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Protecting your locks: The key to home insurance

Jane

As a homeowner, keeping your house safe will be your top priority but understandably, you’ll be looking to save money where you can too. The good news is that installing high-quality door and window locks will not only prevent break-ins and burglary but can also help secure a discount on your home insurance premiums. It’s a win-win!

Here we’ll explain the importance of protecting your locks and how doing so will help you save money on your home insurance and make a successful claim, should you need to in the future.

Protecting your locks: Top tips

Install the right door and window locks

When you take out home insurance, you will be required to state the type of exterior door locks and window locks you have installed. This will allow the policy provider to decide whether you have done enough to properly secure your home from burglary.

The more secure your home is, the more likely you are to get a good price for your home insurance policy.

Main door locks

A five lever mortice deadlock is the most common type of deadlock and will offer moderate protection for your outside doors. It can be locked and unlocked from either side. Sometimes it may be used with a night latch for extra door lock protection.

Home insurance companies recommend fitting a five lever mortice deadlock on your main house door (if made of wood / timber), so by doing so, you should receive a fair price for your policy.

Make sure the five lever mortice deadlock you purchase features the British Standard Kitemark and conforms to BS3621. Only five lever mortice locks will conform to this British Standard. A 3 lever mortice lock cannot be Kitemarked to BS3621.

Other high-quality locks include multi-point locking systems, such as SS312 Diamond approved cylinders. These are commonly used on UPVC and composite doors. As the name suggests, multi-point locking systems have several locking points that all lock at the same time when you turn the key.

As we mentioned above, night latches can offer an extra layer of protection. You may also want to invest in a lock protector to strengthen existing locks from forced entry.

Sliding / patio door locks

If you have sliding or patio doors, you’ll need locks for these too. In addition to UPVC door handles, which usually have a keyed lock, it may be worth installing a central rail locking system. You can also buy anti-lift devices and have them fitted to sliding doors to prevent thieves from being able to easily lift the doors off their runners.

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Window locks

In terms of window locks, the type you require will depend on the type of windows you have installed. UPVC windows usually have keyed locks. You can also buy sash window locks, sliding window locks and casement window locks. Some windows can also be fitted with stoppers to prevent forced entry.

Make sure your locks conform to BS3621

BS3621 is a lock standard by the British Standards Institute for quality, thief-resistant door locks. A lot of insurance companies require door locks that conform to BS3621 and some may even offer access to bigger savings on a home and lock insurance policy.

The easiest way to identify a BS3621 lock is to look for the British Standard Kitemark stamped on the faceplate of the lock. It may also be stamped with ‘BS3621.’

By installing a BS3621 lock you can have the peace of mind that the lock has been tested against burglary techniques. It will also make it easier for you to buy home insurance at an affordable price.

Fix faulty door locks

It’s important to maintain your locks to:

  1. Keep your home secure and deter criminals from breaking in
  2. Meet the requirements of your home insurance policy

A faulty lock could be a result of age or general wear and tear. It could also be due to vandalism or someone attempting to break into your property.

Either way, door lock repair is essential. Always use a trusted and reputable locksmith to carry out lock repair on your home. In some cases, door lock replacement may be a better option.

Be careful who you give your keys to

Did you know you may not be covered by your home insurance if the intruder uses a key to enter your home and commit burglary? A lot of policies state that there must be signs of forced entry, so it’s worth checking the small print and being careful who you give your keys to.

If you lose a key that could be traced back to your property, get the locks changed. A lock change is inconvenient and will cost you money but maybe essential to protecting your home.

If you’ve given a key to an ex-partner or neighbour, it’s probably a good idea to try and get it back. Although they may be trustworthy, you can’t be 100% sure your key won’t end up in the wrong hands. If you’ve lost track of who has your keys or can’t get them back, a lock change may be your only option.

We’d also advise speaking to your children about home safety, particularly if they have a key to the family home. Make sure they understand that if they lose their key, they need to tell you right away, so you can consider door lock replacement. Explain that if they accidentally leave the door unlocked, it could invalidate your home insurance, should you need to make a claim. It’s crucial they understand the importance of protecting your door and window locks, as well as practising good home security.

Don’t hide keys

Hiding a key in a plant pot, under the doormat or somewhere else in your garden is a risky business. These are the first places an intruder will look to gain entry to your home. Even if you hide your key in an obscure place, can you be certain an intruder hasn’t watched you put it there or watched someone else retrieve it?

If an intruder retrieves your key and uses it to gain entry to your home, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to claim on your home insurance, as your provider will say you haven’t adequately secured your property.

Protect your door and window locks (and home insurance policy). Stop hiding your keys!

Check your home insurance policy

We hope you’ve found our door and window locks protection tips useful. Remember, always check your home insurance policy to ensure you’re holding up your end of the bargain, in terms of home security, and will be fully covered, should you need to make a claim.

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