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22 Oct 2018

Burglary rises when the clocks go back: is your home at risk?

Does your home insurance cover burglaries?

Burglary claims on home insurance rise by over a third when the clocks go back, new research suggests, leaving many homes at risk when daylight saving time comes to an end.

Homeowners have been warned to take extra caution ahead of the expected increase in break-ins when the clocks go back this weekend.

Here, we take a look at how to reduce the risk of your home being burgled and whether your home insurance will cover your burglary claim.

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Why do burglary claims rise when the clocks go back?

New data from The Co-op Insurance revealed that burglary claims increase by 34% when the clocks go back.

Claims data since 2013 show a consistent spike in the number of households targeted by burglars during the five months of shorter daylight between November and March.

Burglaries were more likely to be targeted raids involving forced entry during the winter months, The Co-op found, with criminals acting under the cover of darkness.

In the summer, break-ins are more likely to involve deception and be more opportunistic, withsummer holiday season more likely to leave homes at risk.

Homes in Guilford are the most likely to be burgledin the UK while properties in Bideford, North Devon, are the least likely to be targeted by criminals.

Does home insurance cover burglaries?

Most home insurance policies will cover you if your home is burgled, but there are limitations whichcould lead to your claim being rejected.

Some of the scenarios that may catch you out include:

Security failures

Most home insurers require your home to be protected by a minimum level of security.

Generally, this would include deadlocks on external doors and locks on accessible windows. If you forget to lock your doors while popping to the shops, for example, your home insurer may reject your claim.

A staggering 1.9 million people regularly leave their door unlocked when they leave the house, according to new research from MoneySuperMarket, meaning that a large number of homes may not be protected by insurance.

Investing in more robust security systems, such as burglar alarms and cameras, can help reduce your premium. But they must be in proper working order - your claim could be rejected if you forget to set your security alarm before going to bed, for example.

High-value items

High-value items, such as phones, laptops, and jewellery, are often sought after by thieves, but may not be automatically covered by your home insurer.

Depending on your home insurance policy, you may need to get additional cover to protect items above a certain value. If you are under-insured, your home insurance provider may reject your claim or pay out less than the value of your lost item.

Long trips

Most home insurance policies specify that your home should not be left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days.

If a burglary takes place while your home is empty for a period longer than 30 days - due to an extended holiday for example - your claim may be rejected. Some insurers may allow you to put extra cover into place while you're on an extended trip but be sure to check with your provider first.

It's really important that you double check the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy, as well as updating your home insurer of any changes to your circumstances, to ensure that you have the cover you need.

When do the clocks change?

The clocks will go back an hour at 2am on Sunday, 29 October this year.This will move us from British Summer Time (BST) back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

They will go forward again at 1 am on 31 March 2019, which means that there will be less light in the mornings and more light in the evenings.

The clocks change during the weekend in the early hours of the morning to limit potential disruption to businesses and schools.

Why do the clocks change?

Setting the clocks back an hour was first suggested by theAmerican inventor, Benjamin Franklin, in 1784 while he was in Paris. Franklin claimed that if people woke when it was lighter outside, then it would save on candles.

It wasn't until 1907 when builder William Willett, the great-great-grandfather of Coldpay'sChris Martin, brought the idea to the UK. He argued that if the clocks went forward in summer, it would save on energy costs and give people longer to enjoy their evenings.

Martin published a leaflet called 'The Waste of Daylight', which encouraged people to get out of bed earlier.

The British government eventually introduced the idea of daylight savings time in 1916 under the Summer Time Act.

Finding the best home insurance

Whether you're looking for your first home insurance policy or it's time to renew, these simple tips will help you find the best home insurance deal.

It's really common for people to miscalculate the value of their possessions, either taking out a policy that doesn't provide adequate protection or paying too much for a level of cover they don't need.

Using a valuation calculator before you start looking for policies can help you get a more accurate idea of how much cover you'll get for your belongings.

Next is to start shopping around.Price comparison websites are a great way to compare lots of deals quickly.

Don't just go for the cheapest offer though, as it may not actually provide you with the right level of cover.

Finally, read the terms and conditions of potential policies carefully. If you're unsure about anything, get in touch with the provider for clarification.

Once you've agreed to the terms and conditions of a policy, making a home insurance claim for things that are excluded will be impossible.

To help you find the best insurer, we've analysed the standard contents insurance and buildings insurance policies of more than 30 providers, and combined it with feedback from thousands of customers to produce impartial home insurance provider reviews.

You can also find some more tips in the short video below.