insurance from Sutcliffe & Co

Securing your property during hot weather

With the continuing period of hot weather many people are trying to cool down by opening windows both at home and at work, but how will that impact your insurance? If a burgler comes in through an open window will you be covered?

We have taken a look at a wide range of household and commercial policies and the guidance is surprisingly lacking.

Commercial polices tend to be stricter, only covering theft if there has been a forceful or violent entry. Conversely household policies seem to be more generous, as long as you are not being reckless.

One common thread is that you must take all reasonable steps to avoid loss or damage and take reasonable steps to safeguard your property. This seems like fair common sense but how one insurance company interprets this compared to another is unclear.

A frequent requirement is that whilst everyone is out, all ‘accessible’ windows should be closed and secured with key operated locks. ‘Accessible’ commonly means ground floor windows or windows that can be accessed from a neighbouring building, flat roof or similar. But we have also seen some insurance companies say that drain pipes and vegetation could make a window accessible.

What if you are at the property but perhaps outside in the garden, can you leave accessible windows open? Again there is some ambiguity: some insurance companies are clear that they will or will not cover you, others leave the question unanswered.

How about during the night, is it permissible to sleep with windows open? Some insurance companies state that windows can be left open in occupied bedrooms, which implies the rest of the windows must be shut. Other insurance companies are silent on the matter.

So what should you do? Our recommendation would be to use a reputable insurance company that is more likely to pay claims and use the services of a broker who can assist you obtaining the cover that is right for you and can explain the details within the policy.

Most importantly: take time to understand your insurance so you know what is covered and what is expected of you.

Duncan Sutcliffe
Director, Sutcliffe & Co - Worcester