Imagine this. You come home from grocery shopping, and your front door is open. You know you firmly closed and locked it. When you get closer, you can see that it was forced open. You call the police who come and make sure there isn’t anyone still inside. Your televisions, your gaming systems, sound bars, computers, printers, etc., all gone. The police investigate the robbery; they do the best they can at catching the culprit and getting your property back. Do you have documentation that a TV just pawned at the local pawn shop is yours? Or maybe a fire has destroyed your home and life. What now? In this post I’m going to share with you some things that you need to know and do to be a prepared homeowner after a natural disaster or burglary.
Be Prepared at All Times
If you’re looking to prepare yourself outside of your home as well, you might like to check out this list of personal safety tips. My husband, who has been in law enforcement in one avenue or another for over 15 years, has made sure that me and our children know the signs of danger and ways to keep ourselves safe both at home and while out and about. The world is getting more and more dangerous, so that’s one post you don’t want to miss!
Are you or a loved one in a dangerous line of work? Or do you just want everyone to remember that they are loved and to be safe when they leave home? This post contains a free SVG for you to use on your front door to remind them to “Be Safe.” It’s a beautiful cut file and fits just above the doorknob. You can make it as small and obscure or as large and bold as you’d like.
How to be a Prepared Homeowner for a Burglary
First of all, if you come home and your house looks disturbed (open door, lights on that you didn’t leave on, open gates, etc.), DO NOT GO IN! Call your local police or sheriff’s department and wait for them outside in your car with it still running. You do not want a criminal to run out and try to rob you as well as your home. You want to be able to drive away quickly if you see someone start to come out of your house. Be sure that your car is in a position to do that. Back out of your driveway and onto the side of the road to aid in a quick getaway.
What to Expect from the Police
Crime shows have given us all a false sense of what really goes on when the police need to be called after a robbery or burglary. My husband has told me that countless times people expect a crime scene unit to come and dust their entire home for fingerprints. That’s not usually what happens. Perhaps if you live in a very exclusive zip code with a huge amount of tax dollars going to fund the police department you might get a crime scene unit out, but generally (unless something horrific has happened along with the robbery), that’s not how these types of crimes are solved.
When the police arrive roll down your window and explain the situation. Wait for instructions from them as to whether or not to get out of the car. If one officer has arrived alone, he or she will more than likely wait for back-up before clearing your home. Clearing means they go through it to check for anyone that might still be in the house. Whenever they are satisfied that no one is still in the house, they will need to talk to you and bring you through the house so that you can tell them what, if anything, is missing.
Surprise Them by Being the Most Prepared Homeowner Ever!
Most of the time criminals themselves solve the crime. They usually bring your electronics into pawn shops to get cash for them. In our state pawn shop owners have to enter jewelry, electronics, and other high-ticket items into a database. The detectives assigned to robbery and burglary cases go through that database daily to see if any of the items missing from crime scenes have been pawned. Once they find the items in the database, they can look at footage from the pawn shop to find the person who sold it, usually either the person who stole it or someone close to them.
How do they know if it’s your item? Well, that’s usually the problem. Most people don’t keep a record of the serial or IMEI numbers of their electronics, so it is pretty much impossible to recover items for those homeowners. How violating it must feel to know that you were robbed and you see items that you know are yours, but you can’t prove it at all! That’s not going to be you my friends. When the police ask you to tell them what’s been taken, you are going to whip out your appliance and electronics inventory list like the prepared homeowner you are! This list will also help you immensely if you believe you know who stole from you, because you have an inkling or because you see them with your things. The police can check it out, then prove it with your inventory list.
What Should be in the List?
There are a few things that you need to have included in your inventory list. If we’re talking about a burglary, you’ll likely be looking at theft of electronics and not so much your appliances because they’re easier to grab and run. We keep our appliances up to date with this list as well in case of a natural disaster for insurance purposes. You should do the same so that everything you have is in one place for quick and easy access.
I keep my list categorized by room, kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc. Then I list the appliances and electronics in each room including their name, brand, model, and serial or IMEI number. For example, refrigerator, Maytag, M79 (a made up model), G48458E8758 (made up) or phone, Apple, iPhone 13, 25458E55D (again, made up). You will find the IMEI number for your phones and other devices in their settings. You can write the numbers on a sheet of paper or you can use the free printable that I’m sharing below. Once you have your list, remember to add new items when you buy them. Place it in a fire safe for the safest storage or, if you don’t have one, in a filing cabinet. Take a photo of the list to keep in your phone so that you always have it with you.
Free Printable Home Inventory List
For Personal Use Only
As with all of my free printables, this is for personal use only. It is not to be used commercially or to be sold. Thank you for adhering to these guidelines so that I can keep these printables coming to you for free! If you’d like to share them with friends and family, you can use the buttons at the end of the post or direct them straight here to LifeasaLEOWife.com.
How to be a Prepared Homeowner for Natural Disasters
Hurricanes are a regular occurrence where we live. Every summer we have to be sure that all of our appliances and electronics are up to date on the list and go about preparing our home for the inevitable hurricane watches and warnings. Even if you don’t live in a hurricane prone location you still need to be prepared for other natural disasters. Many things could happen that you would need to file an insurance claim for: a fire, tornado, flood by rain or busted pipes, wind damage, etc.
I will be adding a full hurricane and natural disaster preparedness checklist in the next few weeks. For now I will just remind you to keep any important documents in a fire safe and bring that with you during evacuations for natural disasters. Keep any pictures you don’t have a digital copy of in an album that you can keep in the safe. Place digital photos on a flash drive in the safe if they aren’t backed up in the cloud.
Use the Home Inventory List in the Event of a Natural Disaster
If you ever need to file an insurance claim (some insurances will also cover burglaries) you can use your list of items to expedite your claim. Provide a copy of it to your agent or claims adjuster. It is also helpful to keep updated photos of your home to prove any updates you’ve made as well as to show that the items listed on your inventory sheet were in fact in your home before the disaster or burglary. Be sure that they are updated frequently.
I hope that you’ve found this information on how to be a prepared homeowner and the free printable helpful!
Hopefully you’ll never have to use the inventory list or the information in this post! But being a prepared homeowner can assuage anxiety leading up severe weather events. The more information that you have about a situation, the better you feel.
I have some great home decor tutorials, Father’s Day ideas, and end of the year teacher’s gifts coming up. Free printables for summer are also on the way, so make sure you don’t miss them. Follow me on social media using the buttons in the sidebar or below to keep up. You can also find me as @LifeasaLEOWife on all platforms. Enter your email address below to be informed every time I post so that you’ll never miss something great!
Follow me on Pinterest for new ideas added weekly!