If you have, you’ll know the feelings of vulnerability and insecurity that you’re left with after the event. It can take a long time to recover from the mess and devastation that intruders sometimes leave.
You may be left out of pocket, if you don’t have “new for old” insurance cover to replace your possessions. You may also lose items of sentimental value that just can’t be replaced.
And worryingly, many homeowners are shocked to find that their insurers reject their claim after a burglary because they haven’t met certain standards of security.
How can this happen?
Well unfortunately, the sad truth is that the risk of theft is higher in certain parts of the country. London Boroughs such as Sidcup, Croydon, Bexley and Southwark and the northern parts of Kent, including Dartford and Swanley, are no exception. In such areas, insurers may insist on certain minimum levels of security before they agree to cover a property.
They may ask you, for example, to install one of the following on your external doors:
• a mortice deadlock with five levers or more
• a lock that can be locked by a key from both the inside and the outside
• a surface mounted rim deadlock
• a key-operated multi-point locking system which will secure the door at the top and the bottom as well as the centre
• an anti-lift device (if you have a patio door).
They could also insist that you fit a padlock to your shed, and window locks to all your opening windows.
Your insurance company will be able to tell you which of these features you need to have in order to be fully covered.
It may be stating the obvious, but it’s no use having these features if you don’t use them! So make sure that you lock your doors and windows when you’re out or in bed, to minimise the risk of theft. If you don’t use them and you’re then burgled, the insurers may argue that you’ve invalidated your claim.
Even if the insurers don’t impose minimum standards on your home insurance policy, it still makes sense to install these safeguards as they will all make your house less attractive to burglars.
On the plus side, having these extra security features makes you a safer bet for the insurers, and you will be able to negotiate a cheaper quote when it’s time to renew. Yes, there will be the initial outlay to consider, but in the long run you will benefit with increased security, a safer home and cheaper insurance.
By the way: don’t just renew automatically with your current insurer. Remember to shop around for your insurance, once you have made your house as secure as possible. It’s almost always cheaper to re-insure with a different provider each year, as they all know that most of us are too lazy to think about switching.
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