Homeowners across the UK are paying unnecessarily high insurance premiums by failing to include some basic security measures, evidence suggests.
Most insurance companies ask for details about the type of locking systems featured on all external doors of the house before supplying a quote. Some providers offer discounts on home insurance policies for customers who have approved, British Standards-compliant locks installed, while others insist on a five-lever mortice lock on the exit doors in order to qualify for cover.
It has been reported that most insurers offer a discount of up to 5% for having British Standards-compliant locks installed — but typically require them on ‘all exit doors and key-operated locks on all ground floor and accessible windows’ or similar.
A survey conducted by Neighbourhood Watch revealed just four in 10 people lock their doors when they leave the house. However, over a third of burglars successfully gain access through the front door. Failing to ensure your home is secured with locks that meet British Standards — and falsely stating that they do — can invalidate your home insurance policy, meaning your insurer will not pay out in the event of a break-in.
Joe Halsall, Digital Marketing Manager at Origin Global, said: “Many people are taking the opportunity to modernise while gaining peace of mind in terms of both valid home insurance and security.
“We’ve had a number of customers finding their front door had an outdated locking system that didn’t meet their insurance requirements. The ability to update their door to something more modern, and put off potential intruders in the process often seals the decision.”
But finding out whether door locks comply with British Standards — and therefore securing the discounted premium offered by insurers — can prove difficult for homeowners, especially those who have moved into an older property and cannot be sure without removing the locks from the doors.
In response, some insurance companies are removing this requirement. A spokesperson for Aviva said: “We’re currently making the process of taking out insurance easier by reducing the amount of questions asked. One of the things we’ve focused on is consumers being asked what locks they have, which we don’t believe is necessary.”
However, it isn’t just inadequate locks that leave your home’s security at risk; glass panels on doors are particularly vulnerable, according to the police, and should either be replaced with laminated glass or covered with a film which can be bought in DIY stores that makes it harder to break.
Depending on the financial outlay required to replace both the locks and glass panels on a front door, it may be more cost-effective to consider a new door entirely.
This would also give homeowners the chance to update the aesthetic of their property, improve its ‘kerb appeal’ and possibly even increase its value.
Amongst advice from the police to homeowners is locking your doors and windows every time you leave the house and installing a visual burglar alarm and good outside lighting.
Joe added: “Knowing all of your home’s locking systems are fully secure and British Standards-compliant also goes a long way, giving peace of mind both to the property owner and their insurer.”