Locks and Home Insurance

locks and home insurance

As an Edinburgh locksmith I know that home security is a top priority for many people. Unfortunately I often visit homes that have been broken into because of inadequate cheap locks or are at risk of being broken into because of locks that are just not up to the job.

There are several types of good quality lock available and the type you have will depend on your particular property. You should also check the fine print in your home insurance policy to find out the type and standard of locks that your home is insured for. This is very important because if your current locks do not comply with the standards stated in your policy and you are burgled your insurance company may refuse to pay out your claim.

To the layperson, locks can seem difficult to identify but they can be broken down into four main types

Mortice Deadlock

This type of lock is usually found on timber doors. Here the locking mechanism is embedded (morticed) into a slot in the door. The more levers this type of lock has, the more secure it is. A key is always needed for this type of lock and it can be locked from both sides. Most home insurance policies will insist that this type of lock, conforming to current British Standard 3621 (BS3621), is fitted to all downstairs external wooden doors. To check if your mortice deadlock conforms to this standard, check the face plate of the lock as it will be stamped next to the KiteMark.

Multi Point Locking System

This type of lock is most commonly found on uPVC or composite front doors or patio doors. With this type of lock, when you lift the handle and turn the key the door will lock at several different points. For insurance purposes external doors usually need a lock cylinder with at least five pins.

In order to prevent ‘cylinder snapping’ which is becoming more and more common, it may be worth thinking about upgrading to high security 3 Star TS007 cylinder locks.

The Nightlatch (a Yale lock to most people)

This type of lock is mounted on the inside of the door rather than being ‘morticed’ inside it. It usually has a small switch which allows you to deadlock or hold back the latch. This type of lock is usually used as additional security on an external door as it is not as secure as a mortice lock. Double-locking nightlatches are a more secure type of nightlatch. They can be recoginised easily as they have a keyhole on the handle that is located inside the door. The cylinder inside the lock is linked to this keyhole so that the latch can be deadlocked from inside. If you are fitting a nightlatch make sure that it meets British Standards to ensure a higher level of security.

Key Operated Window Locks

When you fill in a quote for home insurance you will usually be asked whether all ground floor or accessible windows are secured by a key operated lock. With more modern windows, this type of lock usually has the key located on the handle. Only answer ‘Yes’ if every single window can be locked and is locked when you are not at home. Otherwise your claim can be refused if you are burgled.

These are some of the most common locks, but there are many others, particularly in older properties. If you are not sure about the locks in your home, call your local locksmith and ask him to do a home security check (a good locksmith will usually do this for free). Making a false statement to your insurers about your home security, even if you thought you were being honest at the time, could badly affect your claim if the worst happens. In the long run, investing in some high security locks, to make your home as secure as possible is money well spent and may even lower your insurance premiums.

If you would like to find out more about getting the locks in your home replaced or upgraded please get in touch or call Richard on 0131 353 0040