance Experts

We hope you never have to deal with a home burglary but if it happens we can provide professional advice and advocate for you throughout the claims process. Feel free to speak with our insurance experts at Mitchell and Whale Insurance Brokers at 1-800-731-2228 or email us at info@mitchellwhale.com. We’re here to help.

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