As darker nights and seasonal distractions give opportunities to would-be burglars, Gocompare.com offers advice to homeowners on deterring intruders
- Gocompare.com research found that on average, burglaries increase by 8% during the month of November*
- Most (90%) home contents policies automatically increase the level of cover for special events, such as Christmas**
- Gocompare.com has created an infographic showing how not to advertise your home to burglars
Bonfire night is a great excuse to get out of the house for some family fun, but darker evenings and empty homes present an opportunity for burglars to take advantage of homeowners who let their guard down.
With the number of reported burglaries increasing by an average of 8% in November, Ben Wilson, Home Insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, offers tips on how to keep your home safe and, should the worst happen, help ensure as successful home insurance claim.
1. Keep it out of sight
Burglars tend to be opportunists so ensuring thatexpensive gadgets like laptops, tablets and smartphones are out of plain sight and away from windows will make them think twice before entering your home.
Gadgets and other valuables aren’t the only things that thieves could be interested in, so keep any sensitive documents locked in a drawer or consider investing in a shredder as thieves could use this information to steal your identity.
2. Lock up your tools
As well as being valuable, tools and ladders can be used to force entry into your home, the sound of which can be easily missed when accompanied by the sound of fireworks. Any unsecured tools or ladders that are used to gain entry to your home may also invalidate your insurance. Ensure your shed or garage is securely locked to avoid giving burglars an easy way in.
3. Never leave a spare key
Stashing a spare key under the doormat may seem like a good idea, but thieves know exactly where to look. Spending a few moments snooping for a spare key is preferable to forcing their way into your home as this may draw attention.
4. Leave a light on
If you're out for the evening, consider drawing the curtains and leaving a light on. Giving the illusion that someone’s home will go a long way to deterring a burglar. If you’re away for an extended period, consider using light timers and ask a family member or friend to pop in to open your curtains and collect your post now and again.
5. Don’t share holiday plans on social media
Posting about your holiday on social media could be seen by an insurer as having advertised the fact that your home will be unoccupied for an extended period of time and this may result in your claim being rejected.
For more tips see Gocompare.com’s infographic check list on how not to advertise your home to burglars.
Ben Wilson, Home Insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: “Darker evenings and empty homes present more opportunities for burglars looking for easy targets.
“While you can’t fully protect your home from the risk of burglary, knowing that your belongings are fully covered by your home insurance policy can at least provide you with peace of mind should the worst happen.”
Gocompare.com’s top tips to ensure a successful home insurance claim:
1. Know your cover levels
Knowing your policy’s cover levels and exclusions could play a major role in whether your claim is accepted or rejected.
It’s easy to underestimate the value of your home and its contents, and as such, you could find that you are underinsured should you need to make a claim
Gocompare.com’s Home Contents Value Calculator can help you find the right level of cover for your belongings.
2. Take ‘reasonable care’
Insurers expect policyholders to take ‘reasonable care’ of their home and belongings. For example, a burglary as a result of an unlocked door or open window will more than likely result in your claim being rejected as you would be deemed to have not taken reasonable care in ensuring your property is secure.
Similarly, if you’ve told your insurer that you house is fitted with an alarm – and the alarm wasn’t in use when the burglary took place - your insurer may declare your cover invalid.
3. Act quickly and follow procedure
If your home has been burgled the first thing you should do is call the police. The police will investigate the incident and give you a crime reference number which you will need to pass on to your insurer.
Should your home need repairs, some insurers insist on using approved repairers while others may require you to get quotes from a number of tradespeople.
Checking your home buildings and contents insurance policy and familiarising yourself with your provider’s procedures will help to make the claims process as smooth as possible.
4. Honesty is the best policy
Should you need to claim on you buildings or contents insurance it’s important that you don’t exaggerate the value of the claim. If your insurer finds that you have been dishonest they are entitled to decline your entire claim.
For more information, read Gocompare.com’s dedicated guide to making a home insurance claim.
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Notes to Editors:
*An analysis of the number of reported burglaries between 2012 and 2015 https://www.abi.org.uk/News/News-releases/2016/01/There-when-it-matters-ABI-publishes-insurance-claims-success-rates-for-the-first-time
**Source: Defaqto Matrix of 445 home contents policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto (27th October 2016). Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number