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News Article

How spare keys could invalidate your home insurance

Published 2 April 2016 by

Where do you keep your spare house keys? Under a plant pot or doormat, close to the front door on a key hook or in a bowl? Or are they with your next door neighbour? Wherever you leave your spare set of keys, you may want to rethink this location as statistics from the police show that criminals could be using them to gain access to their victim’s homes.

But what does this mean for your home insurance? Will you still be able to make a claim if your home is broken into with a stolen, lost or hidden key? Let’s find out.

Where do you leave your keys?

According to research conducted last year, almost a third of Britons admit to leaving a spare key hidden on their property. Some of the most common places include under a plant pot, bin, doormat, rock or stone, or even under a garden ornament or gnome.

But these places are not the only ones targeted by burglars and with good reason. Almost one fifth of people say that they leave their keys close to the front door and in plain sight – for example in a bowl, on a table or on a key hook. These are all locations within reach of a criminal if they can navigate their way through a letterbox or open window.

The keys that you leave with your family, friends or neighbours might not be safe either. The research found that at least two keys are lost track of per household, meaning that there’s nearly 20 million house keys that are unaccounted for across the UK.

Will my home insurance be valid?

If your home is burgled, there’s no sign of forced entry and you can’t locate your spare set of keys, then it’s unlikely that your home insurance will pay out. Check your insurance policy document to read the details of this.

With this in mind, you should avoid leaving your spare keys in an obvious place – if you can see them easily, criminals will be able to as well. The same goes for keys that you have lying around the house – if you leave them in a bowl or hook them up, make sure they’re out of sight and unreachable from a letter box or window.

Something else that can work against you and invalidate your home insurance is posting on social media that you’re going away on holiday. Some insurers will now check people’s social media accounts following a break-in to see whether they announced that they were going away on Facebook or posted pictures in real-time. Most insurers have a ‘reasonable care’ clause in their contracts, so they don’t necessarily have to pay up if they can prove that the individual didn’t take enough care to protect their property or possessions.

For more tips on what information you shouldn’t give out on social media, read our blog.