It is common practice for homeowners to leave a spare set of keys with family, friends or neighbours in case they lose theirs, or get locked out.
However, homeowners need to be aware that by doing so, they could be invalidating their home insurance policies. Even losing keys – to doors, windows, sheds and garages – could have a negative impact.

If your home is burgled as a result of crooks happening upon a concealed key, or via a key left with a trustworthy associate, by definition they gain access to your property by simply letting themselves in. This means that the burglary will leave no sign of forced entry – and most home insurance policies demand that there are obvious signs of forced entry before a claim can be lodged.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) states that a break-in involving a key that has been lost, stolen or handed to a third party will be treated as an act of deception, not theft, meaning burglaries committed under such circumstances are not covered by standard home insurance policies.

If you review your home insurance policy, it may well specify some examples that qualify as ‘forced entry’, such as smashed windows, broken locks, forced doors and the like. Sadly, if this test is not met, it’s almost certain that a home insurance claim will be rejected – and the policy holder will have to fit the entire bill for replacing stolen goods, and repairing any damages inflicted by a burglar.

Source: Your Money (published 11 May)