Can thieves help cut your home insurance costs? | This is money

2021-11-26 09:12:32 By : Mr. Charlie Chen

Rosie Taylor writes for the Daily Mail

Published: November 9, 2021 at 17:01 EST | Updated: November 10, 2021 at 04:31 EST

"This is your first mistake," said former burglar Michael Fraser, and he pointed to the open front door I supported.

"An open door is an invitation to opportunistic thieves."

60-year-old Michael grew up under care and spent his teenage years in the theft of houses, schools, and businesses.

After changing his life, he now serves as a security consultant, advising people on how to protect their houses from thieves.

After the clock is turned in October every year, burglaries usually increase by 10%

Today, he is looking around my house to see if it is anti-theft. It seems that I am not the only one who can benefit from his advice.

Although the number of domestic thefts in the UK declined during the lockdown last year as people spend more time at home, they have now risen sharply.

Compared with January, the insurance company Aviva received a third increase in house theft claims in September - and reports are expected to increase further, as burglaries typically increase by 10% after the clock reverses in October.

The dark nights and activities that families participate in during the festival make it easier for scammers to target houses when we go out.

Protecting your home from thieves can not only ensure the safety of your belongings, but also reduce the cost of family insurance.

Some insurance companies now encourage customers to add security measures to their homes.

Locket, a monthly-paying construction and content insurance company, offers discounted prices for people with security devices, including smart doorbells or cameras, which connect to your phone and alert you to suspicious activity.

If you have a security lock and alarm, other insurance companies, such as More Than and Halifax, will offer small discounts.

Locked: Journalist Rosie Taylor made her home safe after receiving some useful tips

Any measures that help you avoid claims will protect your no-claim discounts. This is about 10% after one year, and up to 40% after five years-the average household insurance saves about £56.

Michael is Locket’s ambassador, and he told me: “Thieves want to get in and out quickly without trouble, so anything that shows you take safety seriously will discourage them.”

Thieves tend to avoid houses with neighbourhood watch tags or watermarked warning items, which makes it easier for the police to identify stolen goods. 

Work safety alarms, windows with visible locks, or blinds covering windows on the ground floor can also act as a deterrent.

Michael shook his head when I told him I didn't have these. "Think of it as a thief, it shows that you don't take your safety very seriously," he sighed.

Although you might think that thieves usually sneak away from the back of your home, official statistics show that six out of ten thefts in England and Wales between 2019 and 2020 were caused by criminals entering through the front door or window of.

Michael asked me to walk to my locked front door and gently pressed my toes to the bottom.

It gave a point-he explained that it was a clear sign, and I did not use deadlock. 

He said: "Anyone can easily and quickly check the security of the door lock," he explained that scammers may pretend to be someone posting flyers, giving them an excuse to hide outside the door.

Since my door failed the test, Michael could see that it was locked by a Yale lock. He could easily open it with a crowbar, or use a wire hanger that passed through my mailbox to open it from the inside, because It does not have a protective cage (another safety fault). 

However, he did agree with my door chain, which would increase security if I were at home.

When I joked that no one wanted to steal me because I had "nothing worth stealing", Michael explained that it was a common misunderstanding that made people feel complacent about safety.

"The thieves are looking for any gains they can get so that they can take away laptops, cell phones and jewelry, and anything else that might be worth 10 or 20 pounds," he said.

Aviva's data shows that the average claim for burglary is £4,800-but this does not include irreplaceable items with emotional value. 

I was shocked to discover that the thief might take away items such as wedding photos or even the ashes of relatives, and then demand money from the desperate victim.

It is also surprising to understand the value of paper.

Be smart: Some insurance companies now encourage customers to add security measures in their homes-for example, smart doorbells

Michael explained: "Personal data is very valuable these days, so thieves will steal letters from the desk, from your mailbox, or from your recycling bin.

"They can sell the details to other criminals to copy your identity or use them to take out the credit card in your name."

However, having neighbors on both sides of my middle terrace house is in my favor. 

Thieves want to escape quickly without being spotted, so they prefer to target semi-detached and detached properties with side and back access.

According to the Churchill Family Insurance Company, on terraced streets, nearly one-third of burglaries occur at the end of row houses, but row houses near alleys are also common targets.

Residents of apartments on the first floor are twice as likely to be stolen as people living on any other floor.

Of course I will adopt Michael's suggestions to improve the safety of my home, but will following his suggestions also save you money?

It all depends on your insurance company. Aviva’s senior underwriting manager Hannah Davidson said: “Insurance policies are designed to cover a wide range of situations-the risk of theft is only a factor in pricing, so adding security equipment may not automatically reduce premiums.”

She warned that if you fail to take "reasonable precautions to prevent loss or damage," such as locking the door before going out, the insurance company may deny your claim.

You must also pay attention to meeting the minimum security requirements specified in your policy, such as locking doors and windows whenever you leave the room (if they can be locked).

If the thief enters after discovering a key hidden outside your home, or if you leave the tool in an unlocked shed or garage used by the thief to break in, your claim may also be denied.

You should also activate the alarm every time you leave your home, because if the alarm is not turned on when you break in, your insurance company may not pay.

If you are unfortunate enough to be the target, please report it to the police and obtain a crime number immediately, because if you do not report it within 24 hours, the insurance company may refuse the claim.

Remember, following the small print on the policy will not only ensure that your insurance is valid when you need to make a claim, but it will also prevent thieves from targeting you in the first place.

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