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Could giving someone a spare key invalidate your home insurance?

5 minutes

From dog walkers to cleaners and even delivery people; what could giving people access to your home while you're out,  mean for your home insurance?

  • Waitrose trials new in-home delivery service in South London 
  • Is smart-lock technology the future of home security and deliveries?
  • Will your home insurance be valid if you let people into your home when you're not there?

In October 2018, Waitrose announced it is trialling an “in-home” delivery service  that gives drivers access to customers’ homes to unpack groceries while they’re out. Amazon has employed a similar approach for parcel delivery with Amazon Key,  which launched in the US last year. It certainly saves time, but could it impact your home insurance? 

What is in-home delivery?

Waitrose will test its in-home delivery service, called While You’re Away, initially with 100 customers in Coulsdon, south London. While You’re Away allows a customer with Yale smart-lock technology to set a temporary access code that is sent to Waitrose via a secure app. The code is then sent to the delivery driver’s device at the time of arrival at the customer’s home and is deleted once the delivery is complete.

The driver will put away goods that need to be refrigerated or frozen and leave other groceries on the kitchen counter, or as instructed by the customer. The delivery will be captured on a chest-camera worn by the driver, with the video available on request by the customer the next working day.

Waitrose said it anticipated being able to make the service available to more than 1,000 customers in spring next year depending on the success of the trial. 

Archie Mason, the head of business development at Waitrose & Partners, said: “There is certainly an increasing demand among our customers to make shopping with us even more convenient to fit around their busy lifestyles. Rather than waiting for a delivery or trying to put everything away, it gives customers more flexibility to use that time differently, including more time enjoying cooking and eating the food they’ve bought.

“The concept of in-home delivery has started to prove popular in other countries so we are keen to establish if there is an appetite for it in the UK.”

The Amazon Key program follows a similar structure to deliver Amazon Prime parcels straight into people’s homes. 

“Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process,” the company said. 

“Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked. No special codes or keys are ever provided to delivery drivers.”

Spare keys and your home insurance

If you have LV= home insurance , cutting keys to give people access to your home in your absence won’t impact your insurance at all, according to our underwriters.

Whether it’s a carer, a dog walker, a gardener or a delivery person, and regardless of whether you give them a spare key, use a key safe or a smart lock, your home is covered.

If a claim was made for theft or damage caused by somebody with a spare key, LV= would conduct a more in-depth investigation as well as following police procedures.

It’s important to remember if somebody lives with you, such as a live-in carer or an au pair, they are considered part of the family rather than an employee, so your home insurance would not cover any damage caused by them.  

What if I leave keys out for someone?

It’s never a good idea to leave keys outside, even if you think they’re in a safe place . Even if it’s only for a short period or you’re certain no one else knows they’re there, it’s always a good idea to use a key safe or smart lock technology.