Minimum Security for Home Insurance- Guide
Types of Door and Window Locks – when purchasing a home insurance policy, you may find that your insurance company want you to have certain security measures in force at your property. These should be studied most carefully as without the correct protection being in force, you may find your cover compromised in the event of a claim. For most people, this involves having good quality door and window locks. Good physical security at your property, will be of a far greater benefit in deterring Theft than having an alarm fitted, but not being a lock expert, have do you discover if you have the correct locks fitted at your home?
External Doors – most insurance companies will require you to fit 5 Lever Mortice Deadlocks conforming to British Standard 3621,basically a mortice deadlock is a lock for fixing in a mortice cut into the closing edge of a door. You can fit these yourself, but it’s not that easy and you will need special tools to it. It is probably better if you employ the services of a locksmith as you good end up damaging your door or fitting the lock in a place that may weaken the door. You may already have deadlocks fitted to you door and there is a fairly easy way to check. If you open the door and look at the lock end on, stamped on the end, will be the manufactures name, the number of levers and a British Kite Mark, if the lock confirms to a British Standard.
British Standards are produced by BSI British Standards, a division of BSI Group founded as the Engineering Standards Committee in London in 1901, they now have a Royal Charter and their core business remains standards and standards related services. If an item has received a BS kite mark, it will mean it is of a good quality.
A five lever mortice deadlock is a high security door lock, perfect for home security as it will have been rigorously tested for burglar resistance against a number of bench mark tests. This type of door lock has a single ‘dead’ bolt that is locked and unlocked with a key. When turning the key, a bolt shoots in to the frame of the door. The lock is embedded in the door ( in a mortice) for extra strength, providing excellent security and is up to most insurance companies standards. This type of lock will protect you against a range of burglar attacks including lock picking, force, drilling, manipulation and hacksaw. A locksmith will be able to advise you on positioning to obtain the maximum security.
Home insurance companies are usually happy with this type of protection as you can only open a deadlock with a key, even if you have glass door panels, a thief will not be able to gain entry by simply smashing the glass, he will need a key. By fitting deadlocks to your building you are also preventing burglars who enter by a window, walking out through a door with your contents
Owners of flats, where there are possibly a number of entry points, will have a number of additional considerations when deciding what locks to fit to doors. If you live in a flat that is located above a certain height, you will need to fit special locks that conform to a different British Standard. You will need specialist advice to make sure that you have the correct doors and locks fitted.
The above will provide you with a good level of security but you could could consider so extra additions to make your home even more secure.
Additional door security could also include the following.
- Door viewer- If you dont have a glass door or another way of checking, just who is calling on you, you can fit a viewer in to your front door. A locksmith, should be able to assist you with this and many modern doors, come with a viewer already fitted.
- Letterboxes – One of the first things a thief checks for, is the key that is hanging on a piece of string through the letter box, they also look through to see if you have left the keys on the mat, many keys have been retried this way using a simple telescopic device. Letterboxes should be at least 400mm (16 inches) from any locks and you should consider fitting your letter box with a cage or restrictor, this prevents thieves from trying to reach in and unlock the door, when you are at home.
- Door Hinges -Check that your door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong, long screws. For added security, fit hinge bolts. These are inexpensive and will help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against force. Hinge bolts or security hinges are especially important if your door opens outwards.
- Door Chains – A door chain is fairly inexpensive and eay to fit and can provide you with good security, you can open your door to talk to someone and they wont be able to gain entry unless you un secure the chain. For safety reasons, the chain should be used when answering the door, not when you are in the property.
- Glass Panels-Glass panels on or around doors are especially vulnerable, so consider replacing them with laminated glass. Or, you can buy a special film to stick to the inside which is more cost effective.
Window security – whilst your doors are the preferred mode of entry to a property by a burglar, they will use windows if there is no other entrance point. If you are having your windows replaced, talk to the glazing company to ensure that your new windows are secure, ask if they meet British Standard BS7950 Windows of Enhanced Security. If you have French or Patio doors, as well as the usual locking device, these should be fitted with key operated bolts at the top and bottom.
Whilst it is more pertinent to have window locks on downstairs and accessible windows, if the cost is not prohibitive, you could have them fitted upstairs as well. Window locks also provide a good visible deterrent, unless he is prepared to take the window out of the frame, the thief would have to smash the glass and this may draw attention to his actions.
It is far easier to have the locks fitted when your windows installed and by doing this you will not have to worry about compromising any window warranty. For older style windows, you can buy window locking kits at almost any DIY store and fit them yourself. Remember to consider small windows as well, a thief can fit through a space that is the a little larger than the size of a human head. Remember to keep windows locked. Remove the keys and keep them out of sight in a safe place.
Keys – there are a few golden rules relating to keys which should be followed.
- Avoid leaving a spare key in a hiding place, under the doormat, under the milk bottle holder or in a plant pot near the house, these are all places that a thief will look within the first few moments of targeting your home.
- If you are moving in to a new property, invest in upgrading the security and have all the locks changed. Use a local approved locksmith
- Avoid, leaving keys in the porch window, on a window ledge or on the doormat, keep your keys in safe place preferably a key cabinet.