Builders, designers and architects have always had to meet certain legal criteria when it comes to the security of their house-building projects. Now they face growing pressure from another source—savvy homebuyers looking to find the lowest possible premiums for their home insurance.
Most insurance companies want to know what type of locks a home has on all its external doors before they supply a quote. Some even insist that properties have five-lever mortice locks installed.
Despite this, homeowners whose locks comply with British Standards can sometimes get discounts of up to 5% on their policies. Qualifying, however, means having these locks on all exit doors and key-operated locks on all ground-floor and accessible windows, or similar.
Under the Building Regulations 2010 (last updated in 2015), a home’s main entrance doors should be fitted with a multi-point locking system that has:
– a key locking both sides
– a non-key locking on the inside (such as a latch), or
– a non-key locking on the inside, but with a facility to override the lock from the outside
If installing a multi-point locking system isn’t necessary or practical, a mortice lock can be fitted instead, with a surface-mounted rim lock that conforms to the same standards.
It can be difficult for homeowners to establish whether locks conform to the requirements, and failing to do so can leave them paying considerably higher premiums.
And if a homeowner claims their locks meet British Standards when in fact they don’t, their policy could be invalid—meaning they wouldn’t be financially covered if a break-in took place. This can impact on whether or not a potential buyer is willing to go through with the sale.
Neil Ginger, CEO of door and window specialists Origin, said: “Many people are taking the opportunity to modernise while gaining peace of mind in terms of both valid home insurance and security.
“House builders are increasingly looking to source doors and windows containing the most secure locking mechanisms. For homebuyers, knowing that they are walking into a new house that the most up-to-the-minute protection often seals the decision.”
Figures from March this year show that in England and Wales there was a 6% rise in burglary offences as well as a 30% increase in police-recorded robberies. And other research found that over a third of burglars had successfully entered a home through the front door.
Landlords may struggle to claim on their insurance if they fail to meet the insurer’s specifications for the types of locks that doors and windows must have. They could also be breaking the terms of their tenancy agreements.
“Knowing all of your home’s locking systems are fully secure and British Standards-compliant also goes a long way, giving both the property owner and their insurer peace of mind,” Mr Ginger added.
However, some insurance companies are removing this requirement. A spokesperson for Aviva said: “We’re currently making the process of taking out insurance easier by reducing the number of questions asked. One of the things we’ve focused on is consumers being asked what locks they have, which we don’t believe is necessary.”
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