Do you know your five-lever mortice from your multi-point locking system? Use our handy guide to check you've got the right locks for your home insurance.
- Why the right locks can make a big difference
- Choose quality locks and have them properly fitted
- Identify which types of locks you have
Are you properly secured and insured?
It may come as a surprise to learn that you might not be insured if you don't have certain types of locks on your doors and windows. But when you think about it, of course it makes sense.
If you don’t have quality locks, properly fitted, you're leaving yourself open to theft. And, just like if you leave a window open when you go out, your insurer isn't obliged to pay out when you make a claim.
It pays to have the right house locks
Home insurance companies may expect a minimum level of security on entrances to your home, especially ground floor doors and windows. They usually ask if you have these locks in place already and if you don't you're given a few weeks to get them fitted.
Whilst this can be expensive in the short-term, it pays in the long-term for two good reasons:
- Solid house locks deter burglars, so your valuables are safer when you’re not at home.
- If you are burgled, your insurance provider will pay out, so at least you can replace the things that are stolen.
Which type of lock have you got?
It's not always easy to tell, but your home insurance provider will need to know so that they can assess how secure your home is and whether you need to upgrade your locks.
There are four main types of lock and you probably have more than one type in your home.
Five-lever mortice lock
Often used to lock your front door, the five-lever mortice lock is the most secure type of general house lock. The more levers a lock has the more difficult it is to pick.
The lock is usually embedded in the door itself and the strike plate sits in the door frame. As you turn the key in the lock the bolt moves across to the frame and locks the door. The only way to open the door is with a key.
Most insurers will insist that your lock conforms to British Standard BS3621, which ensures it has certain security features in the mechanism. You can tell if your lock conforms by checking for the BSI Kitemark™ - usually on the plate set in the door.
Multi-point locking system
These locks are often found in uPVC doors, usually on patio or French doors. They have at least three places in the frame that all lock at the same time, using the same key and to lock the door you normally need to lift the handle.
As the key cylinder controls all the locking points, it's important to fit a secure type of cylinder. The Master Locksmith Association recommend a 'Diamond' approved cylinder for maximum security.
Rim locks or night latches
Unlike mortice locks that are embedded in the door, these locks are mounted on the door itself with the latch being mounted on the door frame. They can usually be deadlocked from the inside, but more secure versions can also be deadlocked from the outside with a key.
They are considered to be less secure than mortice locks or multi-point locks. Many insurers want you to have additional security, like a mortice lock, if this type of lock is on your front door.
With casement and uPVC windows, you'll probably find locks on the handles of the window or at the top and bottom of the window.
With sash windows there's often a central locking bolt and two side bolts that allow you to open the window to let the air in, but not enough to allow a burglar to get in.
Which types of house locks are best for my home?
That depends on:
- Where you live – house, flat, countryside, urban
- The type of policy you have
- Your insurer
- Existing security measures
Read through your home insurance policy to find out exactly which locks are the minimum security requirements for your insurer.
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