Suffering a break in at your business, or having your business equipment stolen, can be an unsettling experience. It’s a distressing situation to be placed in - with the potential to be left out of pocket, unable to continue with your normal day-to-day work, or the fear of losing or letting down your customers.
Unfortunately, business theft isn’t uncommon. Theft is responsible for nearly one in five claims we see at Superscript, however there is hope with the average payout for a claim standing at £2,514 (based on Superscript claims data 1 January - 31 August 2023). Taking the appropriate steps is essential to increase your chances of recovering or replacing your belongings if you find yourself in this situation.
In order to help you think clearly at this time of stress, our claims expert Charlotte Hamer has outlined the steps you should follow to help get your business back up and running:
Step 3 - Check for missing data
Step 4 - Block devices and cards
Step 5 - Secure your premises
Step 6 - Notify your insurer
Leave everything as it is and call the police
If you arrive at your premises and discover that there has been a break in, as tempting as it is to begin to tidy everything away, hold fire! Your first step should be calling the police on 101 to report the crime.
This is the number for non-emergencies and they will be able to pass you to the best team to help. They’ll send someone to visit the property to take some details, and to analyse the crime scene for any evidence left behind. Make sure to take note of the crime reference number as your insurer will require this.
We would always advise to take as many photos of the scene as possible, including that of any damage caused to gain entry to the property, along with internal damage and breakages.
Create a list of any missing items and damage caused
Thoroughly check the premises and compile a list of everything that is missing. Chances are, thieves will go straight for the most expensive items, so a good place to start is by checking all electronics such as tools, laptops, cameras, smartphones, as well as cash, debit and credit cards, etc.
Now you’ve spoken with the police, it’s time to get into documentation mode, so take the chance to snap some more photos to further document your claim as once you tidy up, there won't be another opportunity to get any more images of the scene.
Check for any missing data
It’s not just hardware or cash, always be sure to check for any missing documents which may contain sensitive client, customer or business information, as well as thinking about any data contained on, or accessible from, stolen electronic devices.
If this is the case, you may need to inform the Information Commissioner's Office of the issue. A lawyer will be able to advise you if this is the case.
It’s time to block devices and cards
If your list of missing items contains any smartphones and tablets or any other linked devices call your network provider urgently to have these blocked for use. This is the same for any cards that may have been taken - blocking will stop these being used by thieves and your bank will be able to pop you a new one in the post.
One of our customer's houses was broken into by two thieves, who entered the property by smashing their patio doors.
The thieves stole the customers work laptop, and damaged their work monitor. The claim was settled by replacing both items, to the value of £568.99.
Need to secure your premises?
You may need emergency repairs, such as fixing locks, windows and doors to make sure the property is fully secured and you avoid another break-in.
It’s important to document any costs you incur in the process. To do so, save the invoices and receipts, as depending on the cover you hold, you may be able to claim back for this.
A customer was undertaking some work and had his tools on site. The thieves used forcible and violent entry to gain access to the building, and stole all of our customer's tools. The incident was reported to the police, and then to us as the insurer.
The customer provided us with all of the information we needed, including the original purchase receipts, their crime reference number and links to replacement items. We were able to review and settle the claim based on the replacement links the customer had provided in a matter of hours of the information being shared with us. The claim settled for £1,424.39, minus the customer’s excess.
According to data from Superscript, trades businesses are some of the most likely to experience theft or damage to items, with 14% of the claims we receive for theft coming from trades businesses. Find out more about our comprehensive trades insurance, or tools only cover.
(Data from Superscript - claims notifications for theft from 1 January - 31 August 2023
Notify your insurer
Now’s the time to report the claim to your insurance provider, whether this is online, or over the phone. While there are plenty of important things to do after a theft, including the above steps, you should report your claim as soon as you possibly can.
Even if you haven’t managed to gather all of the bits and pieces you need, having your insurer on side to assist gives great peace of mind and they can offer guidance to help you along the way.
Another top tip is to make sure you are aware of your policy excess, as this is the amount you will be liable to pay towards any successful claim.
Document your claim
Compile as many details as possible about the items that have been stolen. For each item your insurer will request things such as proof of purchase (for example, the original purchase receipts), details of the make and model(s) and serial numbers. They’ll also take note of your crime reference number and any photos that you took of the scene.
Providing these details at the beginning of your claim will give your insurer everything that they need to promptly review and settle the claim, so that you can get back on your feet. Even if you don’t have everything together, your insurer will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Your insurer may also require links to items that are like-for-like replacements, but these can be emailed over to your claims handler once the claim is set up.
Always be proactive in assisting your insurer with investigations
It’s compulsory to cooperate with your insurers and to take any reasonable steps to minimise your loss, so be sure to keep an eye out on your emails, just in case they’ve tried to get in touch. They could be requesting a number of things, for example, confirmation as to whether the police have had any updates with their investigation.
Settling your claim and replacing your items
We understand that damage or loss of your equipment or stock is detrimental to the operation of your business, and that you’ll need to replace things quickly.
At Superscript we aim to have your claim paid out as fast as possible. As long as all documentation has been passed over and the claim is covered, payment can be raised so that you can make repurchases of all the stolen goods.
Other things to consider
Sometimes, you’ll find that your landlord or office has cover in place for the buildings. Give them a call to inform them what has happened, especially if there has been damage caused to the premises. They will need to report this to their insurance provider separately, as they will likely be responsible for repairing any damage and securing the premises.
Take reasonable steps to ensure this doesn't happen again
Suffering a theft is unsurprisingly a common time to consider your options to further increase the security of your premises. Are there alarms? Could you use some additional locks? If the break in was down to human error, could you improve your moral hazards in the workplace and review any existing processes and procedures?
Sometimes, however good your security and however careful you are, these situations can be unavoidable. That's why getting the right contents and portable equipment cover for your business can provide that extra peace of mind.
This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.
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