This REALLY worries me but what can I do???

Dear all,


I've just seen this article on the MSN Homepage:


http://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/homesandproperty/from-locks-picked-by-burglars-to-cars-stolen-by-potential-buyers-the-loopholes-insurance-firms-are-increasingly-using-to-reject-claims/ar-AAxZAYy


So the bottom line is (I've checked my Aviva policy) that if there is no sign of violent or forcible entry, any theft claim to my property would be declined.


Of course, I understand why the exclusion is there. I mean why should an Insurance company pay out if I've left my door open or left a key under a plant pot... left spare keys with friends or left windows wide open etc.


However, if I've done absolutely everything possible to prevent a burglary why should I be penalised if say my door lock is picked?


I mean for a small sum you can buy all the necessary tools to learn to gain entry, including skeleton keys, off eBay. There's lots of downloadable guides/videos. Also, for a few hundred pounds you can do a Locksmith's course (no background checks) which last 3 or 4 days.


It really upsets me that if my property is burgled by somebody who has learned to pick locks like a locksmith (or even a rogue locksmith!) I would not be covered and I could potentially loose everything.


Aviva, and indeed ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES... how is this peace of mind?

Replies

  • societys_childsocietys_child Forumite
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    Fit ABS locks, your average lock bumper/ picker will move on to easier pickings. An alarm may also help, as it goes some way towards proving illegal entry.
  • Fit ABS locks, your average lock bumper/ picker will move on to easier pickings. An alarm may also help, as it goes some way towards proving illegal entry.


    Thanks for taking your time to reply.


    I have ABS locks and I appreciate it will deter the 'average' picker but I've just Googled picking a ABS lock and there's a tool readily available for £99.


    Think I'll go down the Alarm route although I appreciate that it's still only a deterrent.


    I just want my insurance company to be there if I am indeed burgled by someone with the tools to gain entry.


    I just feel sorry for the hundreds of people where claims have been declined where locks have been picked.


    The Violent & Forcible entry Exclusion may have been relevant 20 years or so ago but in this day and age with all the guides, tools and sophisticated equipment readily available, this exclusion needs to be revisited!
  • Just rang my insurance company for Alarm advice.


    They also confirmed, irrespective of any Alarm or Security Measures I put in place... if there are signs that entry was gained via force I'm covered. If there are no signs then I'm not so basically someone with the right knowledge and tool could gain entry and I loose everything.


    Of course, such an event is unlikely but isn't this what insurance is all about?


    In an ideal world I would fit the best security money could buy then I wouldn't need contents insurance :-)
  • eddddyeddddy Forumite
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    It really upsets me that if my property is burgled by somebody who has learned to pick locks like a locksmith (or even a rogue locksmith!) I would not be covered and I could potentially loose everything.

    According to the financial ombudsman...
    The courts have decided that force need not involve the use of physical violence. For example, simply turning a handle or opening a shut door may be considered as forcible entry. On a fair and reasonable interpretation of the policy terms and conditions as a whole, I consider that the act of an unidentified thief entering the car and removing Ms R’s equipment from it would constitute a “forcible entry”.

    Link: http://www.ombudsman-decisions.org.uk/viewPDF.aspx?FileID=38979


    Also, in relation to lock picking, it seems that the court of appeal decided...
    Calf v The Sun Insurance Office (1920) the Court said:

    “If a person turns a key he uses force but not violence. If he uses a skeleton key, he uses force but not violence. If on the other hand, instead of using a key, he uses a pick-lock or some other instrument or a piece of wire, by which as a lever he forces back the lock, it appears to me that he uses force and violence.”

    Link: http://www.certifiedclaims.co.uk/did-you-know/forced-and-violent-entry.html
  • garth549garth549 Forumite
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    ^^

    I've worried about this too in the past but I guess that's re-assuring!

    IMO insurers should be forced to re-word policies to cover any 'unauthorised' entry provided you've not been negligent (eg with your keys or left a window open)
  • forgotmynameforgotmyname Forumite
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    How many burglars are going to do a locksmith course or buy a decent set of lockpicking tools when a good shove will open a lot of doors far quicker, or failing that break a window.

    If they have the knowledge and skill then there are surely better pickings than your average home.
    Censorship Reigns Supreme in Troll City...

  • ChickenlipsChickenlips Forumite
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    Calf v The Sun Insurance Office (1920) ruling:

    !!!8220;If a person turns a key he uses force but not violence. If he uses a skeleton key, he uses force but not violence. If on the other hand, instead of using a key, he uses a pick-lock or some other instrument or a piece of wire, by which as a lever he forces back the lock, it appears to me that he uses force and violence.!!!8221;

    Force and violence don't mean what you would expect them to. Force and violence against a person conjures up several graphic images.

    In terms of inanimate objects, it simply means overcoming locks by means other than the intended key(s) would be considered forcible and violent.

    Simply pushing the door open on using a door handle can be considered force.

    Unless the policy defines the level of force and violence required, you just need to demonstrate minimal force and violence.
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