Wednesday, April 1, 2020

4 Key Things to Do After a Break-In

A home break-in can shake your sense of security in your most personal space. Many people feel alarmed and distressed upon realizing someone has broken in and has possibly stolen their belongings. They may not know the next steps to take. 
Since 88 percent of break-ins occur in residential areas, it is important for homeowners to know what to do if a break-in should happen. Here are four key things to do after a break-in to help you feel safe and to allow you to begin to recover from the experience.

1. Call the Police

First and foremost, contact the police to report the incident. In this step, police can make sure the area is secure before giving you an opportunity to establish a record of what happened. You may use this record to file your insurance claim. Ideally, you should call the police before entering your home to avoid contaminating the scene or coming face-to-face with criminals. So if you see broken glass or that someone has tampered with your lock, return to your car and make the call from there or another safe place. 

2. Inventory Losses and Damages

Once the police have left and you know your home is secure, it is time to start taking inventory of the event. List anything that the criminals might have stolen, such as electronics, jewelry, cash or credit cards. After you have finished your list, take photographs of where those items were placed to set the scene for your insurance company. Further, take photographs of any damages made to your property, such as any broken glass or door looks at the point of entry. 

3. Report and Cancel Your Stolen Credit Cards

Sometimes people store credit cards at home for safekeeping. Unfortunately, if there is a break-in, they may become collateral damage and lost to the burglars. Inform the credit card company about the burglary and let them know you can provide a police report of the incident. Some credit cards, like USAA credit cards, are especially known for their heightened security features that are well-trusted in the industry. Prepare to dispute any charges made against your account by the criminals by drawing from the preceding steps. 

4. Contact Your Insurance Company 

Once you have gathered the documented information and photographic evidence on the break-in, review your homeowner's insurance policy to make sure you understand the basics of what is covered. Check to see if your policy covers broken doors, smashed windows and other structural damages, as well as a specific breakdown of covered goods. Do not do any clean-up or repairs before meeting with the claims adjuster so they can examine the scene on their own. Remember to keep your police report readily available to give to your insurance representative, too. 

Recovery After a Break-In Takes Diligence, Time and Patience

By taking these steps right after the break-in occurs, you will be on your way to basic recovery. Making sure your credit cards are canceled and reordered, gathering evidence for the police and your insurance company, and staying calm are the beginning steps toward reclaiming your peace of mind. Once you start cleaning up, putting everything back in place and seeking tighter security, you are likely to start feeling better.


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