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Sponsor: 5 steps to take after a break-in, and the best way to avoid one

Sponsor: 5 steps to take after a break-in, and the best way to avoid one
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Burglaries are traumatic. Whether you're home when it happens or come back from vacation to find a window smashed and your valuables gone, it can cause major panic.

In the midst of panic, most people don't think well and can forget important steps they need to take for safety or getting their stolen items replaced. We're going to give you a checklist of things that you need to do right away when a break-in occurs, so you can prepare ahead of time.

1. Call the police

This one doesn't need much explanation, but it's worth mentioning because when looking at signs of a break-in, some people instinctively rush into their homes to see what happened. Unless it's clear that the burglars are gone, it's better to call the police and wait for them to arrive.

2. Record everything

If you were home for the break-in, or caught a glimpse of the burglars, you need to get down as many details as you can on paper, a note-taking app or a voice recording right away. In high-stress situations, memory can be spotty so you don't want to wait for the police or a later time.

Be sure to note the number of intruders, physical details, clothing details, how they got in, what they did while inside and the direction they left. If you didn't witness the break-in, still record when you returned home and what you did.

3. Take an inventory

Go around the house taking pictures of how the burglars got in and any damage they caused. Then get pictures of the places items were stolen. You'll want to submit these with your insurance claim to help move things along. If you have receipts for the items as well that will help.

In fact, you can help a lot by creating a home inventory now. That way, you don't have to go digging for information about your stolen items.

Very Important: If you're doing this before the police arrive, do not touch or move anything. The crime scene needs to be just as you found it so the police have more accurate picture of what happened.

4. File a police report

The police will help walk you through this one. You might need to go down to the police station or sometimes you can file online. Either way it's going to take a little bit to get to the actual filing part, which is why you want to have your record you made just after the incident.

5. Contact your insurance company

You can put off this step until after you file the police report. The insurance company will need to know the police report number and other official information.

Once you submit a claim, or a claims adjustor comes to view the damage, you can provide the photos you took, any receipts or other information that will help you get faster compensation.

Bonus: Prevent burglary in the first place

Burglary is traumatic no matter what happens, but you'll have an easier time moving on with your life if the burglars never get past the front door. That's why you need a home security system, and we've got just the thing.

Our sponsor SimpliSafe offers a no-contract system that installs in 15 minutes without drilling. The sensors are linked wirelessly so you can put them anywhere and don't have to run cables. That makes SimpliSafe perfect for apartments and rentals, along with sheds and garages. Because you can add additional sensors later, it can scale from small areas to larger homes with no problem.

SimpliSafe uses cellular to signal the monitoring service for help, so there's no phone lines for burglars to cut. Police will arrive no matter what. Plus it has a loud 85dB siren in the base station, with the option for a second 105dB siren, which will drive off most burglars.

SimpliSafe offers door and window sensors and pet-friendly motion sensors for security. It also has sensors for freeze, flood, carbon monoxide and smoke, so you can protect your home against more than intruders. You also get a panic button so you can trigger the button yourself if needed.

Alerts about any sensor can be sent to your smartphone for on-the-go updates. SimpliSafe can also let you know the code used to disarm the system, has silent alerts so you can keep an eye on things like medicine cabinets and drawers without calling the police, and plenty more.

SimpliSafe is the easy, no-contract way to protect your family and your home. Get it today and save 10% when you use promo code KIM.

Want to know more about preventing burglary? Make your home a less tempting target for burglars before going on vacation, or just in everyday life.

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