Protecting Your Home

Protecting Your Home

Step up your home security and save

Investing in a combination of security and safety measures for your home is a sensible step both financially and emotionally. Our security advisers can help recommend the best solutions for you personally but as a starting point think about…

  1. Locks - Don’t take it for granted that your locks are robust. Check that external doors have 5 lever mortice locks or the British Standard equivalent. Ground floor and any other accessible windows should also have key operated locks fitted.
  2. Panic buttons - Consider placing these next to the front door and in the master bedroom for a discreet and easy way to instantly activate your alarm.
  3. Advanced alarm monitoring - The most effective form of intruder alarm monitoring is BT Redcare. It monitors the telephone line 24 hrs a day and can detect an attempt to compromise that connection. If you’re vulnerable to loss of telephone lines through bad weather or false alarms, the Redcare system can be supported by a dual technology system that combines telephone and radio signalling. Alarms can now be set automatically on leaving the house, avoiding issues with forgetting to set it.
  4. Fire alarms - If your intruder alarm is linked to a central monitoring station, think about upgrading it to incorporate smoke detectors and trigger an alert to the local fire station too. The additional cost is minimal for the extra peace of mind. If you don't have a monitored fire alarm, use battery or electrically linked smoke detectors (also available wire-free). Consider fire blankets and extinguishers too.
  5. Wiring - Faulty electrical wiring and appliances cause the most fires in older properties. To reduce that risk in any building all electrical installations should be checked by a qualified electrician every 5 years.

If the worst happens and someone breaks into your house, there are further steps you can take to give added protection to your most valued items.

  1. Safes - Protect jewellery and valuable documents with a freestanding or under-floor safe - with an appropriate rating for the jewellery value.
  2. SmartWater - A colourless liquid solution that is simply dabbed onto the uneven surfaces of your valuables. Each bottle contains a unique chemical ‘code’ which is registered to you – conclusively proving ownership. It cannot be easily seen by the naked eye and is almost impossible to remove. The liquid glows under ultraviolet light making it easy for the Police to detect.
  3. IDENTID•T - Apply unique property marking dots to paintings, furniture and ceramics - all but invisible to the naked eye. They now also offer DNA marking. This service and the Art Loss Register are especially useful for items of great personal importance - the things that couldn’t be replaced.

House Unoccupied?

  • Only tell trusted people you are away
  • Join Neighbourhood Watch
  • Cancel milk and papers
  • Timer switches for lights
  • Use a house-sitter or ask a neighbour to call in regularly
  • Get mail cleared and grass cut
  • Valuable items in safe deposit
  • Tune a radio to a talk station – audible from outside
  • Put car keys in the safe or with a friend
  • Put a friend’s name on the baggage labels…but tell them!
  • Set a new alarm code for people looking after your property – don’t give them yours
  • Beware your lift to the airport - unscrupulous cab drivers are a source of intelligence for burglars!
  • It can be easy to overlook garden and outbuilding security and this is perhaps why they are now considered an easy target for thieves. The good news is just a few simple actions can make a big difference:

Garden Security

  • Make a garden inventory and take photographs: include valuable plants and fish, statuary, urns, machinery (ride-on mowers etc), statues, ornaments, water features.
  • Lock sheds and garages
  • Chain up ladders, which could be used to access upstairs windows
  • Mark valuables – ideally by etching the surface
  • Postcode-mark cycles
  • Secure statues and other movable objects
  • Consider security lighting and a wire-free alarm system (eg: Artguard), or connecting to the house alarm. Remember, high front hedges provide good cover for thieves
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Matthew Mullee

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Email: matt.mullee@laplayainsurance.com

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