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What to do if your home is broken into

Published 5 July 2016 by

Finding out that you’ve been burgled can come as a big shock, especially if treasured items have been taken. Once you’ve let the news sink in, it can be hard to know what to do next or who to inform.

To help you know what your first steps should be and how to make a claim on your home insurance policy, we’re going to take you through the basics.

Report it

The first thing you should do if you think your home has been broken into is assess the situation. If the burglar is still in the property or close by, call 999 and wait outside your home. You can call 101 instead if there is no one in the property.

You should receive a response as soon as possible. Don’t touch anything while you’re waiting, as you could destroy important evidence. If you’re safe, make a note of anything stolen to help the police with their enquiries.

When the police arrive, they will give you a Crime Reference Number for you to give to your insurance company so keep this safe. A forensic team should visit your home within hours of reporting the break-in.

Making a claim

Once things have settled, call your insurer to explain to them what’s happened. You should find a claims helpline phone number in your policy documents and booklet. Your own personal policy number should be in there too.

If you’re only claiming for a small amount, you will need to fill out the required claims form. As evidence, you’ll need to provide receipts as proof of purchase for the items you’re claiming. If you can’t find these, look for your credit or debit card statements or call your bank or credit card provider for the relevant copies of these.

You should try to get as much evidence as you possibly can. Include photographs if you have them available. For a larger claim, your insurer is likely to send an investigator to your home to confirm the damage stated in your form.

As long as you’ve been honest and the terms of your policy support your claim, you shouldn’t have any problems. If everything runs smoothly, your insurer will either send a company to carry out repairs or pay you a lump sum to your account or by cheque.

What about the excess?

When making any insurance claim, you’ll be required to pay an excess. An excess consists of two parts – the compulsory excess and the voluntary excess.

You’ll have to pay the compulsory excess no matter what, but the amount of the voluntary excess will depend on what you agreed when you took out the policy. If you agreed to voluntarily increase your excess to lower your monthly premiums, it might be a fairly large amount.

Once you make a claim, the cost of your monthly premiums could rise when it comes to renewing. This will also have an impact on any no claims discounts built up. You shouldn’t let this put you off though. Your home insurance policy is there to help you cope with these sort of situations – so make use of it.

If the cost of your premiums do go up, make sure to shop around for the best deal available.

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