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What to Do After You've Been Robbed


Recovering and Repairing Your Property
Always report a break-in.
Always report a break-in.
BananaStock/Thinkstock

You arrive home and discover that your house has been burglarized. Or worse, you were home when the break-in occurred. The first thing you should do is call 911. That may sound like common sense, but many robberies aren't reported because victims think it's pointless to contact the authorities. But there is a point: You may be able to recover your stolen property and save someone else the misery you've endured. Plus, you won't be able to file an insurance claim without a police report. More on that later.

If you can tell from the outside that your home has been burglarized, absolutely do not go in until the police arrive. There's a chance a burglar is still on the premises. Wait in your car and lock the doors, or wait at a neighbor's house. If you're certain the thieves are gone (perhaps you saw them flee) and you're waiting inside your home for the police to arrive, don't touch anything. Investigators may want to take photos or fingerprints. Once the police leave, you can start putting things back in order.

If you want to pursue an insurance claim, you'll need to file a police report within 24 hours of discovering the crime. Provide your insurance agent with a list of everything that was stolen and how much these items are worth. This practical step will also help you begin to process and confront what has happened. If a door or window was broken during the burglary, you should board it up until a repairman can fix it properly.


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