Category Archives: Home Theft

Quick Tip: Home Theft – Don’t Touch Anything!

Home broken into? Don’t touch anything – especially food in the fridge!

Thieves might take food or even meds from the medicine cabinet.  Notify the police – the write down what’s missing or eaten. This might seem trivial, but it could catch your thief because of the fingerprints left behind on the medicine cabinet and throughout the kitchen.

More tips on getting your stuff back.

Susan

Reader’s Home Burglarized – Send Advice

What is it with the burglaries this summer?  A reader contacted us over the weekend about a home burglary (he was out of town at the time).

While the burglars didn’t take much (thankfully), and he’s going through the Get Help – Theft page item by item.

However, he’s also concerned that they did take enough personal info to start a rash of ID thefts.  We sent him the advice on what to do if you suspect ID theft.

If you have advice to share with this reader on what you learned after an ID theft or home burglary, email us (Susan (at) WhatHappensNow.com) and we’ll pass it on and add it to the site.

– Susan

Orlando Bloom, $500K Theft and Insurance

Orlando Bloom’s home was broken into and it’s reported  that he lost up to $500,000 of jewelry, cash and artwork.  We hope he has a home inventory and riders to cover these items. 

Be sure you have enough insurance coverage for a theft, fire or disaster.  Two years ago, after doing an article on insurance, we realized our home insurance policy didn’t reflect the home’s value. 

What does that mean?

Essentially, if our house had burned, we had only enough insurance coverage to rebuild 1/3 of it.  This is because we didn’t tell State Farm about remodels, updates and new items we’d purchased.  State Farm thought it was still the ‘old’ house and had it at the ‘old’ house value.

Many agents don’t do an annual ‘check-up’ to be sure home/property/belongings are properly covered. If you’ve recently added to your home, improved or remodeled, contact your agent for a check-up. Don’t know how to do this? No worries – here are some starter questions for you to ask your insurance agent.

– Susan

Disaster of the Day – AIG

Since you and I own 80% of AIG, I’d like a few words with the CEO on why he’s rewarding bad employees with multi-million dollar bonuses.

If I lost m/billions of dollars for a company, I’d get fired no matter what my employment contract said.

Keep whatever you have left safe. Here are some good tips.

  1. Teach your family about home security.
  2. Explain security precautions and explain why they are important in keeping your home secure.
  3. Ask each family member to remember to lock the door EVERY TIME (coming and going) and keep a careful watch on their own set of keys.
  4. Show them where the keys to internal locks are located in case they have to exit your home quickly.
  5. Tell your children to never answer the door when they are home alone.
  6. Do not trust an unfamiliar delivery, utility person or anyone else who requests access to your home, unless you have set up the appointment ahead of time and they show proper identification.
  7. Be wary of door-to-door canvassers. Most legitimate fundraisers carry a solicitor’s permit as well as an office number you can call to verify their legitimacy.
  8. Lock your doors and windows even if you step outside for just a moment.

Need more? Go here.

– Susan

Home Break In – Tips from a Theft Survivor (2 of 2)

Here are Elizabeth’s last five tips. Missed part one?  You can read it here.

Follow up with police
Follow up with police
  1. If you can, find photos and receipts of any of the missing items for insurance purposes.  Having trouble?  Many stores keep a list of customers and their purchase.  For example, it’s pretty easy to find receipts for good jewelry.  Another good tip?  Ask for family photos from holidays or celebrations at your house – your things will be in the background.
  2. Be proactive and look for your things.  Local pawn shops can be a great place to start.
  3. Follow up with the police.  Your responding officer will give you a case reference number – refer to it when you call to follow up.
  4. In Elizabeth’s case a suspect was caught.  They got a call from the county attorney’s office regarding the suspect’s trial date and restitution (payment to us for the stolen and un-recovered items).  She says that when you’re calculating restitution be sure to include your insurance deductible and depreciation that was taken out of your insurance settlement.
  5. Pay attention to the case.  If guilty and sentenced, the thief will have longer to “work off what they owe back to you” while in jail.  This gives you an idea if there’s a chance you’ll see the full amount of your restitution.

BONUS TIP!  Be patient. Be prepared for the process to take time.  Elizabeth felt luck that someone was caught – from identification of a suspect through a guilty plea and sentencing, their process was two months.

Thanks Elizabeth!

– Susan

Home Break In – Tips from a Theft Survivor (1 of 2)

Here’s a real life home theft experience sent into us from Elizabeth.

Coming home after a family event, she and her husband found a door open and realized that they’d been broken into.

After her experience, Elizabeth has 10 great tips to pass along.

