Nothing can prepare you for the trauma of a home burglary. You’re probably going to need to deal with the emotional and psychological aftermath first. Contact your local victim support service for help – and call in as much support as you can from friends/neighbours and family.
At the same time depending on your material losses there will inevitably be insurance paperwork to do. After the shock of finding out that someone has entered your home without your permission – this may be a big challenge for you – but it’s important that you try to focus – if you’re going to stand a chance of recovering your losses and feeling better. Dealing with the insurance company efficiently after a home burglary will be part of that challenge.
Try to remember that insurance company employees are usually properly trained – and if you have genuine losses – they will actually try to help you. Don’t hesitate to let them know you’re feeling traumatized. If you’re still in shock you may be disorientated and find it difficult to remember PIN numbers, account numbers and passwords. That’s normal and you may still be feeling the effects of the shock for some time. If these effects persist – see your doctor.
As soon as you discover a burglary in your home – you need to start recording what happened and when. Set up a file and put the information in a safe place where you can find it easily. If the police are involved – you will need to make a statement. They should give you a copy of the statement – together with an incident number. You will need to pass these on to your insurance company as part of the proof that the home burglary actually happened and that you’ve followed the correct reporting procedures.
The insurance company will ask you for detailed information about the items you may have lost such as registration and model numbers of the products that may have been stolen – together with their value and proof of purchase. It may take you a good while to get this information together (how many of us have the foresight to document every purchase and file the paperwork away carefully?) – it’s only usually when you’ve been burgled once that your realise how important this routine task really is. You may not be able to provide all the information – but just do what you can.
Insurance companies usually conduct a lengthy and detailed interview to ascertain the validity of the claim. You may have to tell the story more than once – either on the telephone or in person – and the whole process may not be completed for several weeks. Even if the claim is accepted it may take several weeks (or months) to recover the money. This is when you may need extra support from family and friends.
If your handbag or purse is stolen with house keys, credit cards, driver’s license, mobile phone and your personal computer is gone too – then as well as dealing with emotional trauma you may also have practical difficulties to contend with (such as getting the locks changed and even cash flow issues). You’re going to need as much help as you can get.
Following a home burglary – prioritise your personal safety and well being and get insurance paperwork done soon as soon as you possibly can.Victim Support services (if they are available in your area) – can help you navigate your way through this process – and support you with the difficult jobs that need to be done after someone breaks into your home.