Find out why it’s important to stay on top of your home’s security and how it can affect the cost of your home insurance.
A home security system can protect your home and provide assurance that your family and possessions will be kept safe.
If you don’t secure your home properly, you’ll not only risk burglary, you could also risk invalidating your home insurance.
However, having the right measures in place can make all the difference.
A home security system won’t only protect your home from theft and damage, it could also help to reduce your home insurance premiums.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 275,081 burglaries in England and Wales in the year ending June 2022.
Nobody wants to discover their home wasn’t as safe and secure as they thought. But the truth is that older forms of home security are generally much easier for intruders to bypass than newer alternatives.
Reviewing your home’s security measures can help to avoid security blind spots, particularly if you’ve changed the layout.
And if you upgrade, you can benefit from solutions that are more secure, better connected, and more flexible - providing you with round-the-clock peace of mind.
At the top of the market are professionally fitted alarms and security systems with monthly maintenance and monitoring fees. A high-spec option could set you back quite a bit.
But there are also plenty of cheaper self-install security options you can try.
These can range from window locks and security lights to DIY alarm systems and even dummy alarm boxes.
The most important thing is to make your home look occupied and harder for burglars to break in.
Just as technology has advanced over the years, so have the ways criminals access and enter homes.
This means the older your security system is, the more likely a burglar will find a way in.
Regularly testing your security measures and alarm system will help you to find and fix any weak spots.
Check all the access points to your home. Test security lights and any door, window, and motion sensors.
Go through the individual features of your security system to make sure it’s working properly.
And if your system is more than ten years old, consider upgrading it - particularly if it relies on wired connectivity rather than digital.
There are several different ways to make your home more secure, from using simple locks to installing smart tech devices:
Make sure your doors are in good condition and properly fitted. They should be securely hung with 10cm hinges.
Ideally, doors should be fitted with a five-lever mortice deadlock.
And when you’re getting quotes, insurers will ask if your locks meet British Standards.
Certain locks can reduce your home insurance premium. The British Standards number BS3621 is the type insurers normally prefer.
If you’re changing or upgrading your locks, always use a recommended professional locksmith.
Thieves are opportunists and will often try windows as an easy entry point, which is why many insurers require downstairs windows to have key operated locks.
If you’ve got window locks, make sure windows are secure when you’re not in the room and always locked when you leave the house.
Avoid leaving windows open at night in warmer weather and consider fitting a sashlock or window restrictor to prevent intruders climbing through.
Consider placing outdoor lights near any obvious entry points. Motion sensor lights can alert you that someone’s near and flooding the area with light can quickly put a burglar off.
Similarly, CCTV cameras can act as an effective deterrent to potential burglars. They can also capture useful evidence for police and insurers.
You can buy wired or wireless CCTV cameras but if they’re on the outside of your home, you’ll need to comply with privacy laws.
Burglar alarms are generally either wired or wireless and are usually triggered by motion sensors.
Some systems just use an alarm sounder to alert you when there’s a break-in.
But another option is to use a monitored alarm, where you pay a monthly fee to your alarm company who will contact you or the police if your alarm is set off.
The type of alarm you choose may get you a discount off your home insurance premium.
Using a safe can be a good way to keep your valuables at home secure. And your insurer may require you to use one if you’ve got particularly high value items.
Another type of safe is a key lockbox. These are small safes installed somewhere outside your home to store your keys when you’re not around.
You’ll just need to check that using a key safe won’t invalidate your home insurance.
With smart technology, you can control your home’s security at any time via a smartphone app.
For example, with a smart doorbell, you can monitor who’s at your front door even when you’re out. Or you could turn on smart lights remotely to make your home look occupied.
Alternatively, you could use a smart security system to monitor and control the security features of your entire home, wherever you happen to be.
It’s also important to make sure your garden isn’t easily accessible to intruders. Gates should be securely locked and fences kept in good condition.
Make sure sheds, garages and outbuildings are secured with sturdy locks.
Items in your garden are usually covered under your home insurance, but there’s often a cover limit so it’s best to check this against the value of your items.
Making your home more secure can help to reduce your premiums but it isn’t the only factor that insurers take into account.
The crime rate in your area and the type of building you live in will also affect how much you pay.
Depending on the insurer, you may be required to install certain security measures, like a working burglar alarm, for your cover to be valid.
There are several things you can do when you’re going away to make your home more secure and appear occupied:
Prevention is better than cure, so don’t make your home an easy target for burglars:
Remove temptation by putting valuables away or closing curtains
Don’t leave house or car keys where they can be easily found or reached
Never leave without checking they’re all locked
A letterbox cage can collect your mail and stop thieves hooking out your keys
A noisy gravel path can help to discourage potential thieves
A burglar will use whatever’s at hand to help them gain entry