Last updated: 01/09/2020
Best types of lock to keep your home secure
In this guide, we run through the main types of lock, how and why they’re used, and which one may be the best for you. We also take a look at the potential benefits in terms of reducing the cost of your home insurance premiums.
In This Guide:
The main types of lock
There is a lot of choice when it comes to picking the right lock/s for your house. Getting the right one will help you ensure the safety of your home and possessions, and can even save you money on your insurance. Here are the main types of lock on offer:
- Five–lever Mortice deadlock: These are the primary kind of deadlock. They offer reasonable protection to your main doors. The word ‘mortice’ refers to the cavity that is cut into the door, so these are usually found in wooden doors. Some five-lever mortice deadlocks conform to a safety standard known as BS3621 which is indicated by a kitemark and can have more complex safety features. They often come with extra features, for example night latches, hardened steel plates and anti-pick features.
- Rim automatic deadlatch with key-locking system: This lock attaches on the inside of the door. It’s unlocked with a key when accessing your house from the outside and can be locked inside via the use of a handle. It can be found on different kinds of doors and provides an extra layer of security.
- Key operated multi-point locking system: This system locks the door into the frame via a number of points. They are often found in UPVC and composite doors, common in modern houses.
How they affect your insurance
Home insurers will need to know what locks you have on any external doors when you apply for cover. The general rule is that the more secure your house is, the safer it is and so the less your home insurance provider will charge for your premiums. Fitting your house with a more comprehensive set of locks might seem like a big spend, but it can save you money in the long run. Here’s some pointers as to which locks could save you money.
As mentioned above, five-lever mortice deadlocks can come with a kitemark to confirm that they comply with British Standard BS3621. A lot of home insurance providers will demand that you have your doors fitted with BS3621 compliant deadlocks before they insure you, and some will reduce your premiums by up to 5% if they are certified with the kitemark – the savings can really add up over time.
The other viable option is multi-point locking systems for UPVC and composite doors. In particular, SS312 Diamond approved cylinders. Some insurers will check for these and may offer you cheaper premiums.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t rely on rim automatic deadlatches with key-locking handles. These should be used as an additional safety measure but not what you rely on to keep your home safe. Insurers will almost certainly refuse to insure you if this is the case.
What you need to lock up
Besides locking up your doors, insurers will almost always have conditions on locking up other parts of your house.
Many insurers will insist that all downstairs windows be fitted with a lock, preferably one that locks with a key. Locks can be fitted at the top or bottom of the windows, or most commonly in the handle. The same will apply to all accessible windows, including skylights and rooflights.
There are often strict requirements on how you lock up any sliding doors, French or patio doors. Top or bottom locks are common but not very secure, so it’s a good idea to make sure these doors are fitted with a different kind of lock, for example a multi-point locking system.
As always, it’s a good idea to carefully check the T & Cs for full details on what your policy provider requires.
Other things to know
Even if you do everything right when it comes to installing locks, your policy can still be invalidated. You must make sure that you always leave your house properly locked up otherwise your claim won’t be paid.
If your home is burgled, call the police first and then contact your insurer. They will usually ask you to provide evidence of forced entry along with a crime reference number that is issued by the police.
You should also let your insurer know if you’ll be leaving the property unoccupied for a period greater than is allowed by your policy, typically around 30 days, but it’s worth checking.
Pairing locks with a burglar alarm system is a great way to improve your security and possibly reduce your premiums.
You can also seek advice from locksmiths as to the best kind of lock and how to fit them. For example, when fitting locks in wooden doors, ensure that they are fitted at 90 degrees to the grain of the wood, this will stop the door splitting if forced.