So long story short (and the reason why I haven’t posted in awhile), a few weeks ago my roommate’s and my apartment got broken into while we were at work. It was seriously scary, as I was the one who discovered the apartment with the door unlocked. I was immediately worried about my roommate because one of her suitcases was downstairs and she was nowhere to be found. Later, I learned that that suitcase was stuffed with my DVDs. Our bedrooms were ransacked (I’m still trying to put mine back together), and our electronics were stolen. Lucky for us, we were both ok, but were understandably shaken up by the experience. I learned a few things from this, and I wanted to share with you in case you ever find yourself in this position.
1. Get renter’s insurance.
Seriously, GET IT. This is the first of my apartments in which I’ve had renters insurance, and I got it reluctantly as it was written into my lease. After this, I’ll never go without it. It’s pretty cheap, only about $250 a year, and you will thank your lucky stars that you have it if anything happens. Out of sheer laziness, I had forgotten to renew it, but luckily my roommate had sent the check in – thanks again Meghan, you saved the day!
2. Make sure you communicate with, and listen to, the right people.
So someone breaks into your house, who is the first person you call? The police? Nope, not me, I hopped right on the phone with my mom and dad. I was standing outside my apartment, crying, afraid to go back in and all I wanted to do was have my mom and dad tell me what I should do. Luckily, they are quite sensible, and told me to hang up, call the police, and then call them back. Somehow, just knowing the police were on their way and having completed the first step in what needed to be done calmed me down.
When the police came, they told us to make sure we called our banks (I had a checkbook stolen), and our landlord just to let him know what was going on. The police determined that the thief probably came through the front door, as it was unlocked when I got home and there were no signs of disturbance around the window. Obviously, we needed to get our locks changed, so part of the discussion with our landlord was around the locks. Our landlord gave us a recommendation on getting the locks changed, but we felt more secure just getting them all changed. Unfortunately, there is a rule in our community, that we didn’t know, that our front and back doors cannot have the same lock, which they now did. We had to get another locksmith to come out and rechange the locks, and with that other locksmith came an additional fee. Now the lock on the back door is the same as before the robbery, and we’re out more money. In hindsight, we should probably have taken the landlords recommendation, as he knows more about the house and the community than we do.
3.It’s OK to not feel OK.
After the robbery, I didn’t feel comfortable being alone in my home for a good two weeks. There was a stranger that was in my bedroom, and had been through all my bags and drawers – the thought is really creepy! I thought, “I’m never going to feel ok here again, I should just break my lease and move.” Luckily, over time, I did start to feel more comfortable. I’m now good staying there by myself – even overnight! There are a few residual effects though: I check that the doors are locked more than I used to, and I’ve started putting the chain over our door when both my roommate and I are home, something we didn’t used to do. As they say, time heals all wounds, but I think the bat my dad gave me to keep in my room may have helped.
Have any of you been in this situation before? Any questions about what renter’s insurance covers? Let me know – you can always tweet me @third_and_girl or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.