Tips to help avoid invalidating your home insurance policy

Before we get on to our tips to help avoid invalidating your home insurance policy, here are three key points that most insurance companies expect from homeowners when protecting their property, according to one of the UK’s fastest growing home insurance providers Policy Expert.

  1. If you have a working Burglar Alarm System in place within your home and have stated this to your insurer from the start of your policy then you need to be arming the system every time you leave your home unattended.
  2. If you’ve stated that your garage, garden shed, or outbuilding is lockable with valuable items inside then it must be as secure as possible with all tools, bikes, garden furniture etc. stored away when your home is unattended.
  3. If your home has to be left unattended for longer than 30 days (home insurance standard) for whatever reason, then you’ll need to inform your insurer of this as adjustments may be needed on your policy to ensure validity.

When it comes to protecting the contents of your home from fire, theft, loss or damage, it’s imperative that you understand your policy fully so that if you were to claim your insure doesn’t reject it. We’ve been looking in to the common home security mistakes Dorset homeowners have made, with helpful tips to avoid invalidating your home insurance policy. First things first, do you even need contents insurance?

Unlike buildings insurance, your mortgage provider won’t insist on having contents insurance, but what happens if your home is damaged by fire or broken into? Can you afford to replace household items burglars would target? According to the Association of British Insurers Property Premium Tracker the average UK home has contents worth £45,000 with an average contents insurance policy costing £139 per year. So, yes, you do.

Make sure door locks are described correctly on the policy

Starting off the round of tips to help avoid invalidating your home insurance policy is the description of your external door locks on the policy to exactly match the ones protecting your home. Locks have test standards to be insurance approved that must be adhered to, with the most commonly cited test from UK insurers being BS3621 and is identified by the British Standard’ kitemark on packaging or lock face itself.

  • Always use properly certified locks sourced from hardware shops or suppliers.
  • Ensure that locks are fitted to doors / windows that have enough thickness.
  • Read the packaging, if in doubt, seek advice from your insurer for clarity.

Stop burglars from gaining unforced entry into your home

This is one of the most common reasons home insurance policies are voided and it’s understandable given the fact that your home has been entered without the need for force. It’s opportunist burglars looking for vulnerabilities around homes that this applies to most and is our top tip to avoid invalidating your home insurance policy if entry has been gained without force.

  • Don’t keep spare keys under the welcome mat, in the plant pot, or in a breakable key safe.
  • Don’t leave doors, windows, sheds unlocked and open for burglars to gain access through.

Burglaries that occur as a result of a lost key or one that’s been given to family, friend or lodger is treated as an act of deception rather than theft, therefore invalidating most home insurance policies.

Secure garden tools so burglars can't use them to break-in

One that’s often overlooked when protecting your home. Insurers will penalise policy holders if the burglar uses your own tools left in the garden or in an unsecured shed to break in to your home. Anything of value that should be secured and isn’t will void your home insurance policy, so anything you can do to ensure that potential break-in tools are secure in the garden shed or locked up outside will help with your claim:

  • Ladders used to gain access to the higher levels of your home.
  • Crowbars, hammers, or wrenches used to force open a door or window.

Report thefts to the police within 24 hours for a crime number

If you’ve been the victim of a crime or think you may have witnessed one, say your neighbours are on holiday and their Burglar Alarm System sounds, report it as soon as possible within 24 hours of the incident. Now this one sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised the number of homeowners who delay the reporting of theft and this can be for a number of reasons out of your control.

That rounds up our tips to help avoid invalidating your home insurance policy. Protection is our main priority, we’re SSAIB certificated with an unblemished record on Checkatrade, so whether it’s deterring criminals with the presence of our burglar alarm systems or capturing key evidence with our CCTV cameras, all our systems are installed by qualified and trained installation staff with the utmost professionalism.