Friday 28 October 2016

Protecting yourself against burglaries


If you are insured with a home insurance company then you study this material carefully on how to protect yourself in a better way. What are your rights in the event of the burglaries?

November saw more household burglaries than any other month last year, as opportunistic thieves took full advantage of the darker evenings, according to the Yorkshire Building Society.

A break-in can be both frightening and expensive, with the average burglary costing £2,833, official figures show, made up of £566 in damage and £2,267 of stolen items.

Jewellery is most likely to be stolen, followed by wallets and purses, computer equipment, electrical goods, watches and mobile phones.

Forced doors and broken locks and windows are the most common damage.

Households need to secure their home and also make sure they comply with their home insurance policy, otherwise they risk the added heartbreak of seeing a claim rejected.

Russ Hargreaves, general insurance manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said homeowners should be extra cautious from October to April.

"Falling victim to a burglary is a traumatic experience, but there is plenty that you can do to limit the probability of it happening to you," he said.

Always lock your doors and windows when going out, even if just for a short time.

"If you leave them open and your home is burgled, your insurer may refuse to pay out," Hargreaves said.

Consider installing a British Standards approved burglar alarm and again, make sure it is always switched on when nobody is in.

Hargreaves said you should also think of fitting window locks, as one in three burglars breaks in through a window.

Many insurance policies specify you must have key-operated locks on downstairs and basement windows and a five-lever mortice deadlock conforming to BS3621 on all exit doors.

If you fail to comply, your claim may be rejected, so check what your policy states.

Hargreaves said you should also avoid leaving your home and car keys on shelves or on tables near the front door, as burglars may be able to reach them through the letterbox or dash inside and grab them in a matter of moments.

Also, lock up your shed, too, as burglars may try to use your garden tools to help them break into your house.

Most home contents insurance policies set limits on "single items" of as low as £1,500 with anything of greater value uninsured, which can make for a costly shock.

Hargreaves added: "Register any high-value items with your insurer otherwise it may not pay out if they are stolen."

Rob Clarkson, managing director at Post Office Money Insurance, suggested deterring break-ins by fitting an external light on the front and rear of your home: "If going away, fit timers to some indoor lights to give the impression that the property is occupied."

He also warned against hiding keys outside: "Burglars know to check hiding places such as flowerpots or door frames.

It is safer to leave spare keys with friends and family."

Finally, check you still have sufficient insurance to cover all your contents, especially if you have recently made some expensive new purchases.

David Rochester, head of underwriting at Halifax Home Insurance, said: "Burglars still look for easy pickings, so with a little effort you can keep your home that much safer."



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