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Do your locks meet home insurance standards?

Do my locks meet British insurance requirements?

How do you know if your locks meet British home insurance standards? It may come as a surprise to learn that you might not be insured if you don’t have certain types of locks on your doors and windows. But when you think about it, of course it makes sense.

If you don’t have quality locks, properly fitted, you’re leaving yourself open to theft. And, just like if you leave a window open when you go out, your insurer isn’t obliged to pay out when you make a claim.

Securing your house with the right types of locks can make a big difference to your personal security and your home or contents insurance.

Home insurance companies may expect a minimum level of security on entrances to your home, especially ground floor doors and windows.

There are four main types of lock and you probably have more than one type in your home.

1 – 5-Lever Mortice Lock

Almost exclusively found on wooden doors, the British standard five-lever mortice lock is the most secure type of general house lock and is often referred to as a Chubb lock. The more levers a lock has the more difficult it is to pick.

The lock is ‘morticed’ in the door itself and the strike plate sits in the door frame. As you turn the key in the lock the bolt moves across to the frame and locks the door. The only way to open the door is with a key.

Most insurers will insist that your lock is at least 5 lever bust most require that it conforms to British Standard BS3621, which ensures it has certain security features in the mechanism such as larger bolt throw, anti drill plates and an anti pick curtain and levers. You can tell if your lock conforms by checking for the BSI Kitemark™ – usually on the face plate of the lock on the door as opposed to the frame.

2 – Multi-point locking system

These locks are often found in uPVC doors and composite doors. They must have at least three places in the frame that all lock at the same time and usually consist of hooks, bolts or little rollers that move up and down into keeps on the frame. The easiest way to identify a multi point lock is the action you perform when locking the door. If you need to lift the handle before turning the key you will have a multi point locking mechanism.

The cylinder is a secondary part of a multi-point lock and can be easily replaced, this is the bit that you put your key into and controls the multi point locking mechanism.. The Master Locksmith Association recommend a 3* ‘Diamond’ approved cylinder for maximum security, for example the Brisant Ultion. This type of lock will display *** (3 Stars) and a diamond logo.

3 – Rim locks or night latches

Unlike mortice locks that are morticed into the door, these locks are surface mounted on the door itself with the latch being mounted on the door frame and are almost exclusively found on wooden doors, they are often referred to as ‘Yale’ type locks. They can usually be deadlocked from the inside, but more secure versions can also be deadlocked from the outside with a key.

They are considered to be less secure than mortice locks or multi-point locks and unless they are deadlocked can be prone to ‘slipping’ ( similar to the credit card trick). Although you can get high security versions of this type of lock, such as the Yale PBS1, many insurers want you to have additional security, like a mortice lock, if this type of lock is on your front door.

4 – Window Locks

With casement and uPVC windows, you’ll probably find locks on the handles of the window or at the top and bottom of the window.

With sash windows there’s often a central locking bolt and two side bolts that allow you to open the window to let the air in, but not enough to allow a burglar to get in.

Many insurers will insist that you have key operated locks on your windows and insurance companies may not be obliged to pay out if you are found to have left windows open.

Which house locks do insurance providers favour?

The more secure the lock, the better it will be regarded by insurance providers. A five lever mortice lock is one that’s frequently regarded to have a good standard of security, especially when the lock conforms to the correct British Insurance Standard (usually BS3621).

Are locks covered by home insurance?

If your locks were damaged during a break-in, your home insurance policy will normally cover the cost of any repairs or replacements needed to secure your home. And, as long as you have contents insurance meets British home insurance standards, your lost belongings will be replaced.

Which types of house locks are best for my home?

That depends on:

  • Where you live – house, flat/apartment, countryside, city
  • The type of door – wooden, composite or uPVC
  • The type of policy you have
  • Your insurer
  • Existing security measures

It is very important that you carefully read through your home insurance policy to find out exactly which locks are the minimum security requirements for your insurer. Why take the risk of finding that your insurance policy is invalid because you don’t meet their detailed policy requirements – if you are still unsure about whether your locks meet British insurance standards, call Lock-OnSecurity on 07952 302102  for a free locks home insurance consultation.

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