Find out how you can improve your home security and how it affects the price of your home insurance.
Keeping your home protected against opportunistic thieves is important for both your peace of mind and to keep your possessions safe.
It's better to be safe than sorry, and that's where home security comes in.
If you're the victim of burglary and your home isn't properly secured, you may find that your home insurance provider could question your claim and refuse to reimburse you for any loss.
But if you do have the right security measures, or fit additional security, you could find the cost of your home insurance premium falls.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were:
Protecting your home against theft and damage should be at the forefront of your mind and keeping your house safe can also lower the cost of your home insurance.
When you get quotes for home insurance, you’ll be asked whether your locks meet British Standards (BS).
Look for the British Standards Kite Mark and the British Standards number on your locks. BS3621 is the one most used for domestic locks, and it’s the type usually preferred by insurers.
Older locks might not have an easily noticeable mark, and some might even need removing from your door to find it.
Top tip: Make sure you keep your keys and valuables out of sight, out of reach, and away from dog or cat flaps
Some insurers might require all downstairs or accessible windows to have locks.
If you have windows with key-operated locks, keep them locked, and make sure even the smallest of windows are kept shut and locked overnight.
If you’re thinking about replacing your windows, get a security accredited product tested to British Standards.
A professionally accredited and properly installed burglar alarm can work both as a deterrent if it’s visible, and as a warning if your home’s broken into.
If you’ve told your insurer you have an alarm, make sure it’s armed overnight, and when you’re not at home.
If you have a monitored alarm system, a private security company will monitor your property 24/7.
The company will call you (or one of your nominated keyholders) if the alarm goes off.
Smart burglar alarms will message you if they detect an intruder. They can also be programmed to turn on the lights, TV or radio to deter potential thieves.
Most alarms come with a National Security Inspectorate (NSI) hallmark to show that they meet certain standards.
You can fit burglar alarms yourself, if you can provide proof of the alarm’s NSI certification.
Having CCTV cameras installed at your home can act as a deterrent for would-be burglars, thereby reducing your potential risk of break-ins and theft.
Insurers will often reward a reduced risk of a crime with a lower insurance premium as it's less likely you'll need to claim.
CCTV doesn’t have to be costly either - you can get good security cameras for under £100.
When installing CCTV, point the cameras away from public spaces and your neighbours’ properties as much as possible.
Secure garages, sheds, outbuildings and garden storage units with sturdy locks and keep the keys in the house, out of sight.
Cover for items kept in the garden is usually included in your home insurance, but make sure it covers everything you need it to.
Whether manual or automatic, outdoor lights can put burglars off by making them and the area more visible.
The security measures in your home aren't the only thing that dictate the price of your home insurance.
High crime rates in your area and the type of building you live in will affect your insurance premiums.
Insurers will have requirements you need to meet to make sure your cover's valid. An example might be getting a burglar alarm installed if you live in an area with a high crime rate.
If you’re going on holiday, your home could be an easy target for thieves.
If you have valuables on display or if your home looks like an easy target, you’re at risk whatever age you are
Unless you store your valuables in a safe, they’re never completely secure
An unprotected social media account filled with holiday photos advertises that you’re not around and your home is empty. It could even invalidate your home insurance if you’re burgled while you’re away
There’s a home security system to suit every budget. You can get doorbells that recognise faces or inexpensive CCTV cameras. They’re designed to deter and catch crime, whatever you spend.
There’s always more you can do. Have you got ‘Beware of the dog’ and ‘CCTV in operation’ stickers on your windows?
Prevention is better than cure, so as well as having a good security system and hiding valuables and keys, here are a few other things you can do to make your home less attractive to burglars:
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