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What to do after a burglary

If you've been through the unsettling experience of a burglary, you're certainly not alone. According to security experts IFSEC Global, there is an attempted burglary every 45 seconds in the UK; every 76 seconds there's a successful one.

The idea an intruder has entered your house can come as a shock. After all, your home is your safe place, where you and your family should be able to rest easy. It can be even more distressing if valuable possessions or sentimental items have been taken.

But it's essential to try to keep calm at this crucial time.

What to do in the immediate aftermath

The first thing to do is call the police. If you're sure the burglars have left the premises, you can call your local police station on the non-emergency number 101. But if there is any doubt, call 999 from a locked car or head to a neighbour's house where you can stay safe.

As hard as it may be, it's important to resist the urge to touch anything or clear anything up as you want the police forensic team to have the best possible chance at gathering useful evidence. This could involve fingerprints or footprints, which could even help make a conviction.

Another immediate concern is to report any personal documents or items that may have been stolen. These could include debit and credit cards, chequebooks, passports or driving licences.

In the vast majority of cases, the police will arrive within a few hours. They'll want to take a statement from you and anyone else who lives in the building. You'll also be issued with a crime number; this is an essential requirement for when it comes time to make an insurance claim.

Contacting the insurance company

If you have home contents insurance, you'll most likely need to file a claim within 24 hours of reporting the incident to the police. It's best to get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible. If you need to talk to us about your home insurance with Hastings Direct, give us a call on 0333 321 9681.

If you have any broken windows or door-locks that need repairing, check whether they're covered under your policy and keep any receipts from locksmiths or glaziers. Some insurance companies might require photographic evidence, so be sure to double check over the phone what your insurance provider requires.

What does contents insurance cover?

It covers you for loss or damage to personal items in your home like furniture and electrical goods. Unlike buildings insurance that's a requirement for any home buyers that need to take out a mortgage, contents insurance is an optional purchase for most people.

Different policies offer varying levels of cover, but most will offer a degree of financial protection should you experience a burglary. Holding the right contents insurance cover may not soften the blow of a burglary, but it can make sure you're reimbursed and take the financial weight off your mind.

Always check the limit for single items when you're shopping for contents insurance. If you have expensive furniture, art or jewellery in your home, you may want to take out additional insurance for further peace of mind.

Home security tips

After a burglary, it's likely you'll feel the need for added home security. Here are a few suggestions that may help to make you feel secure in your home again:

  • Always secure and lock all doors and windows when you leave the house. Remove the keys and keep them somewhere safe (though not in an inaccessible place in case of fire).
  • Install a security light to make sure intruders can't hide under cover of darkness.
  • Install a burglar alarm and make sure you apply the warning stickers in a visible place to deter intruders.
  • Record any serial numbers for electronic goods to make it easier for the police to identify your property.
  • Set up an online file for proof of purchase documents — these might be necessary to settle your insurance claim.

It can take time to feel comfortable again in your home after a burglary. Some people might find it useful to contact their local Victim Support team for practical assistance, advice and additional support.

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