In the U.S., more than 3.7 million home burglaries happen every year. What would you do if you realized you’ve been burgled? These 4 steps can help you handle the aftermath (and here’s hoping you’ll never need to follow them).

4 things to do after a home burglary

1. Call the police

In the heat of the moment, your instinct might be to call your significant other (or Dad) instead of law enforcement. But it’s important to get the police on the scene rapidly. If you think the criminal might still be inside, it’s best to leave your home and call 911. If no one’s in the house, call your local nonemergency number ASAP.

An estimated 50 percent of single-family home burglaries aren’t even reported. And though it might seem hopeless, there’s a chance your stolen items may be recovered. If your home was broken into as part of a larger string of robberies, notifying the police can assist them in finding the criminals. Reporting the incident also helps your community collect crime data, which can help your area allocate resources in the future.

Tip: Our Esurance claims experts note that if you use a tracking app on your smartphone, it can be very simple to locate it if it’s stolen. Let law enforcement know about the app upfront.

2. Stay calm

In this situation, staying calm’s easier said than done. If you start reeling, think about breathing, taking it slow, and recognizing the positives.

Breathe. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on inhaling and exhaling. This can help clear your head and increase your ability to effectively handle the break-in.

Go slow. Continue your calm mind-set by taking your time. What’s done is done. It’s important to focus on yourself and your family, along with meticulously documenting everything.  

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Recognize the good news. The break-in didn’t happen while anyone was home, a family heirloom wasn’t stolen, you have great insurance — whatever it may be, thinking about the silver linings prevents your mind from going negative. Maintain your Zen with the power of happy thoughts. (And if that third thing isn’t on your list, get a quote with us today.)

3. Take pictures of damage and list stolen items 

According to the FBI, law enforcement solves less than 13 percent of break-ins. Our claims experts say that while property’s not often recovered, the more information police have, the better your chances are of recovering items.

Walk through your home and take pictures of anything that’s damaged. Write down any missing items. If you’d noted the serial numbers of your electronics, gather those files in one place. These’ll prove helpful when working with police or filing a claim.

4. Contact your insurance company to file a claim

Esurance strives to make filing a claim as easy and smooth as possible, and a police report makes it that much easier. You can file a claim without one, but an official report will help the adjuster work through all the details.

Our claims experts urge you to file the claim as quickly as possible. This way, the details are fresh in your mind. The longer you wait, the more you can forget.

You can find a list of information to gather before contacting your insurance company here. Any effect on your premium is specific to each unique situation. Your initial quote depends on hundreds of factors and the same goes for any change in premium. Talk to your insurance company about how (or if) your rate will be affected. And if that’s us, remember we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Safe and smart | Home safety

about Meghan

During her time as an editor for the Esurance creative team, Meghan “layed the smackdown” on style and grammar rules. Hailing from Chicagoland, she’s written about everything from industrial welding to dog fashion. She spends her weekends attending live comedy shows (likely laughing so hard she cries) and reveling in the art of well-mixed cocktails.