The true cost of burglaries and what’s really at stake – and it’s not only the financial cost

The true cost of burglary

We often read stories and articles about home security and burglary rates across the country however what these articles fail to mention is the average cost of a burglary. We all take steps to secure our homes but are we really doing enough? Sometimes it takes a big number for the realisation to really hit home – in this case that number is £2,833. This accounts for the loss and repair bill that all victims end up paying after they’ve been burgled; as if being burgled wasn’t bad enough!

broken door - burgled home

 

After figures from the Office of National Statistics were scrutinised by Post Office Home Insurance, analysis revealed that on average victims lose £2,267 in stolen valuables. The bill

grows with an additional £566 having to be set aside to pay for any damage. These numbers only give a glimpse into the cost of being burgled as there is no way of measuring the emotional distress suffered from this invasion of privacy and increased sense of vulnerability.

We don’t always anticipate immediately how much repair work can cost but once you tally up a window here, a door there you soon realise that the bill can be a bitter pill to swallow. 51 % of burglary victims are required to repair forced doors, 27% for broken locks, 24% for broken windows and 7% for damage to furniture. Its hidden costs like these that often add to the emotional distress suffered by burglar victims and constrained finances at times when families are already

stretched.

The rise in expensive gadgets and technologies make them quick and easy targets as they are often laid out in plain sight. The problem with these items going missing is that the information we store on them may be so much more valuable than the  item itself; that’s saying allot when we consider that laptops now cost in the region of £700. By taking laptops and tablets burglars get access into a large variety of aspects of our lives through the numerous apps we use. I mean do we want someone to have unlimited access to our pictures, banking information, cloud storage? Its information like this that can come back to haunt us if found in the wrong hands. If used correctly someone can continue taking from us long after the burglary.

Despite the rise in technology jewellery still accounts for 38% of items declared missing after being burgled. Sentimental value often outweighs the monetary value of these items and its tragic when they have gone missing. Unlike other items sometimes things simply can’t be replaced.

Rob Clarkson, managing director at Post Office Money Insurance, commented: “Nothing can prepare homeowners for the emotional impact of a burglary – it can leave you feeling vulnerable and unsafe in your own home. At this difficult time, the last thing you should be concerned about is the practicality of covering costs for home repairs or replacing valuables. As such, it’s important to make sure you protect your home as much as possible, not just by securing doors and windows but also by having adequate home insurance in place.”

Top tips

While tragedy can strike anyone at any time, there are a few things you can do to keep your property and possessions as safe as possible. If you can afford it, the most secure course of action would be to get a security alarm. For those who don’t have the money for such a system, you could install an external light with a timer and/or motion detection function to deter burglars, especially while you’re away on holiday.

Further options to consider include extra locks, or better locks (such as a three-point locking system) if yours are a bit old and maybe easier to get through. Add some good locks to your shed or garage, too, as burglars tend to love these for their relative ease of access. Of course it’s imperative to not forget to lock your doors and windows, regardless of how fancy the locks may be or how long you’ll be away, as it can only take a minute while you’re not looking for someone to get in and take your stuff. Common sense also tells us not to leave keys outside the house, no matter how hidden you think they are, and not to flaunt your expensive belongings where outside eyes can easily see them.

Last, but certainly not least, ensure your home and contents insurance are sufficient to cover the cost of your possessions – they can tally up more than you think, especially if you’ve bought some high-priced things since the last time you reviewed your policy. With sufficient financial security in place, you can at least be sure you won’t be footing the bill should the worst come to pass.

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