Rising burglaries can increase home insurance costs

The number of domestic burglaries in Kingston has risen by 25 per cent in the 12 months to December 2011, almost three times the Greater London average, according to Metropolitan Police figures. This increase can have an adverse effect on the cost of home insurance for local homeowners.

“Insurers do calculate home premiums based on claims experience. If there is a spate of burglaries or, more particularly, a sustained increase in burglaries in a specific location, it is bound to have an effect on premiums for local residents,” said Ian Crowder, public relations manager of AA Insurance.

In October 2011, the AA British Insurance Premium Index (BIPI) indicated a rise of almost 8 per cent in the average combined (building and contents) home insurance cost for an owner of a semi-detached house in the KT1 postcode area. Other KT-postcode areas also saw a rise in the combined home insurance cost.

According to Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance: “The premium increases we have seen over 2011 reflect both past losses and concern about future claims.”

“I expect that by this time next year, home premiums will have risen (nationwide) by somewhere between 5 per cent and 10 per cent,” Mr Douglas added.

However, the increase in the number of residential burglaries will not automatically result in soaring premiums for careful Kingston residents. As Rebecca Holmes, Aviva’s senior media relation manager, said: “Home insurance policies are underwritten individually, depending on a range of different risk factors, not just crime rates.”

Mr Crowder mentioned measures residents can take to attract discounts and ensure successful claims. “Homeowners can help by installing security devices, making sure that they have advanced mortise locks on the main exit door and perhaps joining the local neighbourhood watch scheme.”

“It is important that doors and windows are locked when nobody is home. Access through an unlocked door or window is not likely to result in a successful claim,” Mr Crowder added.

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