As a shop owner, having your store robbed is sure to be one of your biggest nightmares. You hope that it never happens to you, but in reality, about 9% of small businesses dealt with theft or burglary in 2016. When you show up one morning to find your windows broken and your cash or merchandise missing, this reality sets in quickly. In your state of surprise and worry, you may not know what to do first. That's where this guide comes in! Read on to learn what to do after you discover your store has been robbed.
Call the Police
Step out of the store (just in case the burglar is still inside), and call the police. Tell them exactly what you found, but do not go back inside in search of additional information. The police should stay on the line with you until they arrive to assess the situation. Once they confirm that the burglar has left, they may ask you to go back inside with them and point out what is missing. You may be asked to count the money in the cash drawer and tell them how much is gone, or to give them a list of merchandise that has disappeared. They will include all of this information in their report and should give you a copy of the report number.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once the police have collected all of the evidence they need, contact your insurance company to file a business insurance claim. Give them the same list of missing items that you gave the police, and also let them know about any other damage to the store, such as broken windows. Provide the police report number; this is typically required in order to file a claim.
The insurance company will probably arrange to send out an adjuster to assess the damage within the next few days. In the meantime, take photos of the damage and send them to your insurance agent. This way, you can go ahead with boarding up any broken windows and cleaning up the mess without worrying that the insurance company won't see the extent of the damage.
Secure the Store
Once you've spoken to the insurance company, it's time to secure the store. Often, if you call a window and glass company, they can come board up the broken windows and doors as a temporary security measure until you have the glass replaced. If the damage is minor and you really need to get re-opened, ask your insurance company if it is okay to have the glass replaced right off the bat. As long as they have pictures of the damage, they will likely approve the repairs -- and then later reimburse you for the cost.
Contact Your Lawyer
Once your store is secure, make a call to your lawyer and let them know what happened. They can guide you if the insurance company needs additional evidence of the damage, and if the police apprehend a suspect and want you to bring charges against them.
Your lawyer will probably also offer you some PR guidance at this point. They can tell you whether it's a good idea to re-open as soon as possible, or if you should take your time to re-build your image before doing so. Do not make any posts on social media regarding the break-in until you have spoken to your lawyer. You do not want to say anything that could alert the burglar to the police's leads or make your store seem unsafe for customers to visit.
Having your store broken into can be scary and heartbreaking, but if you follow the advice above, you can be confident you're doing the right thing to get back on your feet again.
You keep a copy of your insurance policy in your file drawer, but do you know how to read and understand the policy? Having an insurance policy will protect you from losses, but it won't protect you from all losses. To get a better understanding of what your policy will and will not cover, read through this blog. You will learn about all different types of insurance policies and learn the terminology used in the documents that you have read. Hopefully, by the time you have read through the content here, you will know exactly where your insurance policies are lacking so you can make changes.