Burglary is on the rise again, with the latest Government figures showing an increase of 6% over three years.
Having your home broken into can be a traumatic and even life-changing event. However, being prepared and knowing which steps to take afterwards can go a long way to minimising the impact and ensure you’re able to claim on your home insurance.
Call the police
It goes without saying really, but the first thing you need to do is call the police. Also, remember not to touch anything as this can reduce the chance of a successful investigation.
Get a crime reference number
The police will give you a crime reference number which you’ll need to give to your insurer for any claim you make on home cover.
It’s a good idea to take photos of any evidence of the break in and any damage to send to your insurer. This is especially true if you need to immediately make the home fully secure again, such as by fitting new doors or windows, which insurers allow for as they understand you might not be able to wait.
Cancel any cards and phones stolen
If you’ve had bank cards stolen, or mobile phones, call the providers immediately to cancel them.
Burglars sometimes return to a property as they know many householders replace stolen items, and they have the advantage of knowing a property’s lay out. So carefully check if you have any keys missing as you might need to change locks on all door and windows.
Commonly stolen items – Proof of ownership
The most commonly stolen items, according to the Office for National Statistics, are wallets and purses, cash and bank cards. These are closely followed by computer equipment, jewellery, watches and electrical items.
If you have any receipts, photographs, valuations or other evidence of ownership, collate it all and make a list of what’s been taken.
Don’t forget to check for stolen passports, driving licences and other forms of ID as they can be easily overlooked.
Contact your insurer
Get in touch with your insurer as soon as you can after discovering the burglary. They will guide you through the claims process, asking for the evidence you’ve collated, the police crime reference number and might even ask if a company representative can visit your home.
How a home insurance policy covers you
To be fully covered for burglary, you will need home insurance which includes both buildings and contents cover, as some thieves both steal items and damage a property in the process.
Apart from the cheapest policies, most will cover you on a ‘new for old’ basis. This means that if you have a laptop stolen, for example, but it’s a few years old, it should be replaced with the latest version, or nearest equivalent.
Likewise, carpets, curtains, doors, windows, locks and other fixtures and fittings will be replaced as new.
Time to increase security?
If you’ve been burgled, it could be a sign that your security needs improving.
Think about getting better locks on doors and windows, buying a decent burglar alarm and motion sensor lights, building up hedges and fitting anti-climb measures to walls and fences, and joining any neighbourhood watch schemes in your area.
How the insurer pays out
If a claim is successful, an insurer might make a cash payment, arrange a replacement themselves or offer a pre-paid card or vouchers up to a certain value to be used with a specific supplier.
Disagreements with insurers
If you disagree with how your insurer is handling your claim, or the final compensation offered, you have a total of six months to make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.
The ombudsman is independent and decides if your insurer has come to a reasonable judgement and acted fully within the law.
Need emotional support?
If you feel you can’t cope and need emotional support, the police will pass your details on to Victim Support, a charity group set up to help victims of burglary.
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 16th September 2019