Locks and Insurance Compliance: How to Ensure your Cover is Valid
By Orlando Barry
Sep 16, 2017
Last month we discussed the importance of adhering to warranties set out by your buildings and contents insurer, many of which are connected to security measures.
We talked in detail about how these warranties, otherwise known as conditions of the insurance policy, can stipulate that an intruder alarm is fitted and used, but we also mentioned that insurance providers will make it a specific requirement that certain types of locks are in place.
Bearing in mind that failure to comply with warranties on an insurance policy can result in refusal by the provider to pay out on a claim; the importance of understanding the stipulations is clearly evident.
In this post, we are therefore going to focus on the subject of locks and insurance so that you are armed with enough information to ensure you are compliant with typical insurer demands.
Minimum Levels of Security
Insurance providers demand a minimum level of security. This includes locks on all exterior doors and usually ground floor windows. Generally, the more secure the locks, the higher level of discount the policy will carry.
Whilst it may seem obvious that providing the insurer with honest information is essential, the reality is that this is not always the case. Research conducted by GoCompare in August 2014 revealed that 12 per cent of people guessed or withheld information concerning the types of locks they had fitted on their doors and windows.
When providing information to an insurer, it is by far the best course of action to be upfront and truthful. If you are at all unsure as to whether your locks comply with the stipulated requirements, then you should discuss it with the insurer, and take advice from a professional security company. Always remember that failure to comply with insurance warranties will render a policy invalid.
Door Lock Compliance
Generally, insurers require main entry doors to be fitted with a five-lever mortice deadlock conforming to British Standard BS3621. This is the most commonly known standard applying to door locks.
A BS3621 lock will always be stamped with the British Standard 3621 Kitemark which will normally be found on the face plate of the locking mechanism.
BS3621 locks have the ability to be deadlocked and the key removed from both sides, meaning no one is able to gain access or exit the door without a key once it is locked.
Locks conforming to this standard must be able to resist compromise from drilling for a minimum of five minutes using standard tools. The bolt must also be able to stand up to attack for up to five minutes by drilling or cutting. There should also be a mechanism present to resist picking of the lock, and when locked, the bolt must project a minimum of 20mm into a full bodied steel keep.
French or patio doors will usually be required to be fitted either with a multi-point locking system; a central rail key operated lock, or a top or bottom lock. Insurer requirements will vary, so be sure to check them carefully.
Window Lock Compliance
Most insurance providers demand that all ground floor or basement level windows are fitted with key operated locks, and that these locks should be in use when the property is vacated or during the night.
These locks are usually fitted on the handle of the window, although this does vary according to the type of window and its age and style.
Any windows capable of being opened from the outside, such as those on a first floor looking over a flat roof, should be protected by locks. This includes roof lights and skylights.
It can’t be reiterated enough that no lock, however secure it may be, will ever be a means of defence unless it is actually used. Insurers will not pay out in the event of a claim unless the lock was in use at the time of the incident. If an intruder gained access through an unlocked door or window, the claim will more than likely be rejected.
Another important thing to remember is that, if you employ robust security measures, there will be less likelihood of you having to make a claim in the first place.
Insurance Compliant Locks: Expert Assistance on Hand
Barry Bros Security is Master Locksmith Association (MLA) and Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) accredited with all works meeting both British and European standards. We provide a full lock supply, fitting, repair and maintenance service across London.
If you are seeking to ensure your door and window locks comply with the conditions of your home or business insurance cover, why not get in touch or drop in to our London showroom for expert advice? We’re only too happy to help and our specialist locksmiths are on hand to provide the assistance you need.