How you can reduce the cost of your home insurance premiums through better security
Insurance is one of those things that nobody likes paying for but is sadly necessary. Everyone objects to paying out for something they may never use while at the same time, hoping they never have to use it! The best you can really hope for is that you pay as little as possible while maintaining the appropriate cover.
There are 2 main strategies for reducing the cost of your home insurance: the first is to shop around for your policy; the second is to take measures to reduce the likelihood of claiming, enabling your insurer to lower the cost of the policy. Because one of the main reasons for claiming is a break-in, improving your home security is one of the best ways of managing risk.
Here are some of the key improvements that you can implement that most insurance companies will take into account when calculating their premiums:
1. Fit good quality locks
Your locks are your first line of defence against a break in. Break secure anti-snap cylinder locks offer much better protection than most other types of lock and greatly reduce the chance of a break in. Also be sure to explain that you always keep the doors locked, even when in the house (many ‘sneak in’ burglaries occur when people are home and don’t keep the doors locked).
2. Install a burglar alarm
Having a burglar alarm is a great deterrent so this is certainly something that an insurer will look upon favourably. Don’t forget that any alarm you have must also usually conform to British Standards, must be installed by an SSAIB contractor and must be professionally maintained for it to reduce your premium. A monitored alarm will reduce it even further.
Don’t be tempted to say you’re doing these things just to get a reduction if you’re not. In the event of a claim, these details will be checked and if they find a discrepancy between the real scenario and what you’ve told them, that could well invalidate your claim.
3. Fit smoke alarms
Smoke alarms won’t prevent a fire per se but they will usually alert you to one much earlier, allowing you to take corrective measures and possibly prevent it spreading. Obviously there’s much more at stake here than insurance premiums; smoke alarms are an essential safety measure in any home and commercial premises require some kind of fire alarm by law.
4. Get a safe
Burglars generally want to be in and out quickly. They are interested in valuable items that they can grab as easily as possible. Obviously TVs and computers can’t be hidden away easily but valuable items such as jewellery, cash and gadgets can be protected by keeping them in a safe. Most won’t even attempt to gain access to a decent safe and if you have one that can’t be removed easily (because it’s heavy, bolted down or professional installed) they really don’t have much of a chance of getting at anything that’s in them. (By the way, they know your best hiding places!)
5. Join or start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme
Areas that already have an active Neighbourhood Watch scheme tend to be safer because the whole community is looking out for each other. Being part of one in itself may be considered a factor for reducing premiums.
If there isn’t one local to you, you could consider starting one. One of the big indicators insurers use to work out your premium is crime rates in your area. If you can help to reduce these it could lead to better premiums for everyone.
The cynics out there could argue that the cost of implementing these strategies could outweigh any savings gained. This is probably correct in the short term, however many of these things have an upfront cost and then last for many years with minimal on-going investment so there is a significant long term gain to be made. The most important thing to bear in mind of course is that the cost reduction in premiums is really an ancillary benefit; the improvement in protection to your property and family is the primary advantage and all of these measures make a huge contribution to that.
If you would like advice on improving your own home security please give us a call on 0800 612 9799 (from a landline) or 0345 833 5543 (from a mobile).