You may have seen the recent Aviva television commercial about home insurance. The homeowner is asked if their locks meet BS3621 to which he replies that he doesn’t know. He goes further, desperately saying ‘Nobody Knows’. He has a point too as chances are many homeowners don’t know if their locks meet this standard.
Are approved locks worth it?
When purchasing home insurance for the first time or even renewing your policy you may not be thinking about whether your doors and windows are fitted with locks that are approved by home insurers. Having and using correctly the right security products on your doors and windows should not only reduce your chances of being broken into but ensure you are properly covered by your insurance company if you do get broken into. If you do not already have any of these locks installed, then it could feel like a bit of an expensive investment to get them fitted.
But, worse still it is amazing how many people do not change their locks when they move home! You are going to move all your precious belongings in, some of which you will never be able to replace if stolen or damaged and new items will be purchased. Still you don’t think about changing your locks! How many keys are in circulation for the property and who has them?
Insurance companies usually will ask what type of locks you have fitted on your outside doors and windows. Even if you purchase your policy online there is usually a section on the type of locks you have fitted to your property. If you do not have the correct locks fitted to your doors and windows and have the misfortune to be broken into the insurance company may not pay any claim you file. Here we will try to help you identify if your locks will meet their requirements and about some of the approved locks that are available.
What types of front door locks do insurance companies recommend?
There are three main types of door locks and one type of window lock that insurance companies recommend. But the lock is only as strong as the door or window it is fitted to. If you don’t lock them as per manufacturer’s instructions or leave a window open, then you will compromise your own security and the insurance company may not pay your claim.
British Standard 5 lever mortice locks
This type of lock is recessed / cut into the door allowing the lock to be fitted into it. a mortice lock having 5 levers makes it a more secure lock. They also have a hardened steel plate fitted onto the case and a 14mm bolt (20mm new BS 3621 standard) with a boxed keeper. 5 lever mortice locks are one of the most common insurance approved locks fitted onto wooden doors. As per the manufacturers recommendations the door must be thick enough to leave sufficient timber either side of the lock e.g. 44mm thick.
Key operated multi point locking system
This locking system is found most commonly on UPVC doors but is now appearing on composite doors as well. The latest doors being fitted now offer a higher level of security than the five lever mortice locks, as they have multiple locking points like hooks and deadbolts at the top and bottom of the doors that simultaneously deadlock when you turn the key. Upgrading your cylinder to the new 3 Star anti-snap cylinders available i.e. Ultion will give you extra security and peace of mind.
Rim automatic nightlatch
These types of locks are mounted onto the front door, rather than morticed into door, so as a result they are far less secure than the 5 lever mortice lock. Look for the high security locks conforming to British standards (BS3621). These locks have a key operation on the inside handle as well as using a cylinder on the outside. Insurance companies still prefer the 5 lever mortice locks but in some cases the door is not thick enough for one to be fitted.
Key operated window locks
For insurance purposes all ground floor and accessible windows should have key operated window locks installed. On UPVC windows there are usually locking window handles that opens and close the windows. Older UPVC, wooden and metal windows may not have locking handles, so you will need to fit additional window locks or bolts that are lockable with a key. (This also includes patio and french doors). When these windows are not in regular use or you are not at home, make sure to lock them with a key.
Are approved locks worth it?
Having and using correctly the right security products on your doors and windows should not only reduce your chances of being broken into but ensure you are properly covered by your insurance company if you do get broken into. If you do not already have any of these locks installed, then it could feel like a bit of an expensive investment to get them fitted in. However, in the long term, it could be worthwhile. It should actually decrease your chances of being burgled.
How to identify if your door and window locks are approved by home insurers?
If your window handles, window locks or bolts do not have a key to lock then then they will not meet insurance requirements. If you have a Yale lock and it isn’t automatic deadlocking and no locking handle on the inside, then it will not meet insurance requirements.
There are some older nightlatches that do have locking handles on the inside but may not comply with current British Standards. If you have a mortice deadlock or a sashlock (with handles) and it doesn’t have 5 lever or the BS3621 logo on the front plate down the edge of the door then it will not meet insurance requirements.
If you are still unsure if your home security will meet insurance company requirements give us a call during shop opening hours or email us pictures of your locks. Our office number is 01604 713271