What can I do to protect my property from thieves?
Homeowners have been told to take action to protect against burglary as new data reveals UK homes are broken into every 164 seconds.
Home insurance comparison experts at Quotezone.co.uk are urging homeowners to take five steps to protect their homes as the latest figures show almost 200,000 houses were burgled last year.
The data, which covers England and Wales, shows that 70% of domestic break-ins were through the door of the property and 30% were through a window.
The majority of burglaries are committed by opportunistic thieves – so installing even simple security measures inside and outside the home could help to significantly deter intruders.
Simple additions to home security, such as padlocks and double locking doors, as well as installing motion sensor lights and burglar alarm systems are great ways to prevent break-ins.
Home and contents insurance can also vary depending on the area, and could cost more in locations that experience a high volume of crime.
Therefore, it’s important to secure the house as best as possible from break-ins especially for those who live in areas with a high crime rate, such as in West Yorkshire and Manchester.
But that doesn’t mean those who live in a safer area, like in Wiltshire and Devon, won’t experience burglaries – and everyone should equip their home with burglary deterrents.
Some insurers will reduce costs or offer discounts if certain security measures are in place, such as having a burglar alarm, being a member of the neighbourhood watch scheme or having locks on all downstairs windows – so it’s worth checking with the provider.
It’s also important to know the difference between home (building) insurance and contents insurance.
Contents insurance will cover the price of replacing personal items that were taken from a break-in, such as clothes, TV, and furniture, just be careful to estimate your contents value as accurately as possible, some comparison sites, like Quotezone.co.uk, help by providing a content value estimator, helping people calculate the total value they need cover for.
Building (or home) insurance will cover any damage caused from a burglary such as smashed windows and broken doors. Depending on the policy, home insurance can also cover the cost of fences or gates.
After discovering a break-in and contacting the police, it’s essential to contact the insurance provider as soon as possible. Take photos and videos as evidence, and make a list of everything that has been stolen or broken.
Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk said: “It’s heartbreaking for anyone to discover that their home has been broken into so it’s really important to protect your home as best you can to prevent and deter would-be thieves.
“Putting in basic security like padlocks, double locking your door and keeping anything of value (or anything that looks like it could be valuable) out of sight, are easy and affordable things everyone should do.
“Additional security measures such as installing CCTV, a burglary alarm or motion sensor lights outside will also help to reduce the chance of a break-in, they have a wide range of prices and don’t have to be expensive. If you can’t afford these additional measures right now though, perhaps install the signage for them first, it may help keep the thieves at bay until the extra safety features are in place.”
Quotezone.co.uk’s tips on protecting your home from a burglary:
Installing basic security
Even putting in simple security measures can help prevent a break-in as it will take more time for the burglar to gain access to the home. For example, use padlocks, bolts and window locks to tighten up home security; these measures are relatively inexpensive and will help reduce chances of a break-in.
Investing in a burglar alarm is one of the most effective ways to prevent a break-in. Burglars are significantly less likely to target a home which has installed an alarm, and some insurance providers will offer a discount on premiums if the house has one. Just be careful to update your policy correctly, some insurance providers will ask if the alarm is also monitored – inaccurate details could void your policy or hinder your claim.
The majority of break ins happen during the day so keep an eye for suspicious behaviour in your neighbourhood and even on the street outside your property – thieves have been known to make symbols in chalk to help them remember key vulnerabilities of the property. It’s also important not to hesitate in asking callers to the house for their ID, genuine callers won’t mind and it may just put off potential thieves.
Double lock all doors
All exterior doors should be double locked every time the house is left unoccupied, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. uPVC doors and most new doors have a multi-locking system which works when the handle is pulled up and then locked – if they’re BSI approved (British Standards Institution), it can reduce the cost of your home insurance.
Keep valuables out of sight
This may seem like an obvious security measure, but making sure anything that is of value, or looks like it could be expensive, is kept fully out of sight from any passers-by, even garden tools and equipment should be locked in the shed or garage as most burglars don’t carry break-in equipment with them. Some homeowners also choose to install frosted glass or net curtains around the front door.
Quotezone.co.uk helps around 3 million users every year find savings on household bills and essentials, including niche items such as unoccupied home insurance, student contents insurance, and insurance for landlords.