Some Lessons Learnt From My Burglary

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As I mentioned recently I was the victim of a break-in and burglary.

I'm still trying to sort out the insurance claims, so I honestly do not know at this stage how that will pan out.

I have, however, learnt a few interesting things.

Some of these lessons are specific to Ireland, while others are probably applicable anywhere.

Reporting the break-in to the police promptly is obviously a good idea. Try not to disturb things, though you obviously have to still live in the house or flat. The crime scene team came around to lift fingerprints the day after the break-in and were mainly interested in "clean" surfaces where they could pick up clear prints. I was lucky in that the house wasn't tossed over completely and the thieves (scumbags) only took the high value and obvious items.

Dealing with the Gardai (Irish police) has been relatively pleasant. They've all been very polite and helpful.

One of the things you will need to get from them for your insurance is the "pulse number', which is some kind of tracking number for the case in their systems. It's also used by the insurance companies to verify the legitimacy of your claim.

Dealing with the insurance claims has been a little bit more painful. Since the items were a split between personal property (eg. the TV) and company property (eg. laptops) I've been dealing with two very different types of insurance claims process. The business one is relatively easy and more electronic than anything else, while the personal one has involved a lot of phone calls and letters.

I hate filling out forms and the insurance claim ones can be quite daunting, as I'm afraid that filling them out incorrectly could make the difference between the claim being paid out or not.

Things I have learnt though ..

Keep a record of serial numbers and receipts if you can. If you buy from Apple online or even in one of their physical stores their email receipts are very detailed. You'll need to provide as much information as possible about the stolen items and both your original purchase price and the cost of replacement.

I couldn't, for example, find any trace of the original television beyond knowing the size and make. If I'd even had the manual the insurance assessor would have been happier, though having said that TVs aren't that "exotic".

Several friends have recommended a number of services that I could use (in the future) for keeping track of computers and which would make it easier to report them and track them if they were stolen. Of course I didn't have any of those services activated, but I will be using them if / when I replace my laptops etc.,

One of the things that worried me was that the Amazon Kindle was linked directly to my Amazon account. De-activating it and blocking it would have been easier if I'd registered with Amazon. Oddly enough you need to do that manually, even though they ship you the Kindle already setup with your personal details ie. they know who it is for.. Fortunately Amazon's customer service is excellent and they were able to block the device, though it did take a bit longer on the phone than I would have liked.

Another thing that is a natural concern is data.

In my case I don't really keep much on my machines. In the case of the MacBook Air there was practically nothing on it, as its hard drive had been wiped a couple of weeks ago when it was being repaired. I've stopped storing passwords for web services on my local machines and have been using LastPass for the last couple of months.

Improving the security of my home is something that I am quite worried about now. Getting an alarm of some kind fitted would be a good deterrent, though under recent Irish legislation you can't do it yourself and have to get a certified fitter to do it for you. That also means that it costs a lot more than it used to.

Now to wait and see if the insurance companies do their job!


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2 Responses to Some Lessons Learnt From My Burglary

  1. Gordon September 3, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    When you buy something scan the receipt as a PDF or print it as a PDf if its in an email and upload it to Google Docs with a descriptive file name.
    Very easy to find in the case of an insurance or warranty claim.

    I do the same for things like contract terms for mobile phones.

  2. Michele September 3, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Gordon – yes, I’ve learnt that lesson. The receipt for the new TV is permanently stored in my Evernote account 🙂

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