I’ve been burgled – what next?

It’s the scene every homeowner dreads: returning home to find a broken window and your possessions thrown across the floor. Nothing can really prepare you for a break-in, so here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do if you discover you’ve been burgled:

1. Assess the situation

If you think your home has been broken into, the first priority is to make sure everyone is safe. If the burglars are still there, or nearby, interrupting or confronting them could put you at risk. Find a safe place, call 999, and wait for the police before doing anything else.

2. Get a crime number

If the crime is no longer in progress, call the police on the non-emergency number 101. Note down the crime reference number you are given - your insurer will need it.

3. Don’t touch anything until the police say it’s ok

Man with crowbar

Resist the urge to start cleaning up as you could destroy evidence, like fingerprints which could be key to police investigations. In the vast majority of cases, the police will attend the same day to interview you and inspect the scene .

Did You Know?

The average cost of a burglary in 2014, including stolen possessions and damage to property was £2,525.

4. Cancel your cards

If any bank cards or cheque books have been taken, call your bank and get them blocked.

5. Make a list

Go through each room, take photos, and note down everything that’s missing or damaged for the police and your insurer.

6. Contact your insurer

Broken window

If any of your possessions have been stolen or damaged, you will need to contact your contents insurer. For damage to your home itself, such as broken locks or smashed windows, you will need to speak to your buildings insurer, which could be a different company. Many people have combined buildings and contents policies - if you have one of these, you’ll only need to make one call.

If you rent, you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance - this is your landlord’s responsibility, so speak to them about arranging repairs. You will still need to claim for any damaged or stolen contents. Your insurer might send out a claim assessor, or send you a claim form where you can record your stolen or damaged property.

7. Secure your home

Doors or windows damaged during the break-in will need to be fixed straight away. Your insurer will be able to advise you on the process.

8. Seek out support

Don’t underestimate how upsetting a burglary can be. If you feel you need help, Victim Support offers free counselling to crime victims over the phone on 0808 168 9111.

“We understand that being the victim of a burglary is a traumatic experience, and it may feel like there is a lot going on in the days that follow as you try to get things back to normal. But try to stay calm and write down any information you need - I know it’s not easy, but it can really help with both the investigation and your claim. Remember, the police and your insurer are there to help.”

Steve Chelton, Head of Claims,
Swinton Insurance

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