My home was broken into around 4am on February 3rd. While I wasn’t home at the time and nothing was taken that can’t be replaced, the whole experience has been challenging. Because of that, I wanted to share some tips to help others be better prepared.
Remember the basics.
Lock your doors and windows, get to know your neighbors, and don’t leave UPS/FedEx packages sitting on your door step overnight.
Have adequate lighting.
Motion sensor lights are a great way to add lighting when you’re not home (from $20 at Home Depot).
Have a security system.
Even if it’s not actively monitored, the noise of a security system may be enough to either scare off would be burglars, or to reduce the time they are in your home. Monitored alarm systems can also save 10-20% on your home owners insurance (systems from ADT start at $49 with a monitoring contract; wireless systems from SimpliSafe start at $230, and do not require a land line or a monitoring contract, though monitoring options are available).
Register your purchases / keep serial numbers.
When given the option, register large purchases (especially electronics and tools) with the manufacturer to ensure you have the serial number. Serial numbers for stolen goods can be entered into a nation-wide system used by pawn shops to help recover stolen property.
Be able to prove ownership.
If you ever have to file an insurance claim, you’ll need to prove ownership before they reimburse you. If you don’t have a receipt or a user’s manual, take your phone and record a video while walking around your house for proof of ownership.
Have the right level of insurance.
Most homeowner’s policies have a pretty low limit on certain valuable items, for example jewelry is typically only insured up to $2,500. If you own significantly more than the coverage amount, get a separate rider for your insurance policy.
Not going to lie – I used to mock all of the home security commercials on TV that focus on women’s insecurities, but after it happened to me, I slept much better after the alarm was installed. Slept even better after I changed my locks… I decided to go with SimpliSafe, btw. I’ve had it for about a month now and I’m a big fan!