Protecting Your Home
Period Property UK has teamed up with specialist independent broker La Playa to offer specialist insurance advice for period home owners and cover for their buildings and contents including antiques and fine art.
With La Playa you'll have a single named point of contact - you won't be passed from pillar to post. You'll enjoy an exceptionally personal service, expert advice, individually tailored cover and first class claims handling.
Managing risk properly brings peace of mind, and could even reduce your insurance premium.
Locks: Ensure external doors have 5 lever mortice locks or British Standard equivalent. Ground floor and any other accessible windows should have key operated locks fitted.
Panic buttons: Consider these as a minimum next to the front door and in the master bedroom.
BT Redcare: The most effective form of monitoring for your alarm system. While a standard telephone line could be cut and no response made, BT Redcare monitors the telephone line 24 hrs a day and can detect an attempt to compromise that connection. If you are vulnerable to loss of telephone lines through bad weather, the Redcare system can be supported by a dual technology system that provides a combination of telephone and radio signaling. This method can also filter out false alarms and the possible withdrawal of Police response.
Fire alarms: If you have an intruder alarm linked to a central monitoring station, think about upgrading it to incorporate smoke detectors and trigger an alert to the local fire station too. The additional cost is minimal for the extra peace of mind. If you don't have a monitored fire alarm, use battery or electrically linked smoke detectors (also available wire-free). Fire blankets and extinguishers should be considered.
Wiring: Faulty electrical wiring and appliances cause most fires in older properties. To reduce fire risks in modern, old or historic properties, all electrical installations should be regularly checked by a qualified electrician every 5 years.
Safes: Protect jewellery and valuable documents with a freestanding or underfloor safe - with an appropriate rating for the jewellery value.
Going away security checklist
- Join Neighbourhood Watch
- Cancel milk and papers
- Time switches for lights
- Neighbour to call in regularly
- Valuable items in safe deposit
Tracing stolen valuables
Where appropriate, use an ultra-violet pen to mark your postcode on portable valuables. The following services and the Art Loss Register are especially useful for items of great personal importance - the things that couldn't be replaced:
IDENTIDoT apply unique property marking dots to paintings, furniture, ceramics etc - all but invisible to the naked eye. They now also offer DNA marking. La Playa clients benefit from discounts of 10-20%. See their website at www.identidot.com.
Invaluable Protector is a tracing service for stolen items - particularly art and antiques. Stolen valuables registered with Invaluable are subject to an extensive search via international auction houses, police, antique dealers, private collectors etc. This maximises the chances of successful recovery. See www.invaluable.com.
Gardens are now key theft targets.
- Make a garden inventory: include valuable plants and fish, statuary, urns, machinery (sit-on mowers etc), statues, ornaments, water features.
- Manage the risk: lock sheds and garages. Chain up ladders, which could be used to access upstairs windows. Mark valuables - ideally by etching the surface. Postcode-mark cycles. Secure statues and other movable objects. Consider security lighting and a wire-free alarm system (eg: Artguard) or connecting to the house alarm. Remember, high front hedges provide good cover for thieves.
Know your worth!
A proper valuation and documentation will save a lot of heartache when it comes to a claim. Consider taking photographs of important pieces in the home (indicate scale with a ruler). A room-by-room camcorder exercise is always useful - the recording should be kept in a fireproof cabinet or away from the home (at the office or bank).
About the author
Matthew Mullee heads La Playa's Private Homes division, and has a wealth of specialist knowledge in arranging insurance for period and listed buildings, as well as in household contents including fine art, jewellery and antiques. For more information and advice, contact Matthew.