Returning home to discover you’ve been burgled is always a difficult moment. Nevertheless, it is essential to stay calm and collected in order to deal with the situation and take the necessary steps that follow. We’ll explain how you can get through this ordeal as calmly as possible.
1. Don’t touch anything!
No matter what state of disarray you find, you shouldn’t touch anything before the police investigators arrive. By doing so, you could unintentionally destroy evidence, fingerprints and proof of forced entry, information which is vital for both the police and your insurer. If you absolutely must touch a window or piece of furniture, make sure you put on gloves.
2. Call the police
Dial 17 to report the burglary to the police. Once the authorities have been notified, they will send a police unit to your home to identify and investigate the burglary and possibly even send a forensics unit to collect the intruders’ fingerprints. Make sure you give the authorities all the information in your possession. If you have a security camera, viewing the footage with the police can help them identify the burglars.
3. Cancel your bank cards and chequebook
Immediately check if any banks cards have been stolen. Call your bank immediately to cancel your card if you notice that a credit card or chequebook is missing, otherwise the burglars may steal money from your account. You should then write and a confirmation letter and sent it to your bank by registered mail. In France you can also call the national bank card cancellation centre on 0892 705 705, or the national stolen cheque centre on 08 92 68 32 08.
4. File a police report
After you have called the police to take formal note of the burglary, it’s essential to file a report at your local police station or national police office. This will enable you to pass on any new information to the investigators (neighbour’s account of events, footage recorded by a security camera, etc), as well as an itemised list of the goods stolen. The report receipt will help you put together your insurance claim. If you are a tenant, your landlord may ask for proof of the theft and forced entry. In this case, the receipt of your police report can be used to notify your landlord of the damage.
5. Notify your insurer
After you have discovered the burglary and filed a police report, you should contact your insurer. As a general rule, you will have 48 hours from the time you discover the burglary to notify your insurer. You can double-check the cut-off time in your home insurance agreement. Next, you must confirm the theft report by registered mail, including the necessary details to open your application such as your contract number, the date and details of the burglary, a description of the damage, if any, and the receipt of your police report.
You don’t have to include an itemised list of the stolen or damaged items, it can be sent after you have submitted your report. If your home is equipped with a security camera, the recorded footage can be used as evidence and included in your claim. With a Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera or Smart Outdoor camera, you can view and download the recorded footage on your smartphone for free.
6. Make an itemised list of the stolen goods and damage sustained
You should estimate the damage sustained as soon as possible. Make a complete list of the stolen goods and put together your insurance claim with all the evidence in your possession: invoices, warranties, photos of valuable items and notary deeds for inherited goods. Don’t leave out items with a sentimental value as their loss equates to actual damage. Include material damage in your claim, attaching trade invoices from locksmiths or carpenters called in to repair the damage. If your insurer contests the damage value or the damages suffered, they may send a claims adjuster to carry out a new assessment.
7. Repair your door, window or lock
Your home is vulnerable after a break-in. You’ll need to repair the entrances that were damaged or forced during the burglary. When submitting your theft report, ask you insurer if they have a partner locksmith. If not, you will have to organise the repair of the doors and locks. Make sure you keep the receipts and ask the tradesperson to provide a break-in report. Take photos before the repairs take place, and where possible, keep the damaged items for as evidence. You can include these items in your claim in order to receive compensation.
8. Improve your home security
A burglary is also an opportunity to improve your home security measures. Take advantage of the locksmith’s presence to install a security door or a deadbolt. If you live in an apartment complex, you could ask the condominium association to install an intercom system or security cameras at the entrance. You could even equip your own home with an alarm or a motion detector camera.
Cameras are the best way to protect your home. They reduce the risk of burglary by 22%**, compared to an access code (15%) or a security door (7%). The Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera and Smart Outdoor Camera alerts you immediately if an intruder has been detected in your home or backyard, meaning you can act straight away. The Outdoor Camera is equipped with a powerful floodlight that turns on when it detects a person and deters would-be burglars.