Is your property open to burglary? What you must know

Ever gone out and left the front door wide open by mistake? It can happen to anyone and, hopefully, nothing is stolen.

But, suppose a burglar was passing by, saw the ‘invitation’ and ransacked your house?

This could pose a problem for your insurer. ‘’Most people probably don’t realise that there is a lot of variation in home-and-contents insurance policies and the circumstances they cover,’’ says Canstar’s Steve Mickenbecker.

‘’Some policies might cover you if you leave your front door wide open by accident, while others might require multiple locks.”

Canstar found one-in-six people admit to leaving their door open and unlocked at least sometimes when not at home.

The research was conducted to mark the launch of the company’s ‘Lock before you Leave’ campaign. It includes an online tool called www.canstar.com.au/lockbeforeyouleave that enables homeowners to check exactly what their home-and-contents policy will and won’t cover in the event of a burglary.

The research also found that a large proportion of residents are relaxed about home security with one fifth lacking security measures, such as an alarm, window locks or motion-activated lights.

Mickenbecker also recommends people keep a detailed inventory of their valuables. “Our research found that less than a third list their valuables for insurance purposes,’’ he said.

‘’Even if your insurer covers you in the event of a burglary, they usually want to see proof of ownership before paying compensation.’’

He advises an inventory along with proof of ownership. ‘’Without that you will be spending your time hunting around for invoices or photos and, ultimately, you may not receive full compensation.”

Other key findings

  • Survey respondents earning over $120,000 per annum took the most risks with almost a quarter of these households leaving their doors unlocked at least sometimes when not at home.
  • Victorians are the least cautious with almost a quarter not having any household security measures, whereas South Australian residents are the safest with just 12% of respondents not having any security measures.
  • NSW appears to be the most trusting state overall with 19% of respondents admitting to leaving doors unlocked at least sometimes when not at home.
  • Baby Boomers are most safety conscious and Gen Y emerged as the most carefree with almost a third (30%) of Gen Y respondents not having any security measures in their homes.

As part of the “Lock before you Leave” campaign, Canstar has compiled its top tips for safeguarding Aussie homes:

  1. Complete the online tool to check what you are covered for at www.canstar.com/lockbeforeyouleave
  2. Install an alarm
  3. Have outside sensor lights fitted
  4. Lock all windows and doors when leaving the house
  5. Draft a list of all your belongings for insurance purposes, preferably with a digital photo file as well

“Being burgled is distressing, whether you are covered or not. However, knowing what your home-and-contents insurance policy covers you for – and more importantly, what it doesn’t cover you for – is the key to ensuring that you minimise your financial loss,’’ Mickenbecker said.

‘’So, in addition to being safety-conscious at home, we also encourage people to be policy-conscious as well.”

staylor@propertyobserver.com.au

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