When Disaster Strikes

August 26th, 2010 by Andrea Bennett

A seven-step checklist for dealing with a burglary.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project


Do you know how you’d react in the event of a burglary? Maybe you’ve been through it before and wish you’d done things differently, or you have no idea how you’d react given the shock. That’s why you should arm yourself with a disaster checklist.

1. Leave. The first thing police say you should do if you’ve walked into a ransacked home seems counterintuitive, but regardless of the temptation to stay and take stock of your losses, remember that the burglar could still be inside.

2. Don’t touch anything. While your TV-watching habits may tell you that burglars are far too smart to leave their fingerprints/DNA/personal possessions/other evidence in the house, reality tells a different story, such as this man caught asleep in a child’s bed after eating cheese from the family refrigerator.

3. Call the police. Do this after you’ve reached a safe distance from your home or apartment, or at least gotten back in your car and locked it.

4. Call your bank. Even if you aren’t sure if you left credit or debit cards in your house, call the bank to alert them that your house was invaded, and you could be the target of identity theft.

5. Get a crime report number. The police will give you a reference number, which you’ll need to substantiate your claim with your insurance company.

6. Contact your insurer. Keep damaged items in case they need to be assessed by a loss adjustor, and retrieve your personal inventory list and photographs from your safe deposit box, or another secure place you’ve kept them, to use as reference.

7. Prevent it from happening again. Read these disturbing but enlightening burglar tactics from Officer.com.

Still not sure you’ll remember what to do? You can also download this helpful checklist on what to bring and what to do, and post it somewhere prominent.