The promise of a sunny day brings with it a high state of excitement and relaxation in a country where the summer months don’t come with a guarantee of hot weather. Dusty BBQs are dragged out of sheds, picnics are back, and windows and doors are thrown open to welcome the summer breeze. Therein lies the security problem, and the perfect opportunity for thieves. Even if you don’t forget to close a window at night, bolder criminals might even take advantage of easy access to your valuables in broad daylight.
North Yorkshire Police offer the following advice to avoid a theft in warmer weather:
Keep the front and back doors locked and windows closed as much as possible, also on cars.
If windows are open, keep them on the latch so that they cannot be opened further from outside.
Keep valuables and keys out of sight and well away from front or back doors where they may be easily reached.
Keep side gates locked.
Put away garden tools, ladders etc. after use so they cannot be used to gain access.
Use a strong lock on sheds, garages and other outbuildings and bolt hinges on for additional security.
Consider fitting outdoor security lighting.
Keep an eye on neighbouring properties.
If you see anything suspicious contact police on 101.
Remember that if you are a victim of theft but there is no sign of break-in as the thief has gained access through an open window, you may be unable to claim. Check your home insurance policy details for more information.
Spring is creeping ever closer and it will soon be time for the clocks to move forward to summer time. For many, the increased daylight hours and rising temperatures will be the signal to dust off the lawnmower, dig out the patio furniture and fire up the barbeque. But are you sure that all your garden gear is safe from opportunists?
The criminal hit list
According to research by Lloyds Market Home Insurance, valuables such as patio furniture and garden tools rank high on the hit list of opportunistic thieves, but too many of us fail to secure such expensive items. As a result, last summer there was a 12% increase in the number of unforced burglary claims made to the insurer compared with the winter months. The average claim added up to around £900, which is not an insignificant sum.
Claims are also likely to get more expensive: according to Lloyds Bank Insurance’sBritain at Home Report, UK households spend around £366 every year on garden items, with those aged 25-34 spending over double this amount (£747). Such spending is on the rise, with 33% of homeowners questioned saying that they spend more money on their gardens now than five years ago.
However, despite our growing love of gardens and garden furniture, over a third of respondents admitted that they have no secure lock for their garden, while a quarter (24%) confessed that none of their outdoor items was insured. This could mean that many homeowners face the possibility of forking out a large sum of money to replace stolen items.
Commenting on the research, Tim Downes of Lloyds Bank Insurance said: “We know that the majority of thefts from gardens and sheds are opportunistic, so it is worrying to see so many people leaving themselves exposed by investing in gardens without adequate insurance.
“When it comes to protecting our properties, homeowners must remember that what’s on the outside also counts, so taking some small easy steps could help prevent having to stump up for lost garden goods should the worst happen.”
Keeping garden items safe
So how can you deter thieves from helping themselves to your expensive garden goodies? Here are our top tips for keeping all your outdoor items safe.
Lock it. Invest in a secure lock to bolt up your garden shed, garage, gates and outhouses. It’s also a good idea to check your fencing for gaps, and to see whether anyone could push past your garden bushes.
Make it heavy. Loading the base of your patio furniture can make it harder for thieves to carry it away – use stones or bricks to make them weighty enough.
Mark it. Take photos of all of your furniture and outdoor items, and then make sure you write your postcode on everything. This way, you will be able to identify what’s yours if it goes missing, or it could deter someone from carrying it off in the first place.
Form a fortress. If you can’t block access to your garden with a locked gate, then using spiky plants or building high walls can help to put opportunists off.
Use gravel. A gravel path in the front of your home can make a stealthy approach much more difficult.
Put it away. Leaving BBQ’s, lawnmowers and bikes out in full view is asking for trouble – lock them away out of sight. Remember that garden tools and ladders could be used to break into your property.
Insure it. Last but not least, insure valuable items. Replacing stolen goods can be an expensive business if your items aren’t protected, so save yourself the hassle by topping up your home insurance.
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Whatever type of insurance you’re looking for, arranging your cover through an independent insurance broker – rather than a do-it-yourself price comparison site – is your best bet when it comes to finding the right level of cover at the right price.
On the face of it, price comparison sites offer great deals, especially when cost is the main consideration. But dig a bit deeper, and there are lots of reasons why using a broker can prove a very wise choice. The main benefits include:
you’ll get truly independent advice from the professionals
they’ll work hard on your behalf and shop around to get you the best deal
experienced staff with specialist knowledge of their chosen insurance sector
a broker knows the insurance market and recognises when you’re getting value for money and can negotiate on your behalf
you get personal advice and support, and have an insurance expert “in your corner” with your best interests in mind
you can ask questions, air concerns and get advice and recommendations – but still have the final say
you learn about the pros and cons of each option in a way you can understand
unlike an agent, an insurance broker deals with many companies, not just one, so they can find you the best value
insurance brokers are extremely well qualified, and must meet very high professional standards
in-house claims support is available if the worst happens
The personal touch
There’s nothing quite like dealing with someone who takes the time to get to know you and your circumstances. Independent insurance brokers provide that personal touch. At the same time, customers still benefit from competitive rates and some of the best deals that the broker can negotiate because of their established relationships with the UK’s leading insurers.
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Here at CiSL we take great pride in assisting our customers from point of renewal right up until resolution of a claim. For more information on what we offer visit: http://www.cisl.co or call one of our Brokers today on 01737 377250