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Home insurance at risk as Brits lose keys

05 August 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
More than a million Brits are putting themselves at risk of burglary by failing to retrieve spare sets of keys that have been lent out, research from Sainsbury's Home Insurance has revealed.

According to the research, many Brits cannot remember whether they did retrieve the spare keys or not, putting their home and contents insurance at risk. And, although home and contents are probably the most valuable property Brits own, keys are handed out willy-nilly to cleaners, builders and estate agents.

So much so that the research estimates there could be as many as 100 million spare sets of keys in circulation in Britain, many of which have not been returned to the property owner.

If the keys managed to get into the wrong hands, home insurance policies could be in vain, as many will not pay out if entry is obtained with the use of a key. Manager of home insurance at Sainsbury's, Neil Lard, commented:

"Almost 700,000 homeowners admit that they have not collected spare sets of keys from ex-neighbours or tradesmen or others. Although it's sensible and often necessary to leave a spare set of keys with a trusted person to gain access to your property, it's concerning to see just how many homeowners have completely lost track of who could have access to their home.

"If you don't take reasonable care of your property, including keys, you could potentially invalidate your insurance. If you have any concerns as to the whereabouts of a set of household keys, then the safest measure is always to have your locks changed," he warned.

According to the study, the biggest culprit for spare keys going amiss from the home are the children of the household, including those who have now flown the nest, accounting for 27 per cent. Fortunately, those with the lowest number of spare key sets was estate agents, builders and window cleaners all of which could easily prove less trustworthy than family.

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