Few of us think we’ll ever fall victim to burglary yet it’s an issue that a surprisingly high number of people have faced. According to recent research, 1 in 10 of us has had our home burgled. More alarmingly perhaps is that one in three people admit to leaving doors unlocked when they leave the house and six per cent hide spare keys near their front door.
While some may think leaving doors unlocked is a trivial action, by not securing your property efficiently, you’ll not only risk burglary, you’ll also risk invalidating your home insurance. If there is no evidence of a forced entry and it appears a burglar strolled in through an unlocked door, your home insurer may refuse to meet your claim. They might say you failed to take appropriate measures to properly secure the property and therefore deem your policy invalid. If in doubt, check the details of your contents insurance policy to see what conditions apply.
In London, The Metropolitan Police has launched a ‘lock before you leave’ campaign urging Londoners to lock their doors and windows when leaving their home. The campaign is in response to statistics that reveal over 5,000 homes were broken into last year by burglars simply walking through unlocked front doors.
Police say that many people forget to lock up properly, leaving their property vulnerable to burglary. It’s an easy thing to do, especially if you’re in a hurry, but it does make a burglar’s job much easier. Figures showed that thirteen per cent of all burglaries were ‘walk-ins’ and in sixty-four per cent of these cases, criminals had got in through the front door.
Security is an important factor for home insurance providers, as it helps them determine how likely you are to make a claim. With this in mind, being vigilant and installing good security features might result in lower premiums. Multi-point locking systems on all windows and doors are often looked upon favourably by insurers, as are burglar alarms.
Below are ten examples that could invalidate your home insurance:
- Leaving windows open or not locking windows where locks are fitted.
- Your insurer may reduce or refuse any pay-out if your locks are described inaccurately on the policy.
- If a burglar is able to gain unforced entry to your home, your insurer may not pay out on your full claim.
- If you informed your insurer that you have a burglar alarm, but do not activate it when the house is unoccupied the insurer may reduce of refuse to pay-out.
- Thefts must be reported to the police within 24 hours in order to obtain a crime number. Failure to do so could result in claim rejection.
- Failure to secure valuables in the garden that are not specifically covered by the policy (barbeques, lawn mowers etc.)
- Not securing tools that are then used to break into the house (ladders, hammers, wrenches etc.)
- Failing to notify your insurer that builders are on-site. If you suffer accidental damage (e.g. damage to the property, burst pipes etc.) the insurer may either refuse to pay for the claim, or only pay a reduced amount.
- Any claim made during a period when the house is left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days may be voided.
- If you use your home as a place of business, an increase in visits from people is assumed, thus increasing the likelihood of theft and other associated claims.