And this isn’t only for the usual reasons of preventing the trauma of having your home broken into. It’s also important if your insurance company is going to pay out for any claim you might have to make.
Insurers expect policy holders to maintain a certain standard of home security, such as making sure all external-facing doors and windows are locked if you leave the house. If you haven’t secured your home properly, and it’s broken into, your insurer may decide that you’ve been negligent and are in breach of your home cover terms and conditions.
Here are some of the best ways you can secure your property and help keep it as burglar-proof as possible:
– Lock up your home tight – Most burglaries are opportunistic; they look for open or unlocked windows and climb through. If any locks are loose or faulty, get them fixed. Complete a last minute walk through of your home, checking all doors and windows are locked before going away. Preferably, have locks fitted which meet the British Standard BS3621.
– Alarms – A good alarm is truly a great burglar-deterrent. Make sure yours is approved by the NACOSS or SSAIB. Get into the habit of setting it when you go out. This might be a requirement for your home insurance policy if you’ve indicated that you have an alarm. Service it annually and test it every few months.
– Keep it safe – Consider placing valuables in a safe. It might not prevent your home from being broken into, but they can certainly prevent you losing valuable possessions if it is.
– House and car keys – Many people are in the habit of leaving house and car keys on tables or hanging up within easy reach of the doors and vehicles they’re used for. Burglars know this and many homes are broken into by thieves either smashing windows to reach keys, or using long gripping tools and hooks to go through letter boxes to fish them out. Place all keys out of sight and reach of doors and windows.
– Garden access and sheds – Check all gates and doors into sheds are closed and/or locked when you go out. Burglars often use garden tools to break into houses. Side access should preferably be protected with anti-climb devices such as spikes, or even trellis, which burglars hate as it breaks easily.
– Be friendly with the neighbours – Ask neighbours if they mind putting out your bins for collection (even if they’re empty) on the right day, perhaps parking their car in your drive and generally keeping a look out. Join your neighbourhood watch scheme if there is one and put a sticker somewhere externally to show you’re part of it.
– Make your home looking lived in – Most burglaries happen when people are away. But there are a number of things you can do to make your home look like you’re still there; get electronic timers which turn lights on and off, have your curtains closed and opened by friends or family, avoid the build-up of papers, mail and milk, have the grass mown.
– Security lighting – Lights which come on when they sense movement are great burglar deterrents. If there’s one thing a burglar hates, it’s suddenly becoming extremely visible.
– Anti-vandal paint – If you use anti-vandal paint on garden walls and fencing it stays wet and sticky, and burglars know it will mark their clothing and skin.
– Hide things away – Living rooms and other places which can be peered at through gaps in shutters and curtains are like shop windows to burglars. If you place valuable computers, stereo and other electronic equipment, as well as antiques, silverware, jewellery and other desirable objects out of sight, you’ll be half way to putting off thieves. They may logically conclude that breaking into a home they can’t see has anything of value in simply isn’t worth the risk.
Good home security can lower your insurance premiums
An added bonus of having the best locks and alarms fitted, as well as joining neighbourhood watch schemes and being generally extremely security conscious, is that an insurer may decide you’re a lower risk and you’ll pay lower home insurance premiums as a result.
Policy Expert is an online Home Insurance broker, dedicated to helping customers find the insurance policy that’s right for them. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. Policy Expert is driven by a desire to help you find not only the best value insurance, but the right insurance for your individual needs. To speak to one of our experts, call 0203 014 9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
James is a journalist and digital editor with over 13 years’ experience writing and editing for media and finance businesses. He specialises in personal finance and economics, but also covers property, travel and news.