  1. Be sure to have a home inventory list!  They had one and it made figuring out what was missing much, much easier.
  2. After the break-in, don’t touch anything!
  3. Call the police.  Crime scene experts arrived on the scene and dusted for prints.
  4. Call your insurance agent.  Be sure to check your policy to see the conditions of depreciative and replacement value.  It can always help in advance if you’ve done your homework on insurance riders.
  5. Consult your home inventory list, and make a list of specifically those items that are missing.

Elizabeth has five more tips coming so you know what to do in case your home is broken into.

– Susan

Spring Cleaning Series: Day #2

Welcome back! It’s Day 2 of our week-long spring cleaning series. (Read Day #1 here!)

Spring cleaning can be a lot more than just cleaning out closets and putting winter items away: how about “cleaning” and organizing your financial house as well!

Pick a topic below and get started!

Insurance

Having adequate coverage is key, just in case the unexpected occurs. You never know when Mother Nature might cause a slight disruption in your life, so get ready!

1. How much is your home worth? Do you have enough insurance on your home to rebuild it if it is destroyed? Do you even know how to calculate the amount of insurance you need? Learn how to estimate your home’s value.

2. Am I covered? The more you know and understand about home insurance, the better you can insure yourself and your family in case of loss. Top questions to ask your agent…

3. Get extra coverage. Did you know that most home owner’s insurance policies only cover about $1000 worth of electronics and only $1500 worth of jewelry? Look into extra riders to make sure your possessions are protected…

4. Review your policy. There are about five key events that should trigger a review. The first one is…

Finances

1. Start an emergency fund. Unexpected medical bills, disasters, even car accidents – you should have a pool of money set aside for these little speed bumps of life. Learn how to get started…

2. Do a home inventory. It’s like “found money” – it can help you make your case to the insurance companies when filing a claim after a loss, theft or natural disasters. Learn more…

3. Write a will and name beneficiaries for major policies. Take care of your finances for your loved ones before it’s too late. Start today.

That’s Day 2! Check back tomorrow for tips on how to prep your home for the spring severe weather season ahead. Have a tip? Post it in the Comments section below!

Spring Cleaning Series: Day #1

10_2502518.JPGOverwhelmed with spring cleaning? Can’t even begin to think about all those chores you have to do for your work, home or car?

Well, not to worry! Bookmark this page or come back and visit us each day this week – we’ll get you ready for spring in no time!

First things first: get organized at HOME!

1. Spring cleaning. For general cleaning, one of the best resources out there is Real Simple’s section devoted to this seasonal drudgery. If you’ve experienced a disaster, fire, or even water damage, you know that cleaning up after these messes requires a lot more work. Read our Start the Cleaning Process article for tips on tackling those dirty jobs.

2. Safeproof your home. As the temperatures rise, so do the number of home invasions. Take a few minutes to gloss over these home improvement tips and tasks you can easily do to keep thieves away.

3. Get organized. In order to do your taxes, you’ll need an organized space to do them. We asked home office organizing expert, Lisa Kanarek, to offer her top tips on getting organized – read her handy advice here.

4. Finally do that home inventory! Never done one? We’ve made it easy to get started…

That’s all for Day #1 of our Spring Cleaning Series! Check back tomorrow for advice on getting your insurance policies in order (including top tips from insurance agents!!).

Top Ten Phone Numbers to Have…Just In Case!

Bloggers Marc and Angel have a list of the top ten phone numbers you should have in your cell phone just in case. You just never know when you might need them!

Also, this brings to mind another blog post from a while back:

Still in need of additional contact lists to have just in case? Print out these handy emergency contact lists to keep a hard copy of your contact numbers – store them near your landlines at home or at work.

Get Organized in 2008!

Taxes, filing, inventories…sometimes you need to organize before you can start organizing!!

To help you make home office and home organizing a little easier, we spoke with Lisa Kanarek, home office organizing expert and author of “Home Office Solutions: Creating a Space That Works For You”.

Here are her top recommendations about the things you can do today to get organized, save money and get ready for the New Year ahead:

WHN: How do you advise home office owners/homeowners on how to do a home inventory of their office?

Lisa K.: Start by listing all the important equipment you own – computer, fax, printer – it probably won’t be much [in your home office]. Write down the year, when and where you bought it. I tell home office owners to [videograph] everything: grab a camera and just start taping everything. Keep one copy [of the footage] in your office and another offsite, in case a disaster hits your home.

WHN: Should you back-up your computer files, just in case?

Lisa K.: Every week you should do a back-up of your hard drive. You don’t have to do everything, just do the new things you added in the past week. I use a flash-drive and do two back-ups and keep one on site and one offsite.

Keep reading…