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The key to successful insurance claims for theft: A good lock

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If pressed, could you provide specifications for the locks in your home? You may think this is of little consequence, but if you get burgled and wanted to file an insurance claim you, would be asked to prove that your locks meet the requirements set out in your policy. But unless you live in a new-build and the developers have given you papers for your locks, or you have recently had your locks redone, it is very unlikely that you will have the necessary information at hand.

Whilst there is little we can do to curb the emotional repercussions of a break-in, most of us take precautionary measures to soften the financial blow of having our most valuable items stolen: we take out insurance. So vast is this industry that many businesses devote themselves entirely to helping consumers negotiate the offerings of various insurance providers and finding the right one. As a result, we spend a lot of time shopping around for the right policy, ensuring we get the most band for our buck.

Yet many of us overlook the fine print when it comes to security. Most policies require members to have a five-lever mortice lock conforming to British safety standard BS3621 on all exit doors as well as key-operated locks on all ground-floor and accessible windows, though wording may vary from one policy to the next. Failing to prove you had locks of this kind on your doors and windows at the time you were burgled may result in your claim not being processed. On the other hand, having a decent security system in your home may actually save you on monthly premiums and could help you avoid the red tape should you have to make a claim in the future.

If your doors are still locking up just fine, you may think upgrading your security is an unnecessary expense. But given the limitations set out by most insurance companies you really only have two options. If you are uncertain about the locks in your home and are not going to upgrade them, you could specify this when you first sign up to a policy. But this will most likely result in you paying higher monthly fees. The alternative may not actually be as tedious as you think, or as expensive. By calling a reliable locksmith you can get an expert assessment of the state of your locks. They will also consult you on the costs of making any improvements to the safety of your home.

A qualified locksmith should also be able to advise you on how you could make overall improvements to the security of your home, including securing your windows and installing security gates where needed. A reliable tradesman will also do the job with minimum damage to existing doors, frames and windows, leaving virtually no trace of the upgrades. When it comes to the locks in your home and your insurance policy, the old adage rings true: “better safe than sorry”.

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