Don’t drop your guard in the summer burglary season

Traffic jams on roads to the coast, cremated barbecue food and shirtless supermarket-goers – just some of the things that annoy me about British summers. But at least we can get outside in the garden and enjoy a bit of sun.

It’s also great to be able to throw open your windows and doors as the weather gets warmer, even if it does mean inviting in the flies, bees and wasps. Unfortunately, it’s not just insects that are attracted to your home though, as opportunistic thieves tend to ramp up their activity during summer.

Unforced entry

If a burglar does get into your home through an open door or window, your claim could be turned down because many policies include a clause stipulating that you must take “reasonable care” of your property and possessions.

Different insurers and policies will deal with unforced entry claims in different ways, but whether you know your insurer’s attitude to this point or not, you should always make it as difficult as possible for thieves to get in.

This means that if you’re outside of your home, no matter how short the duration or distance you’re away, you should secure your home properly by ensuring all doors and windows are locked.

If you’ve installed any special security equipment such as alarms or locks to lower your premiums, make sure you’re using them.

You should also be wary of leaving windows open on a hot night when you go to bed, thereby making the burglar’s job that much easier.

MoneySupermarket home insurance expert Hannah Skenfield said: “While insurance does provide cover for forced entry, leaving your home unprotected could potentially invalidate your insurance.

“Therefore it is worthwhile doing a round-robin of the house, especially during the summer, to ensure that you’ve closed your windows and not left it easy for burglars to capture your possessions.”

Top tips

The last thing you want is an uncooperative insurer after you’ve just been burgled, so here are some top tips to make sure you stay in their good graces…

  • If you’re not in your home or even if you’re out in the back garden, avoid leaving doors and windows open.
  • Make sure you don’t have any valuables or keys visible through any of your windows or doors.
  • If you must have the windows open, install restrictors which limit the amount the window can be opened.
  • Use automated time switches on lights and curtains to give potential burglars the impression you’re home when you’re out.
  • If you’re going on holiday or even just out for the day, ask a neighbour if they can park their car on your drive.
  • After a day in the garden, remember to put equipment and toys in a locked shed or garage overnight.

Extended holidays

Who wouldn’t love to get away for an extended holiday? Leaving work and Blighty behind for a month or more would be great, but watch out because it could leave you uninsured.

Check the small print of your home insurance policy and you may find a clause which states your unoccupied home is only covered for up to a maximum of 30 days. It’s worth checking and speaking to your insurer if you’re planning an extended holiday.

You might need to pay a bit extra to extend that coverage, but it would be cheaper than if your home were targeted by thieves and your insurer refused to pay out

Accidents happen

Burglars aren’t necessarily the only thing to worry about in the summer months, as there could be other people picking your pockets if your insurance isn’t up to scratch.

It’s not uncommon to see a trampoline in people’s back gardens these days, but have you ever spared any thought for the legal implications of owning one?

It’s hard to imagine anyone, let alone a guest, being this litigious – but if someone were to injure themselves on your trampoline in your garden, they could actually take legal action against you.

This doesn’t mean you have to draw up a liability waiver and get every guest to sign one, but you might want to consider adding legal expenses cover to your home insurance policy. This would cover your legal fees should someone take legal action against you.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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