Being burgled is not a pleasant experience and can be a horrible shock, making it difficult to know the best course of action. Imagine the situation; you come home and find your back door has been forced – perhaps the window has been smashed – and you notice things are missing. Your first thought would probably be one of personal safety – are they still in the house? Did the burglar watch you leave earlier on?
The fear and panic that this can cause may not leave you in the best mood for quick decision-making. You may feel the urge to tidy up in order to reclaim your home and bring back a sense of normalcy. Although this is tempting it’s important that you leave everything as you found it and do the following:
Call the police straight away
The very first thing you should do is call the police. They will be able to talk you through what to do next and to reassure you should you be frightened. It’s important to create a record of the incident like this, however serious the break-in seems to be, so that you can claim from your home insurance company.
If you’re scared that the intruder may still be in your home, leave the property and call from a safe place nearby, perhaps a neighbour’s house or a local pub or shop. Your safety is more important than anything else.
Once you have called the police, they should send someone round to do a forensic test. This will hopefully help them to convict the perpetrator. They’ll dust for fingerprints and look for other evidence which could identify someone. They may also check with your neighbours to see if they saw or heard anything.
Call your insurance company and/or your landlord
The next thing you should do is notify your insurance company (if you have one) or, if you rent your home and the insurance is organised by your landlord, you will need to call them to inform them of the damage. The insurance company will be able to talk you through what you need to document and what steps you should take next. The sooner you can call the better.
Document the damage and missing items
The insurance company will ask you to send them a list of items which have been taken and evidence of the damage your home has sustained. Take photos of damage to doors, windows and locks, even if it’s very slight, as you may still require an emergency window repair or similar. Try to take pictures which are in focus and which are lit properly. Taking pictures from multiple angles may help too.
In regards to your stolen items (if any), take your time documenting what has been taken. It may not be immediately obvious what is missing, particularly if the thief has made a big mess. Get a friend to help you and go through your home room by room. The most commonly stolen items are money, electrical goods, computers/laptops, jewellery and mobile phones. Also check on important documents you may keep in your home, such as banking information and passports. Make a list of everything that’s missing. If you can find pictures of these items in the background of photos you’ve taken in the past, or if you still hold receipts for things you’ve bought, these can also help you to make a claim.
Secure your home
It’s likely that the insurance company will send someone to your home to inspect the damage and ensure that it is covered under your policy. If your home is left vulnerable security-wise (for instance, if you can no longer lock a door or window), then your insurer will send a contractor out to ‘make safe’ the property. This could involve an emergency board up or perhaps installing a temporary lock to tide you over. Evander performs these tasks for the majority of the top 20 insurance companies in the UK, and would be happy to come and make safe your home even if you aren’t insured.
If you don’t have home insurance or if you need to go through your landlord, this should be done ASAP. Emergency board up and window repairs can be done by Evander no matter where you live in the UK, so give us a call on 0345 145 0130 if you need help – we’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Clean up the damage
Once everything has been documented and the police have done their job, you can now begin to clean and tidy up your home. If you discover more damage or theft during this process, update the police and the insurance company as soon as you can. Cleaning up the aftermath can be emotionally trying, so don’t be scared to ask for help and support from those around you if you live alone. Having company while you do this can make you feel safer.
Speak to someone if you feel emotionally unwell
Being burgled is a stressful experience, and the emotional effects can linger long after the damage has been repaired. You may feel very vulnerable and if you have children they could also be affected. Your home is meant to be a safe haven for you and your family, so having this violated can take a while to recover from.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support not only from friends, family and neighbours, but from healthcare professionals too. If you feel your mental health has been affected, it’s very important to go and see your doctor. In time you will move on from the incident, but until then you must listen to yourself and understand that the help is there for you should you need it.
Take extra precautions
Suffering a break-in can make you rethink the overall security of your home. Think about where the weak points are in your property and consider strengthening areas where your home could be compromised again. Purchasing a burglar alarm, strengthening your locks and ensuring your home can be seen from the road or by your neighbours can all help to prevent this from happening again.
Call or email us today to schedule a free security check of your property, where a fully trained Evander engineer can advise you on the easiest and most effective security measures for your particular circumstances. You can get hold of us on 0345 145 0130 or email email@example.com.