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Does a key safe invalidate home insurance?

Key safes and home insurance

Kim Staples
Written by  Kim Staples
Alicia Hempsted
Reviewed by  Alicia Hempsted
5 min read
Updated: 08 Mar 2024

A key safe is a type of outdoor safe to store spare access keys to your home. While these safes have their benefits, they may also come with some risks, including the risk of invalidating your home insurance.

Why might I need a key safe?

There are a number of reasons why you might want a key safe or other system to grant access to people that don't have a key to the property.

It’s handy for letting family members, carers, and kids access the home, without having to give them a permanent key of their own.

It’s also ideal for giving access to people like cleaners, dog walkers, or tradespeople, so they can work even while you’re not at home.

Key safes are also often used by Airbnb hosts, holiday homes, and short term lets – but bear in mind it will invalidate your home insurance if you haven’t declared this.

Do key safes invalidate home insurance?

This all depends on your insurance provider and the specific policy you have with them. The best way to find out if the use of a key safe is covered by your home insurance is to check your policy documents or contact your insurer.

If you make a claim for theft on your home insurance, most insurers require evidence of forced entry to approve the claim. However, what is defined as 'forced entry' can become complicated when key safes are involved.

A number of insurance companies may reject a claim for theft if keys from a key safe were used to break into your home. Others may accept that a burglar breaking into a key safe counts as forced entry, and some will only accept your claim if you use a certain type of key safe, or one that meets particular security standards – more on that below.

Whether a key safe invalidates your insurance can also depend on how you use it. If your key safe is of an acceptable standard and is used correctly and safely, your claim is more likely to be accepted. But if it’s broken, poor quality, left open, or if too many people know the code, a burglary claim may get rejected.

Bear in mind, too, that if your key safe is for the use of paying guests – such as an Airbnb or sublet – standard home insurance won’t cut it. You’ll either need to take out a dedicated insurance or declare it on your home insurance.

Are key safes the best option?

In home insurance terms, it depends on what your policy says, and what you need a key safe for. But there are other options available to explore – all of which are considerably safer than just stashing a key in a plant pot or under a mat.

Before picking one, however, do check your insurance documents first.

Key safes

Key safes themselves are generally considered quite secure (if certified by certain independent security bodies), and can be used quickly and easily by anyone who knows the code. They’re also relatively cheap and easy to install.

However, they can be broken into, and rely on the use of a physical spare key.

Smart door locks and keyless entry systems

Locks that use smart technology or other keyless systems – for instance, using a digital code, fingerprint, key card, or app – are somewhat more secure. They also give you the option to only allow entry to someone once, and it’s quick and easy to change the code whenever you want.

On the down side, they’re a little more difficult to install, and require a power source too. Anything that requires an app will also add an additional barrier for people who don’t live there.

Video intercom systems

With a video intercom, you can grant access to your door remotely, often by using an app on your phone or other gadget – Amazon Ring is an example of this. The main benefit is that you can personally see who is trying to gain access, and remotely open the door yourself. They’re much more expensive than a basic key safe, however, and require extra steps to install.

Are there insurance-approved key safes available?

Yes, there are insurance-approved key safes on the market. Again, however, bear in mind that different insurance providers vary in what they approve.

Some things you can look out for in key safes include:

  • Secured By Design – This is an official police security initiative. These products meet the ‘Police Preferred Specification’, meaning the UK police officially considers them safe

  • Loss Prevention Standards (LPS) – The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) is a body that sets security standards. You can see products that meet their standards, and learn more about what each one means, on Red Book Live

  • Sold Secure – This is a testing and certification house for security products, including key safes

  • ISO accreditations – This means a product has been tested by an external, independent body, to meet certain standards

Finding home insurance that allows key safes

The only real way to find home insurance that allows key safes is to check providers’ individual policies.

You’ll also have a better chance of having a claim accepted if your key safe is approved by one of the organisations listed above, and if you’ve taken clear steps to keep it secure – such as by installing it away from the front door and out of public view, and regularly changing the access code.

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