8 ways to protect your home

According to recent research by Swinton Insurance, more than 12 million of us are losing sleep worrying about home security, losing an average of 26 nights' sleep a year fretting about unlocked doors and windows.

Mark Hallam from Swinton Insurance shares eight simple steps to protecting your home:

  1. Install a burglar alarm that is approved by your insurer – and use it! It’s worth checking your alarm is approved by recognised industry bodies like the NSI and SSAIB before you choose.
  2. Make sure your doors have the right locks - mortice locks add extra protection, and it’s wise to check that they conform to British Standards (BS3621) by looking for the kitemark on the key.  Ask a qualified locksmith if you’re not sure.
  3. Don’t forget your windows! These also need approved locks with keys. Remember that if you have window locks, you need to use them. A claim on your contents insurance could be invalid if the locks weren’t in use.
  4. Look after your keys and other valuables. It might sound obvious but don’t leave them in sight, and definitely don’t leave a key under a mat or plant pot outside! Burglars are usually on the hunt for items that are high in value and portable, so remember to put things like laptops and tablets away after using them rather than leaving them on the coffee table where they can be seen from outside.   
  5. Be clever with lighting. Outdoor security lights can help to put burglars off and motion sensitive ones can be a good deterrent as no burglar wants to be exposed in the act. The higher you install them, the larger the area they will cover, just be careful that they aren’t a nuisance to your neighbours.
  6. Join your Neighbourhood Watch scheme - it’s an initiative designed to bring communities together to help improve the security of their local areas. Joining your local group will help you to share useful information about unusual goings on in your neighbourhood and may even help to prevent a burglary before it happens. Find your local group here.
  7. A contents insurance policy with a suitable level of cover can provide peace of mind and cover the cost of your possessions should you find yourself a victim of theft. If you’re not sure what’s covered by a contents insurance policy, think about the belongings that you’d take with you if you were to move. Furniture, clothes and electricals such as your TV or fridge freezer are generally covered as standard, though there are exceptions. Portable computers and individual high value items may require an additional premium. It’s always worth checking with your insurer to find out exactly what your policy covers.
  8. Keep your home secure when you’re away - if you’ve got a holiday planned, of course you’ll want to share your excitement on social media, however resist the temptation as you never know who could see it! It is however a good idea to let your neighbours know so they can keep an eye out for unexpected visitors whilst you’re away. Don’t forget to set your burglar alarm, and use timer switches to turn your lamps off at intervals to create the illusion that someone’s at home.