Still keep your keys under the flowerpot?

In an attempt to keep our homes safe we fit security lights and close blinds before going out – so why do we still undo all that hard work by leaving a set of spare keys outside? Whether it’s for their dogwalker, cleaner or mum, nearly 30% of Brits still regularly leave a key hidden outside their home. Thieves, who would rather not attract attention by smashing a window if they don’t have to, wised up to our hiding places long ago – the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says robbers look under doormats, flowerpots and loose bricks first. And with burglaries on the rise, it’s not worth chancing it. 55,824 robberies were reported in England and Wales in 2016, up 10% from the year before, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). What’s more, leaving your key under the doormat or in another unsecure location may invalidate your home insurance, leaving you without a payout from your insurer to replace lost items. An AXA spokesperson said, “most insurance companies will only pay out for items stolen from your home if they can see that someone forced or tricked their way in.” Insurance claims are assessed on individual circumstances so while your claim may be successful depending on your insurer, rounds of appeals could cause delayed payment – leaving you out of pocket. Where should you leave your keys? If you need to get your keys to a family member or friend, or just want a spare set in case you lose yours, there are some safer options.
  • Install a key safe Police-approved key safes require a code to open. Screwed to the outside of your house, these rugged devices are vigorously tested – only give the code out to people you trust, and change it regularly.
  • Choose a smart lock Available to buy online, smart locks are controlled by a mobile app – eliminating the need for a key at all. You’ll need to replace all your locks, but on the upside you can give access to trusted people.
  • Trust your neighbours If you have a trusted neighbour or nearby friend, leave a spare set of keys with them in case of emergencies.
Is your home insurance up to date? A quick review by Safeguard Insurance’s friendly team can help identify any gaps in your protection.


What’s in a name? Well for ‘new build’ housing estates, quite a lot, it seems.

According to recent study, developers are choosing to use names inspired by nature and country life for new residential builds, as buyers hunt for a taste of the countryside.

It would seem that names evoking a sense of natural beauty and heritage were more popular than urban-sounding titles. Rural-sounding monikers ‘Park’, ‘Green’ and ‘Gardens’ come top of the list for builders, while ‘Manor’, ‘Grange’ and ‘Court’ offer a sense of heritage and history.

Conducted by My Home Move, the research looked at over 400 developments from the UK’s Top 5 housebuilders. Mark Snape, Corporate Distribution Director of My Home Move said: “We are known the world over as a nation of home owners and keen gardeners; and as such we’re not surprised that buyers are inspired by the idea of an escape to the country – especially in the wake of recent economic and political upheavals.” He suggested that the reason buyers choose country-sounding names is that they crave safety, security and a sense of community, wanting to own something which evokes Britain’s rolling hills and open spaces.

In turn, house styles and designs continue to evoke a sense of English heritage, with developments choosing names such as ‘Cambridge’, ‘Welford’, ‘Oakham’, ‘Beaumont’ and ‘Wessex’ proving popular names for individual streets and houses.

It’s no surprise house builders pay close attention to trends like these, as they invest in new developments that can spend up to nine years in creation. We are indeed a nation which aspires to own homes, with new build sales now accounting for one in every 14 transactions.

According to a recent study, 57% of aspiring first-time buyers feel hopeful about getting onto the property ladder

Speak to our friendly team about your home insurance.


Nothing is going to dash your post-holiday inner contentment than the discovery of a kicked in door, smashed windows and stolen valuables. Take the precautions below and you can be self-assured that a break-in, while you’re enjoying your holiday, will be much less likely.

1. Don’t broadcast your trip – It’s natural that we want to share our excitement when a trip away is on the horizon, but there’s such a thing as over-sharing (thank you social media). If your Facebook profile is open to everyone, then everyone, including someone looking for empty properties will know when you’re away. Check-ins will also give them an idea of your neighbourhood.

2. The “at-home” façade – An unkempt lawn and no lights are two such tell-tale signs. Outdoor security lights can be activated by movement or come on automatically at intermittent periods. Home automation systems allow you to control your indoor lights remotely using your smartphone so you can switch them on and off at certain times of the day.

3. Keep spare keys secure – Think the backdoor key under the pebble is hidden enough? Probably not! If a thief is willing to go to the effort of breaking down your door or coming in through the window, searching around for a spare key outside your property isn’t going to be much of a challenge. If you want people other than yourself to have keys, put them somewhere safe, like a mini outdoor key safe which is locked by a code, or deliver them directly.

4. Fake it – Not a dog person? You can still scare off would-be intruders with a dog alarm, or make them think twice with a security sign.

5. Keep watch – If you really want to keep an eye on your home yourself, there are smartphone connected security devices which feature cameras and motion detectors, so you can tune in to what’s happening at home, and be alerted of any suspicious activity with live footage. This allows you to respond to threats on your home as they happen, rather than when it’s too late to do anything about it.

To find out more about a Home Insurance policy that is designed around you, get in touch with the friendly and experienced team at Safeguard today.


Recent surveys saw 49% of respondents identifying insurance as either ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ difficult to understand. 40% admitted to just skipping rather than reading the terms and conditions for their car insurance, and 39% did the same for home insurance. But, what are some of the common twists that catch policy holders unawares?

1) It’s a common assumption that a burglar alarm decreases premiums, but contrary to popular belief, many insurers don’t actually give deductions for an alarm. However, there have been instances where insurance policies have auto-renewed and suddenly require a specific model of alarm in order to be valid, so it’s worth bearing this in mind and taking an in-depth look at the small print.

2)When you jump on a banana boat on holiday, you probably wouldn’t expect it to nullify your policy, but one in five travel insurers don’t include banana boats as part of their standard annual travel cover. More adventurous sports and activities such as bungee jumping and sea kayaking are often excluded, too, so it’s important to check the specifics of your policy. If you’re skiing or snowboarding, it’s worth keeping an eye out for a specific ‘winter sports’ section in your cover.

3)Almost half (45%) of people believe that home emergency cover applies all year around, but in actual fact more than one-tenth of policies have an exclusion period between May and September, meaning that you might be best switching your boiler off over the summer months!

4)The phrase ‘European Travel Insurance’ can be a bit misleading as many policies won’t cover Cyprus, Spain and Turkey. Similarly, you might think that worldwide cover includes the whole globe, but often countries such as the US, Canada and the Caribbean, don’t qualify and need their own insurance policies.

5)One of the more common complaints with car insurance is that when a car is a write-off, the motorist doesn’t get the value they would have hoped for. The reason for this is that they receive an amount equal to the vehicle’s market value right before it was damaged, rather than its original value.

To ease this issue, you can actually buy a shortfall product called ‘gap insurance’ to help bridge the gap between the insurance payment and the value of the car when you bought the cover.

This would usually be used for vehicle purchases at the more expensive side of the spectrum.

Always remember to Read you’re all of your insurance documents to ensure you do not get caught out!