Spare keys lock homeowners out of insurance claims


Sometimes the Insurance Blogger wonders how anyone can ever make a successful insurance claim when so many exclusions in the small print work against consumers.

Handing out a spare key to a friend or neighbour is the latest to add to the list.

It’s bonkers but true that up to seven out of every 10 home insurance policies are at risk of failing to pay out because the policyholder has given out a key to someone else.

Whereas many property owners believe their home is their castle, home insurers are keen to find ways to stop pay outs, for instance:

  • Lloyds TSB and subsidiary Halifax will not cover for claims if the policyholder has their home damaged or possessions stolen if they have a party and there is no sign of forced entry
  • AA Home Insurance reject claims if a home is shared with a lodger, in common with many other insurers
  • Aviva will not replace stolen cash unless a burglar has forced entry to a home
  • Many home insurers turn down claims if home security is breached by building works, like a removed door or window left covered by a tarpaulin

Anyway, back to the keys. More than a third (37%) of homeowners admit having keys to other people’s properties.

Half the trusting Welsh let others have their house keys, compared to less than a third (31%) in the more reticent North East and North West.

Meanwhile 46% lose their keys and 16% of those admit they were drunk at the time.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “Clearly people should try to take care of their house keys and think carefully before giving spare keys out.

“Homeowners must be aware that if you make an insurance claim for theft from your home, and there are no signs of forced entry and you cannot account for your spare keys, your insurer may have reason to question the claim.”

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