15 Nov 2017 More than one in 10 Brits had to move home after being burgled, according to new research by home insurer Policy Expert.
The survey of 4,525 adults, which reveals the true cost of burglary, also found that a third had difficulty sleeping after the incident and almost 8% admit they couldn’t be left alone in the property.
Approximately 2.7 million homes in the UK have been robbed and, of those surveyed, the most common way burglars broke in was through a window (38%). Just under a third damaged a door, and one in seven (13%) tampered with the locks.
Whilst you’re more likely to be burgled when out of the house, a fifth admitted the incident happened when they were at home asleep. More than a quarter were at work, 18% were out shopping or socialising, and one in six were on holiday, revealing the crucial need for effective home security.
Adam Powell, Head of Operations at Policy Expert, commented: “Protecting our homes and belongings is vital, and there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you are not a target for thieves. Opting for enhanced locks, windows and doors, or installing CCTV will help to avoid the chances of being burgled. Try and keep valuables, including keys and even Christmas presents, out of sight to avoid a potentially costly festive spell.
“In addition, while it may be tempting to post about holidays on social media, this might inadvertently advertise that your home is unoccupied. Burglars will typically go for smaller, more expensive items such as watches or jewellery, so check your single item limit and if you have a valuable that exceeds that, inform your insurer.”
Top tips from Policy Expert on protecting your home:
· Enlist the help of a housesitter or ask a trusted neighbour with a set of keys to check in on your house every now and again if you’re away for an extended period of time
· Install a timer to set lights inside your home to come on once it gets dark – choose a light in a visible room at the front of the house, not the hallway, as this will create the impression that someone is inside
· Invest in sensor-activated, external lighting for the garden and around the front of the home
· Install a burglar alarm – not only is this a visible deterrent, if someone does attempt to break in the alarm would alert neighbours and the police before any damage could be done
· Don’t leave curtains closed – during the day this makes it look like there’s no-one at home
· Make sure any outbuildings or sheds are locked and that any tools are hidden away – these could be used to break into your home
· Ensure any valuables are out of sight – remove the temptation and make sure these items cannot be seen from outside the house through the windows
· Never leave a spare key anywhere near the front door, for example under a doormat, flower pot – thieves know all the usual hiding places
· Similarly, don’t store house/car keys just inside your front door, as burglars could try to fish for the keys through the letterbox