With the clocks going back, how secure is your home?
The clocks are about to go back, typically when evening opportunist burglaries start to increase, and we would generally remind you to be alert to this. However, in this case, heavy rain and wind will accompany the extra hour of darkness, so it is almost certainly not worth the risk.
You can make your home less likely to be targeted by ensuring all doors and windows are locked and secure before you go out or go to bed at night. If you have a burglar alarm, ensure it is set up correctly. If you are away from home, turn the lights on in empty rooms to deter potential intruders.
This year, however, Covid 19 is likely to exacerbate the problem. With jobs lost daily, people will become desperate enough to commit crimes to keep their families going. In addition, with everyone tightening their belts financially, it’s more important than ever that we all take additional steps to protect our property and valuables, as the cost of replacements will significantly impact our cash flow.
Your local police force and neighbourhood watch can suggest improving your domestic and business security. Simple, low-cost steps to take are:
- An excellent way to ensure that your property is protected from intruders is to prune your hedges. This is because if you have a tall hedge and it’s left to grow, it can provide a hiding place for anyone who wants to break in.
- Ensure that your locks are in good working order – we’ve had a pretty good summer, so locks may need lubricating (they dry out in the sun/warmth, and dust collects in the mechanism).
- Use locks properly – most doors are not secure if the door is pulled shut. In most cases, the lock has to be engaged with a key. In addition, your Insurance might not cover you in a burglary if the locks weren’t used correctly.
- Secure garages and sheds, and ensure that ladders and tools can’t be used to break into your property.
- Keep keys out of sight of doors and windows. Don’t leave keys in the back of the door. They can be accessed through a letterbox (it may also prevent YOU from getting in).
- Ensure you know who has had keys in the past, such as tradesmen and old friends. Also, did you change the locks you moved into the property? The previous property owners may have also issued keys that are in circulation. You must change your locks to ensure your property is safe and secure so you know exactly who has a key to your precious belongings.
If you’ve already covered the steps above, then you may wish to consider upgrading your security:
- Ensure that your doors and windows have insurance-approved locks – and use them. The best thing you can do to protect your home from theft is to make it as difficult for burglars to get inside. That means ensuring your doors and windows are appropriately secured with good-quality locks.
- Invest in Insurance Approved anti-snap, -bump, -pick, -drill locks to deter anyone who tries to break in.
- Fit an additional lock. Most doors can accommodate more than one lock.
One final point – if you need a locksmith or any other tradesman, please check them out. Several local cowboys say they’ll quote low prices in the locksmith business alone. Still, when they arrive, the costs escalate dramatically, and any work done is usually of an inferior standard. You may then need another locksmith to pick up the pieces. Look for:
- Personal recommendations
- Membership of recognised trade bodies, Which? Trusted Traders, Checkatrade, Trading Standards approval, Traders 4u
- Unbiased reviews on 3rd party forums. If there are many reviews, see if the company is a National one so you can appreciate the value of the collated reviews. For example, if the company has 1000 reviews across 100 contractors nationally, then only ten reviews per contractor (1000/100=10).
- Reviews can be captured across many different trades, so see if the company is a dedicated locksmith. Many companies offer lock services, but they also provide plumbing, heating, glazing, pest control, electrical etc. Again you need to divide the total reviews collated by the number of trades and then the number of contractors to appreciate the actual value of their reviews.
Does home insurance cover burglaries?
Burglary is the unlawful entry of a building or other structure intending to commit a crime. This includes any attempt to commit a crime. Finally, an intruder, such as a trespasser, is someone who unlawfully enters or remains in a building or other structure without permission.
To be covered by your home insurance policy, you must have taken reasonable steps to protect your home from burglars and intruders. You can’t rely on luck if you want your claim paid out by your insurer.
For example, you may claim compensation if your alarm system failed to work correctly, but only if you notified your insurer beforehand that something was wrong. You gave them time to fix it before anything happened.
However, if you didn’t tell them about the problem until after someone broke in, they won’t be liable for any losses because they had no opportunity to take action beforehand.
When do the clocks change in the UK?
The clocks change twice yearly in the UK – on the last weekend of March and October. This is because the clocks go forward one hour at 1 am on the last Sunday in March and back again at 2 am on the last Sunday in October. The time change is designed to give darker mornings more daylight hours, which should help people get up earlier and be more active.