Burglary is devastating. While home insurance can replace your stolen contents and home emergency cover can see your doors or windows fixed quickly, there is no replacement for good home security to avoid being burgled in the first place.

According to The Association of British Insurers, 36% of all burglaries are crimes of opportunity, with burglars letting themselves in through unlocked doors or windows. You are ten times more likely to be burgled if you don’t have basic security. Even something as simple as putting strong locks on your doors and windows will keep your house much safer. Burglary has fallen by nearly 60% since 1995, but criminals are opportunists who will take advantage of any chance to steal from you, so you should remain alert.

The impact on your home insurance premium is massive. For a start, having no claims on previous policies will almost certainly bring down your home insurance premium. Secondly, the type of locks you use are a key consideration taken by insurers in deciding your premium. The effect snowballs as good locks mean cheaper home insurance and fewer burglaries, which means you’re safer and wealthier. Instead of losing money on home insurance and a much higher chance of burglary, you can put the savings into home comforts like gadgets that would have been at greater risk before. Or if you haven’t done so already, invest in window locks and an alarm to maximise your security and home insurance savings even more.

What is BS3621

British Standard 3621 is a quality mark of thief-resistant locks that police and insurers recommend to be fitted on all external doors.

There are various features required to make a lock comply with BS3621. Firstly, the lock needs to be of a 5 lever design. The lock must be able to withstand drill attacks for at least 5 minutes, bolt attacks for at least 5 minutes and also the lock has to have an anti-picking mechanism in place. The main bolt of the lock must be at least 20mm in length and the keep, where the bolt sits in the door frame, must be of a good quality design.

The five-lever mortice deadlock is the standard deadlock. It’s lockable from either side and is sometimes used with a nightlatch for added security. This is what many people see as “double-locking” which should be carried out all the time rather than as an added, occasional extra.

A key-operated multi-point locking system is a multi-point locking system that bolts the door into the frame and locks at multiple points at the turn of a key, giving a high level of security. This modern design is often found on UPVC and composite doors.

Lock Before You Leave

Of course a good lock is only as good as you are at using it. In 2009 the Metropolitan Police reported that 13% of all burglaries in London were “walk-ins” just by walking through unlocked doors. We tend to make an effort on home security when going away for a few days but not so much when just heading to the shop. Your home insurance could be invalid if you not use the locks you said you have.

Superintendent Martin Rusling, the head of the Met’s anti-burglary Bumblebee campaign, said at the time: ‘Burglary, on the whole, is an opportunist crime and a burglar will look for an easy way to get in that won’t take long or arouse suspicion, so many try the front door first.

‘Over half of all burglaries occur through the front door. Mostly they are forced, but many are simply opened either from the front, or by putting something through the letter box.

‘It’s easy to leave your front door unlocked, especially when you’re in a hurry or distracted. But even if you only do it once, that could be enough to get burgled.’