Tips for businesses that suffered damage or theft
Safety is the first priority
Remember to prioritize preservation of people and property. Do not enter premises unless you are comfortable that it is safe to do so.
Call the police and file a police report:
- Be sure you get the names of any officers that are part of the conversation, and a copy of the report (typically obtained at the local precinct). You will need this for your insurance company.
- Contact neighboring businesses. If other businesses were also vandalized it’s helpful for the police to know. You could potentially share video footage that can benefit an investigation.
Document damages with photos and notes
- Document or detail what was taken or damaged (or both). Photographs help supplement written descriptions.
- Begin by making a list of all stolen items and damaged property.
- If you have an inventory, refer to it. It'll help you remember things you might otherwise forget, especially in such a stressful situation.
- If anything was damaged during the burglary, take photos or video footage. Then fix anything (like broken windows or doors) that will protect your business from another robbery or additional harm. Don't forget to keep receipts tied to these repairs. You'll need to hand them over to the insurance company later.
- After you prepare this list, gather any receipts, credit card statements, manuals, or photographs that are related to your losses. These items will help you document for your insurer that you actually owned the items in question.
If you are not the owner of the building, call the landlord and report the incident.
Call your insurance company
- Fill out the claim forms your insurance company sends you
- You should get these shortly after you tell your insurer you'll be filing a claim related to your break-in or damages.
- Complete and return the forms to the insurance company as quickly as possible. Dragging your feet here will hurt you more than them, as it will delay your payment or reimbursement.
- Some of the questions you might want to ask your insurer:
- What do I do now? What should be my next steps?
- Will my policy cover this incident? If so, what does it cover? And what doesn't it cover?
- Is window, door, entrance damage the responsibility of the building owner, or is it covered by my policy? (check your lease, these are typically detailed in a commercial lease)
- Will my claim exceed my deductible?
- Can I go ahead and repair any property the burglars damaged? Or does the landlord or insurance company have to approve that first?
- Are there any deadlines or dates I need to be aware of moving forward?
- Do not delay reaching out to your insurance company. Getting the ball rolling on your claim is a priority because it is a very deliberate and detailed process.
Keep in mind
If your window or entrance have been damaged, call appropriate repair services or a professional emergency board up service.
- If you need help identifying someone, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may want to contact a public insurance adjuster to help advocate for you regarding your loss.
- The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a guide of public adjusters that can help.