Which locks affect my home insurance policy?
Having the correct locks fitted around your home is one way to protect the things that matter most to you. There are many types of locks that can be installed into doors, windows and outbuildings around your property - however they must meet the requirements outlined in your home insurance policy for your cover to be valid.
To help ensure you’ve got the correct protection installed in your home, we’ve listed essential information needed to find out if your locks meet insurance policy requirements.
Types of approved locks
If you’ve just moved home and are looking to take out home insurance, or are simply wanting to renew your existing policy, you’ll be asked about the security of your home and what locks you have installed. Firstly, just before you check or change any of your locks, it’s important to understand what standard they should follow that’s within your policy guidelines.
British Standard (BS)
All locks installed around your home must clearly state that they are BS3621 approved; this code translates as a British Standard lock that’s thief-resistant. A kite mark should be visible either by the key hole or where the locking bolts come out.
European Standard (EN)
A European-standard lock with a cylinder, or Eurocylinder that’s approved as thief-resistant, will be under the code EN 1303:2005. Generally, any lock products that are EN approved meet all the requirements set by European Standardisations Organisations.
Both these codes set the minimum requirements acceptable by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), however you should always refer to your policy documents for lock and security specifications.
Those living in newer homes won’t struggle to find the approved kite marks as new-builds have to meet safety requirements. If you live in an old-build, and you’re unable to find the kite marks on your locks or are unsure about what you’re checking, it’s worth contacting an approved locksmith.
Now that you are familiar with the approved lock standards, we’ve listed the types of lock you should have installed around your home:
- Windows that can be accessed should be fitted with key-operated locks internally.
- Main entrance doors should be BS 3621 approved: five lever mortice lock, a Eurocylinder rim dead latch with internal key-locking handle, or a multi-point lock. Adding a night latch can also provide extra protection for your front door.
- Sliding doors e.g. patio or french doors must have a key-operated lock mounted inside on the centre rails as well as the standard fitted locks on the door.
- Other hinged external doors e.g. shed or garage doors that don’t meet the descriptions above should have key-operated locks on the top and bottom of the door, as well as the lock already in the door.
Once you’ve fitted locks where needed, and they meet British Standards, your home should meet policy requirements, but it’s important to remember fitted locks alone won’t guarantee break-in prevention. You can reduce the risk of being burgled by following one of our home security guides, to get that added protection where it’s needed.
What can invalidate my home insurance policy?
The last thing you’d want to happen is to get stung by an invalid claim after being burgled - because your home didn’t meet the policy requirements. It’s important to read through your insurance documents carefully to ensure you’re fully covered for when the worst happens.
Make sure your policy details are kept up-to-date, especially if you decide to change or install new locks, as this could invalidate your policy as well. We’ve listed below other ways people can get caught out by their policy.
- Honesty is the best policy. Being dishonest about which locks are installed around the home will invalidate your policy, as you’re not meeting the requirements stated in your documents – leading to no pay out. Exaggerating the value of your home insurance claim or item stolen is known as retail fraud.
- Extended holiday. Your policy will include how long you can leave your property unoccupied for in your documents. If you decide to go away for longer than stated in your policy, and someone breaks into your home, you may not be able to make a claim.
- Accidents happen. Some home owners keep a spare set of keys hidden by their front doors. If you’re burgled, and the thief uses either your spare keys, or a set you’ve lost – that can invalidate your claim. Even if you forget to close a window, or you were in a hurry and didn’t set the alarm – that can also invalidate your claim.
- Failing to report a crime will cancel out your claim, as the crime number is required to complete your insurance claim.