Crime and home insurance

Find out more about how crime in your local area affects your home insurance and how you can protect your house and belongings from burglary and theft.

secHouseholds in 2014 were three times less likely to be victim of burglary than those in 1995, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.†    

In 1995, nine in 100 households fell foul to burglary, while in 2014 three in 100 were victims.

However, households still need to guard against crime by taking proper security measures and getting the right home insurance

Crime and home insurance costs

Key points

  • The level of crime in your local area will affect the price you pay for your home insurance
  • Whether you live in a high-crime area or not, there are plenty of security measures you can take to make you and your home safer
  • Neighbourhood Watch schemes and beefed-up security measures may mean you get cheaper home insurance premiums as well

If there’s a high level of recorded burglary in your postcode the cost of your contents insurance premium may be higher than other areas where crime is lower.

This is because your home is seen as more vulnerable to theft and therefore you’re more likely to be burgled.

What’s more, if you’re unfortunate enough to be burgled, making a claim on home insurance could push up the prices of cover in the future.

You’ll also probably have to pay the policy excess before recovering the cost of stolen items.

Note that, although the England and Wales Crime Survey includes an array of data on the levels of various types of crime in different areas of the UK, insurers are likely to use their own claims statistics when deciding the cost of a home insurance premium.

Prevention, not cure

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to reduce your chance of becoming a crime victim statistic.

Protect your home against the threat of crime with the right security measures and let your insurer know what locks secure your property and whether you have a burglar alarm.

Do bear in mind that an alarm may not reduce the cost of your home insurance premium enough to offset the cost of installing it.

Also, if you declare an alarm, make sure it’s in use – if you’re burgled and your alarm wasn’t being used, your insurer may declare your cover invalid6a00d8345269c569e2012876f7562c970c-800wi.

If you have an alarm but only use it irregularly, you’re better off not declaring it on your policy.

For even more peace of mind, consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, or look into setting one up if there isn’t one in your community already.

Where you live will be a factor in how an insurance company calculates your premium, as well as your rebuild and contents value, among other things, you can help by making sure your property is as secure as possible.

Robust locks on windows and doors, an active burglar alarm and installing a safe will all help bring down your premium, as well as offering you and your family peace of mind.

You can go one step further by setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group – they can be a good deterrent and give a sense of community, especially for the elderly.

There are several types of door locks acceptable to insurance companies which conform to the required BS3621.  This is a British Standard applicable to the manufacture of locks. In most cases a customer will be able to tell if their lock conforms to BS3621 as the locking plate (viewed when the door is open) will have engraved BS3621 just above or below the actual bolt.

Mortice deadlocks:

These are set into a hole cut into the leading edge of the door. The following are suitable for wooden doors, including the final exit door.

  • Chubb 3G114*
  • 3G220* 3R35
  • Ingersoll M50*
  • M51* SC74*
  • Yale M3000*

 

Rim deadlocks:

These are mounted on the inside face of the door. The following are suitable for wooden doors

  • Chubb 4L67
  • Ingersoll NS80*
  • SC71 Yale Titan No. 1

The main way to determine a 3 or 5 level lock is the amount of dips or troughs in the way the key has been cut, 5 dips or troughs denotes a 3 lever lock, 7 dips or troughs denotes a 5 lever lock. The shape of the key fits inside the locking mechanism.

Mortice security bolts:

These are set into a hole cut into the leading edge of the door.

  • Chubb 8002
  • Ingersoll DSB1
  • Yale PM444

Surface mounted security bolts:

These types of locks are suitable for wooden doors and steel framed french doors.

  • Ingersoll ALB1
  • Rola ‘Renown’ bolt

Patio door locks:

Some consideration needs to be taken because of the difficulty in providing a fixing lock and that some patio doors can be lifted from their tracks. It can be possible to fit deadlocks in the leading edge of the door (some new houses have this) but a common method is to fit an extra lock designed for patio doors.

  • Ingress PDL1
  • Chubb 8K107
  • Yale P114 NB.

All locks noted with an *asterisks are certified to British Standard 3621.

 

Identify your home’s weaknesses

Keep the risk of burglary down by identifying your home’s security weaknesses and addressing them.

For instance, if you have accessible ground-floor windows, make sure they’re locked securely.
Also, make sure you don’t leave valuables visible through windows – the more tempting a house looks, the more likely it is to be targeted.

imgID26022024Gardens can be particularly vulnerable to crime, so make sure your shed or garage is properly covered under home insurance.

If you own bicycles, make sure they’re locked securely and kept out of sight and protected under your home insurance, or with a dedicated bicycle insurance policy.

Once you’ve secured your house to the best of your ability and your insurance is in place, reducing to the likelihood of needing to make a claim is also advisable because increased claims can help drive up your renewal price in the future.

Make sure you close downstairs windows if you’re going out, keep desirable possessions out of sight from would-be thieves and remove ladders from sides of houses – burglars could use these to access top-floor windows.

 

Window Locks

Consideration should be given to installing locks to all accessible windows, including skylights and fanlights, which can be reached from f
lat roofs, using either key, operated locks or security bolts where the keys can be removed.

Sash Windows:

  • Chubb 8K108 WS1
  • Era 804, 822
  • Ingersoll SW66
  • Union 7126, 7127
  • Yale P114

Casement – Wood:

  • Chubb 8K101
  • 102 Era 802, 809
  • Ingersoll SL60
  • CW69 Union 7124
  • 7125 Yale P112, 113

Casement – Metal:

  • Chubb 8K100
  • 8012 Era 856, 901 I
  • ngersoll SL60
  • Yale P115

Fanlights:

  • Era 825, 827
  • Ingersoll FM68
  • Yale P111

Louvre Windows: 

  • slats should be glued with epoxy resin and a special louvre lock fitted.

Police crime maps can highlight recent recorded crime in your area. They may focus the mind on how best to protect your valuables and loved ones.

Also, if you are thinking of moving to a new area, it might be worth visiting at different times of day to see what the neighbourhood is actually like, rather than just going by what the estate agents say

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