Ensuring your home is secure from burglary could save you a lot of money and heartache. Here's how to do it.
No-one wants their home targeted by burglars.
But something as trivial as leaving an upstairs window open could make your home vulnerable to opportunist thieves.
There are simple steps you can take that can make a big difference to the security of your home and help keep your valuables safe.
Though burglary is never 100% preventable, these basic security measures could significantly reduce the likelihood of it happening to you.
Though your home may be fully secure, it’s worth bearing family, friends and neighbours in mind as you read this.
Ask yourself: could anyone you know benefit from this advice?
Ensuring locks are secure and up to date is one area where small improvements can make a big difference.
Most burglars are opportunists who target properties where it’s easy to gain access.
So it's important to make sure that all doors are fitted with decent locks.
All locks should meet the current British Standards. See our guide to the different lock types for more information.
Also, as a basic security requirement, many insurance companies state that all ground floor windows should be fitted with key-operated locks.
Windows and doors
There's no point fitting decent locks if the doors themselves aren't secure.
All doors and frames should be strong and in good condition.
You could fit your front door with a five-lever mortise deadlock. They're very secure and it's only possible to open one with the right key.
So a thief won't get anywhere by smashing any nearby panels or attempting to open the door from the inside.
Equally, if a burglar were to get into your property through a window, they wouldn't be able to take anything back out through a deadlocked door.
When installing a deadlock, get one that's at least the BS3621 standard, and fit it about a third of the way up the door.
Always make sure windows and doors are always locked when you leave the house.
If a burglar gains entry through an open window or door, this could invalidate your insurance claim.
Keep keys secure
Also make sure your keys are hidden from view and not left in an accessible area from the door.
Some thefts have occurred where burglars have used a rod through the letterbox and fished out keys close to the door.
They're then free to open the door from the outside.
The same goes for car keys. Keep them in a safe place away from the door, you wouldn't want a burglar to drive off with your car.
Read our guide to find out more about how keys can invalidate your home insurance policy.
Also, we'd advise you to keep any valuables out of site.
Take a look at our top tips for protecting your valuables from thieves.
From the outside in
Burglars look out for certain characteristics when assessing a house from the outside.
Be aware of the height of any hedges, shrubbery or trees at the front of your property.
They might give you some extra privacy, but if they're overgrown they could provide cover for someone trying to break into your home.
Also, make sure the outside of your home is well lit. Try installing a security light which will turn on when someone approaches your property.
If you have access to the garden through a gate, make sure it’s locked and ensure that fences are in good repair.
Make sure you're covered
Having home insurance cover in place is important so that you're well-protected.
Although it will cover certain costs if your home is burgled, it shouldn’t be used in place of basic security measures.
Some insurance providers have a minimum level of security that your home must adhere to in order for them to pay out.
So check your policy details to be sure that your security measures meet their requirements.