Insurance advice for home security

Worried about home security, requirements of your insurer. What is the best lock to fit, should you have CCTV or an intruder alarm system?

36% of domestic burglaries are committed by opportunists, a person passing a property, seeing an insecure door or window and having a go! You are 10 times more likely to be burgled if you don’t have a basic level of security such as window locks and good quality deadlocks. Burglary has fallen by nearly 60% since 1995 but it doesn’t stop opportunists taking any chance they can to steal from you and your property. All it takes are some simple precautions and with you not letting your guard down!

Make sure you have adequate home buildings and contents insurance

Insurance cover for your home is relatively inexpensive and should be within the budget of most households. Remember that both buildings and contents is cover is required, often the damage the intruder does to your property can be extensive, breaking doors, windows etc so a joint buildings and contents insurance policy is essential.

The postcode area that you live in will have an effect on the premium and also the physical security conditions that are applied to the policy by the insurer. All insurers use postcodes to calculate premiums and to determine if they require the policyholder to have security conditions attached to the policy. Some general advice for improving the security in your home;-

  1. Fit strong locks to external doors and windows and keep them securely locked with the keys removed from the locks when the home is unattended.
  2. On timber doors fit good quality mortice deadlocks conforming to BS3621. NOT BS2621, there is a difference so go for the higher grade of BS3621.
  3. Make sure the door frames and the doors are in good condition and at least 44mm thick. A lock is only as good as the door and the frame.
  4. Use property marking products to mark your valuable contents. Try to obtain products Secure By Design which are approved for use by the Police.
  5. Keep ladders securely locked up to prevent burglars using them to access the upper floors of your property.
  6. Install external security lighting, intruders like to keep to the dark corners so illuminate them!
  7. Never leave a spare key behind the flowerpot, under the doormat etc, you will be noticed and they are easy to find.
  8. Fit a door chain or door viewer and use them.
  9. When you are out, leave some lights on, close some curtains and leave others partly closed, keep it looking random. Use lights or a radio operated on a timer to increase the illusion of the home being occupied.

Outside your home

Fences & gates

Most houses are broken into at the back of the property so it makes sense to secure access to the side and rear of your home. If you have open access consider fitting a sturdy lockable gate &/or fence to the side of at least 1.8m in height. Ideally a gate should be fitted with a padlock or integral lock. Ensure there is nothing that can be used to help the potential intruder climb over the gate such as a ladder, water butt, garden trailer etc.

Outside lighting

Outside lights are an effective way of discouraging unwanted guests to your home. Apart from the fact they are also very useful for you as the homeowner when it is dark! There are two main types, either movement activated lighting is triggered when it detects a motion, alternatively you could select dusk to dawn lighting for continuous lighting throughout the dark hours.

Intruder alarms

Intruder alarm systems are a very effective way of deterring intruders from your home. All you really need to do is to make your own property look more difficult to break into that another property. If your budget wont stretch to a full blown alarm system then go to a local alarm company and buy a couple of dummy boxes and put them up instead. Make sure you ask the alarm company where to fix them to your home though. Badly placed dummy bell boxes will be very obvious to any self-respecting intruder so make sure they are well placed and well fitted to make them as ‘believable’ as possible.

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