Burglary - what you can do to protect yourself and your home
By Alexandra Richards, Private Clients Development Executive
Earlier this year, industry-wide figures revealed that alongside its title of being the Scottish nation’s capital city and seat of power, Edinburgh also is the burglary capital of Scotland. Homes in Balerno, Currie and Wester Hailes have seen the most break-ins with the EH4 area covering Dean Village, Comely Bank and the A90 to Barnton and Cramond following.
Michael Young, underwriter of high net worth homes in Scotland and expert in protecting your home from theft commented “At Hiscox, we have seen a spate of burglaries in Edinburgh and the Lothians. There has been no real pattern to this and the criminals do not care how they carry this out. Clients have had large amounts of valuables stolen in what seem like targeted attacks and we have seen gardening equipment and bicycles stolen from garden sheds. The best way of protecting yourself is to ensure you do all the things which are in your control to decrease the chance of you being the next victim.”
At Bruce Stevenson Private Clients we have seen thefts recently fall into two categories; thefts from outbuildings and thefts from homes whilst clients are away on holiday. For both, evident physical security measures are a must, but perhaps less obvious is being aware of what you are posting on social media. Photographs posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter of you on holiday can be hacked or viewed by undesirable prying eyes, alerting them to the fact that your home is unoccupied.
Andrew Davies, senior risk surveyor at AXA Art Insurance Limited always says treat security like an onion – starting with the outer perimeter layer (your boundary) then the layer around the house (locks and alarms) with further layers (safes, panic buttons, valuables such as cash distributed evenly around the house) until only finally do you reach the core. The more layers an intruder has to overcome, the harder it will be to break in, which will take longer and therefore they are less likely to try. For further information on security layers please read our top tips.
Many break-ins are carried by an opportunist. The thief hasn’t had to actually break in because a door or window has been left open or unlocked. Our clients have had their cars stolen because they have left car keys on a table near the front door. The thief has used a fishing rod or other long device through the letter box, lifted the keys and then made away with the car without any physical evidence of entry to the property.
As your broker, we ensure that your sums insured accurately reflect what you actually have and making sure your valuations are up to date. Insurance is a purchase that we make but hope not to use. Imagine for a moment that you have suffered a burglary. It is often a good way to focus your mind and think about how you evidence to the insurers or loss adjustors just what has been stolen.
Start by imagining you have to make a claim. It is hard to remember what was in a room, or outbuilding, which valuables were taken, their values and descriptions. Photograph your rooms, have professional up to date valuations of your collectables, jewellery and watches and ensure a copy is kept ‘off-site’ or digitally recorded somewhere that is accessible away from home. Insurance is there to put you back in the same financial position immediately prior to the loss. Having a valuation from the 1980’s for your jewellery and watch collection that has been stolen is going to fall woefully short of what the market value to replace those items today is.
If you would like some help with the security protections of your home we can help you. Please e-mail [email protected] or call 0131 553 2293 2293.