How to File an Insurance Claim after a Home Burglary
According to the FBI, approximately one in every five U.S. homes were burglarized in 2012, totaling an astonishing 2.5 million burglaries. We all hope we’re never the victim of a burglary, but the reality is it could happen to you. If it does, knowing how to make a home insurance claim and what to expect from your insurance provider will help reduce the anxiety associated with this especially devastating crime.
Follow these steps to navigate the claim process and you’ll get your family back on track sooner than you’d imagined.
Step 1: Contact law enforcement immediately.
As soon as you realize your home has been burglarized, call the police. Your home insurance company isn’t likely to take any steps forward with your claim until you report the incident and get a police report number.
While you’re waiting for an officer to arrive, resist touching doors, windows or any entry point that might be dusted for fingerprints. If you have a home security surveillance camera, check to see if it captured any suspicious activity.
Step 2: Call your home insurance company.
Once you have called the police, it’s time to notify your home insurance company. Even if you haven’t had the time to identify what, if any, property was stolen, you should make them aware that your home was broken into.
Step 3: Write a list of stolen items.
The next step is to start a list of items that were stolen. The more detailed your list, the greater the chance you’ll have of getting reimbursed fairly. List the item name, description, purchase date and value. If you have pictures or serial numbers, be sure to include them.
Most burglary victims find compiling a list of their stolen property to be the most tedious part of the claim process. Having an up-to-date home inventory of your valuables to refer to will speed up and simplify the task. This free app from the Insurance Information Institute is a great resource for creating a comprehensive home inventory.
Step 4: Get reimbursed.
Once you’ve submitted your inventory of stolen items, you can expect to receive your check in one to two weeks. Remember that you have a deductible to meet, so you’re responsible for replacing items up to that figure. You should know that many home insurance companies are opting to issue reimbursements via prepaid debit cards rather than checks.
If you have the financial resources to replace stolen items and repair break-in damage while you’re waiting for reimbursement, you should do so. This can help restore order and a sense of security to your home.
Step 5: Fortify your home against another attack.
The best way to evade a burglary insurance claim altogether is fortifying your home with a home security system. Not only will a monitored home security system make your home three times less likely to be burglarized, it may also save you up to 20 percent on your home insurance policy. There are plenty of sites that help you compare home security companies so you can easily find the right fit for your home.
After a burglary, you’ll naturally want to focus on restoring your family’s sense of security as soon as possible, and your home insurance company should work with you hand in hand to do so. If you aren’t getting the service you deserve from your provider, or you’re curious about modifying your policy to better protect your family, give us a call and one of our agents will be glad to discuss your options with you.