Insurance tip: have your main door-lock approved by the insurance

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My esteemed German broker colleague, Matthias Helberg ( http://www.helberg.info/blog/ ) has written an interesting tip for his clients at this blog  that I also want to share with you.

 

If you have a content insurance, i.e. an insurance that will cover loss of property and/or damage/vandalism in case of someone breaking into your place (apartment or house), the insurance can reduce or reject your claims if you have made it too easy for burglars to get in.

So, unlocked windows or doors are such cases where the insurance company will dispute your claims. If there is no sign that the burglar needed to use force or anything like that to get entry to your place, you'll always find yourself in a bind as the insurance will claim that you have not secured your place properly before leaving and thus anabled the burglar to get in easy and thus basically "invited" him to do so.

 

Also, if and when you lock your main entrance door, turn the key twice because only then it is fully locked - and it is easy to see if it was not properly locked afterwards.

 

All this should be known to most people already. But what many don't know is that certain locks at the main entrance door are not considered safe at all by the insurance company and can thus also lose you your chance of full reimbursment in case of break-in.

 

Such a very old kind of key/lock is considered entirely unsafe - if your door-lock looks like this, have it replaced ASAP because the insurance will not pay after break-in or only a fraction of the loss/damage.

altes-schloss.thumb.jpg.abc96a1a1a2b5657

 

the following lock is already more modern - but the faceplate is screwed on from the outside and can thus also be easily removed be losing the screws from the outside (which then allows access to the actual lock. Therefore it is also not considered safe by insurance companies

zylinderschloss-beschlag-abschraubbar.th

 

This is how a good modern lock should look like to be fully acceptable by insurance standards today:

zylinderschloss-beschlag-nicht-abschraub

 

However, even with these modern locks there is a question remaining that can be critical for the insurance company in case of a break-in and claim for loss/damages of your property: is the lock barrel actually flush mount or not?

Why is this important: if a lock barrel is not flush mounted, a burglar can gain purchase with a heavy-duty forceps/pliers and simply wrench out the lock (see how this works in a German video here:

 

Therefore it is a crucial question if your lock is fully compliant with what YOUR insurance company accepts as safe or not.

Matthias Helberg took the picture below of a lock where the lock barrel is only slightly raised above the faceplate and asked several insurance companies for content insurance how they would consider this lock (safe and compliant or unsafe with danger of losing insurance coverage)

 

55c31df0b70ed_Zylinderschloss-bndig_oder

 

Insurance A replied: this lock is not safe according to our terms and conditions for content insurance

Insurance B replied: this lock is considered to be sufficiently flush-mounted by us and thus considered safe accorting to our terms and conditions

Insurance C replied: we can only accept max. 2 mm raise above the faceplate - therefore this lock barrels with obiously more than 2 mm raise is not considered safe by us

Insurance D replied: we only accept lock-barrels that are entirely flush-mounted - this lock barrel is not safe

Insurance E replied: we accept lock-barrels with a raise of up to max 5 mm over the faceplate. Please make sure this lock-barrel is not raised more than 5 mm to be within the parameters of 

                                 our terms and conditions

 

 

So, as you can see from the different replies, the same lock-version can generate very different replies (and thus risk-assessment) by different insurance companies.

Therefore I can only strongly recommend that you take pictures front and side of your main door lock and send them to your current content insurance to get their approval (or not ) if your lock-barrel is not absolutely flush-mounted.  You can do this directly or ask your insurance agent or better even your independent insurance broker to do this for you.

Once you have the reply you'll know if you are good to go as it is or if you need to have someone change your lock (and if it is a rented place, tell your landlord about this and have him change the lock accordingly).

 

Hope this info will help you guys to avoid unpleasant surprises after travelling or being out of house and suffering a break-in on top of the actual shock and damage from having your insurance not paying out at all or only a fraction of your losses.

 

If you want to know more about what a modern content insurance should offer or if you like to get advice on setting up one or changing your existing one for a better coverage, check out the info on our website here: http://www.crcie.com/insurance/content-insurance-house-apartment/

 

Cheerio

 

 

Pictures and content of this info by courtesy of Matthias Helberg, an excellent independent German insurance broker in 49074 Osnabrück - thank you, Matthias !

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Are the annual premiums reduced if your locks don't conform to the insurance companies arbitary rules?

Nope. It is called an Obliegenheitsverletzung - and that is then your very own problem, I am afraid.  Normally there have to be some serious cases of neglegence so that the insurance won't pay at all. But even a part-reduction of payouts because of an insufficient lock can be painfull to your wallet.

 

When in doubt, have your insurance Ts&Cs checked for you by your agent/broker and or have your main door lock approved by the insurance company.

 

Cheerio

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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How do they know if the barrel was flush after it has been removed by a criminal?

Well, if the lock-barrel was wrenched out with pliers, it can only have happened if the lock was not flush-mounted. 

I mean, more often the burglars will simply stomp-in the door (which is very effective if only locked once) but they will always go for the easiest way and that can be using foreceps/pliers.   If the lock barrel was flus, the pliers can get not purchase/grip at all. If they yank-out the entire lock including faceplate, then of course you have no troubles with the insurance company.

 

Cheerio

 

 

PS: here are some interesting cases about when insurance companies disputed their liabilty to pay because of neglegence on the side of the insured person: http://www.abus.com/ger/Ratgeber/Recht/Gerichtsurteile

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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I didn't actually expect them to. But insurance companies are well known for being very keen to take peoples money and then do their best not to comply with their side of the deal. They should all be forced to wear stripey jumpers and masks instead of pinstriped suits.

 

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Criminals have a lot of tools other than pliers. The last time our car was broken into, they used something that the cops who came called a "Polish key". (Not my term - came from the Polizei) They insert this tool into the lock and then punch it out. I would liken it to a similar tool that Himself had made to pull out the impeller on our boat motor for replacement. Or what an old boyfriend used to pull the transmission on his Saab. I'm a girl, don't know what it's called. It would probably pull out the faceplate as well.

 

Will get our lock checked when we get home.

 

Thanks for the tip!!!

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