Despite the fact that one in 10 of us have had our homes broken into, unbelievably, a third of people admit to leaving their front door unlocked when they leave the house. What’s more, a further six percent say that they hide their spare key by the front door, giving the world easy access to their home.
By being haphazard with the security of your home, you’re not only massively increasing the risk of getting broken into, you could also be invalidating your home insurance. If you want to make sure that the contents of your house is covered, here are six things to avoid if you don’t want to inadvertently invalidate your home insurance.
Leaving windows opened or unlocked
If there is no evidence of forced entry into your home, your insurer has every right to refuse to pay your claim. They cannot be held accountable for you allowing someone to just walk into your home so make sure you go back to basics and check that all windows and doors are closed and locked when you leave the house.
If you do have a habit of forgetting to do this, shutters can provide some extra security. Please note however that shutters cannot prevent your house getting broken into and even though they make it harder to detect an open window, your insurer can still refuse to pay out.
Inaccurately described locks
When you’re filling out your home insurance application form, make sure that you describe your locks accurately. Failing to do so can invalidate your policy and so can forgetting to let your insurer know when and if you have changed the locks.
Allowing access with a spare key
Locking yourself out the house is a painful experience and it can be costly as well if you need to call out a locksmith. It’s therefore unsurprising that so many of us leave a spare key in the front or back garden. If a burglar can gain unforced entry into your home such as by using a spare key however, your policy may be void. If you’re worried about locking yourself out of your house, you’re much better off leaving a spare key with a neighbour, at work or with a friend or family member.
Not activating the burglar alarm
If you have told your insurer that you have a burglar alarm but you don’t activate it when you leave the house and you get broken into, they are within their rights to refuse to pay out.
Not reporting the theft to the police
It is standard practice amongst the vast majority of insurers that they won’t honour your claim if you haven’t reported the theft to the police. All burglaries must be reported within 24 hours and make sure you obtain a claim number because this is what you need in order to make your claim. Visit the Safewise website for more information on what to do if you have been burgled: https://www.safewise.com/home-security-faq/house-break-in/
Leaving the house unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days
Any claim which is made during a period when the house has been left unoccupied for 30 or more consecutive days may be voided. Whether you’re off travelling, are away on business or have an empty rental property, arrange for you or someone else to stay for at least one in every 30 days to keep your insurance valid. The Money Super Market website has some information on insuring your home if it will be unoccupied for long periods: https://www.moneysupermarket.com/home-insurance/unoccupied/