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What to do if you’ve been burgled

What to do if you’ve been burgled

Being on the receiving end of a burglary is an upsetting experience that can take years to get over. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 424,846 burglary offences for the year ending December 2018. So, what do you do if you’re unlucky enough to fall victim? Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know.

I’ve just been burgled. What do I do?

The first step is to contact the police on 101 to report the crime. If you think the burglar may still be on the premises, call 999 instead and make sure you’re safe and not in any danger. Avoid confronting the burglar.

The police will provide you with a crime number. Write it down as you’ll probably need to give it to your home insurance provider if you make a claim.

Take photos of any damage to doors, fences, locks or other parts of your home as this could help with the police investigation and could potentially speed up the claims process with your home insurance provider. The police may send a Crime Scene Investigator to obtain any evidence from your property.

If any of the locks to your home are damaged or have missing keys, speak to a locksmith to get these changed to ensure your property is secure. Your insurance provider may be able to help with this.

Make a list of what seems to be missing and contact your home insurance provider as soon as possible. They’ll take note of the event and provide you with advice in terms of how to make a claim and what to expect going forward.

Check to see if your car keys or spare car keys have been taken. With some very modern cars, it might be possible for a garage to reprogram the locks. If this isn’t possible, ask the police or a garage for advice on how to avoid your car being stolen at a later date, such as using a steering wheel lock.

What should I do if my mobile phone has been stolen?

If you’ve had a mobile phone stolen, let your service provider know as they should be able to block your account.

If you have mobile phone tracking, let the police know as this might be able to help them track down the thieves – but don’t try to do this yourself as you could put yourself in danger.

What if important documents were stolen?

Burglars will often make off with important documents, such as your passport or driving licence.

If your passport has been taken, you should report it on the gov.uk website.

If your driving licence has been taken, you’ll need to replace it – which is also something you can do online.

If any cheque books, debit or credit cards were taken, make sure you cancel these as soon as possible.

If your benefit books have been taken, let the relevant department know so they can stop potential fraud and replace them.

You might even find that your birth certificate has been taken, so check to make sure it’s still safe. Let the police know if it’s been taken and contact the General Register Office for a replacement.

Home insurance often includes some cover for replacement documentation, but there’s usually a monetary limit on the amount you can claim. Check your policy booklet for details.

Do I need to notify my insurance provider of a burglary even if I don’t intend to make a claim?

Yes. Even if nothing in your home was taken, you should inform your home insurance provider of a burglary. If you don’t tell your provider, you could invalidate your policy if you make a claim in the future.

I’m finding it hard to cope with having been burgled. Is any help available?

If you’ve been affected by crimes such as burglary, Victim Support can help you. If you report a crime to the police, you’ll automatically be put in touch with Victim Support. But if you need help sooner you can get free, confidential advice. Call 0808 168 9111 or request support online.

Victim Support can get you personal support, advice about other specialist help services, plus practical information to help make you feel safer. They can also help parents and carers support any children to cope with the impact of a burglary.

How can I prevent future burglaries?

It’s always a good idea to implement additional security measures, such as an alarm system or better quality locks. Doing this could also reduce your home insurance premium.

You may want to take precautions when going away on holiday. These can include:

  • Asking someone to park on your drive, if you have one
  • Installing timers so that lights switch on and off automatically

And avoid posting photos of your holiday on social media while you’re away, as this could be seen as advertising that you’re not at home, making you more vulnerable to theft.

If you’ll be away on holiday for more than 30 days and you home will be unoccupied, you’ll probably need to let your insurance provider know. They may place conditions on your policy while you’re away, or charge you an additional premium to ensure your home is covered.

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