Do you live in a top 20 home theft hotspot?

Homeowners are being urged to be more vigilant when it comes to security, after the Association of British Insurers revealed 80,000 domestic burglary claims totalling £84 million were made last summer alone.

Research carried out by moneysupermarket.com has identified the top 20 hotspots for home theft insurance claims.

Although London households are the most likely to make a claim on their home insurance policy for theft, a Manchester postcode holds the top spot for the highest number of theft claims.

Moneysupermarket.com analysed over 1.1 million home insurance enquiries made on the site during 2009. Its research revealed that half of the top 20 postcodes that are most likely to make a claim for theft are in London – an increase of 100 per cent on 2008.

Manchester, Leeds and Bristol are all close behind, having 2 claims postcode areas each featured within the top 20, with Chorlton-Cum-Hardy in Manchester taking the overall top spot in the UK. Blackheath (SE3) and Hammersmith (W6) are the most ‘at-risk’ postcode districts in London for theft-related insurance claims.

Below is a list of the top 20:

The 20 UK postcode districts most likely to claim for theft on their home insurance:

 Postcode

Town

County/City

 Percentage

 M21

Chorlton-cum-Hardy

 Manchester

8.65%

SE3

Blackheath

London

8.17%

W6

Hammersmith

London

8.06%

N4

Finsbury Park

London

7.94%

LS8

Roundhay

Leeds

7.88%

NG6

Bestwood Village, Bulwell, Old Basford

Nottinghamshire

7.82%

M22

Wythenshawe, Northenden

Manchester

7.82%

W4

Chiswick, Gunnersbury, Turnham Green

London

7.74%

LS15

Austhorpe

Leeds

7.71%

SW11

Battersea

London

7.66%

N19

 Upper Holloway, Archway

London

7.62%

SL9 

 Gerrards Cross, Horn Hill

South Bucks

7.59%

SE1

 Southwark

London

7.55%

BS7

 Bishopston

Bristol

7.53%

BR3

 Beckenham

Greater London

7.49%

 BD10

 Apperley Bridge

Bradford

7.46%

 SE23

 Forest Hill, Honour Oak

London

7.43%

 N13

 Enfield

London

7.42%

 SW2

 Brixton

London

7.27%

BS6

 Redland, Montpelier

Bristol

7.27%

Results based on 1.13 million home insurance quotes on moneysupermarket.com for twelve months (full year 2009)
Percentage related to households affected by theft or burglary in that postcode district

Julie Owens, head of home insurance at moneysupermarket.com said: ‘Home is where the heart is and there’s no denying that having it burgled is an emotional and frightening experience.

“Major cities like London and Manchester and affluent areas are a target for criminals and the research highlights a broad mix of areas across the North and South of the UK so it is clear that no matter where you live, there is always a risk your home could become a victim of theft and it is therefore vital you have adequate home insurance cover in place, something many people still do not do’.

According to Owens, most insurers take on a blanket approach when it comes to calculating your annual premium. This means that even if your house has never been affected by crime or floods, your premium could be affected if the postcode that you live in has been affected in the past.

She says that this type of practice needs to change, as, if insurers were to evaluate houses on a case-by-case basis, then homeowners would receive potentially more competitive quotes based on their individual circumstances.

tbc
 

Top tips

Below are our top tips on how to keep your home safe from thieves:

  • Keep all items of value away from windows. This will ensure that anything of value is kept out of sight from an opportunistic thief.
  • Ensure that you lock all windows and doors before leaving the house. This might sound a bit of a no brainer, but by neglecting this simple measure you are effectively leaving the door wide open for thieves to come in and out. It will also make it more difficult for you to make a claim as there will be no signs of a forced entry.
  • Regularly check the state of your locks. It’s easy to forget that locks do not have an unlimited lifespan. If your lock has seen better days then this could make it easier for a thief to break in, so replace any older weaker locks with new ones. This could also drive down the cost of your premiums.
  • Don’t leave items of high value lying around the house. If a thief does enter your property they aren’t going to want to stick around for long, so will grab anything in site that may be of value to them. By storing away high value items such as jewellery, laptops, cameras and MP3’s, they are more likely to walk away empty-handed.
  • Install a good home security system. An approved and professionally maintained alarm will not only make your home more secure but it could also make your premiums lower. Some insurers will offer a security discount if you have an alarm or other professionally maintained security system installed.
  • Time your lights. Set your lights to come on a various intervals when you are away to make your home appear occupied.
  • Cancel any unnecessary deliveries. Make sure milk or newspapers won’t be delivered you are away. You should also ask a neighbour or someone you trust to open and close curtains and collect mail for you until you return.
  • Don’t leave keys in obvious places. Thieves may watch your property before breaking in and if they can see that you hide your keys under a door mat, this will give them an easy way in. Also beware of ‘hook and crook’ thieves who will hook your keys through a letterbox if they are left close enough to your door.
  • Install security lighting. Not only will this make your property safe for your visitors it will also put off any potential thieves – they are less likely to hang around your property if they are in full view of everyone.

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