When it comes to home security, we tend to think of high-tech solutions like motion sensors, alarm systems and cameras. But your front door lock is the first step when it comes to securing your home.
When you apply for home insurance, you may be asked what types of front door locks, patio door locks and any other external door locks you have. Having the right type of lock can make a difference to your premium.
Home insurance and door locks
Locks form the first line of defence against theft. Safeguarding your house by buying the right kind of lock will not only make your home feel secure, it will also help to reduce your risk in the eyes of your insurer. The better your lock, the harder it is to break into your home.
If you declare the incorrect lock type on your policy, this could invalidate your cover. For example, if you claimed you have a five lever mortice deadlock on your front door, or your accessible windows have key operated locks, when they don't.
If you’re not sure what lock you have, give your insurer a call and they can talk you through the range of locks available. Or, you can read this guide, and all will be revealed.
Home insurance door lock requirements
So what locks do insurance companies prefer?
- Quality industry approved locks properly fitted that offer a good level of security especially on ground floor doors and accessible windows.
Why it’s a good idea to fit quality locks
- Your insurer may regard you as less of a risk and therefore lower your premium at quote or renewal
- Your home is safer with industry approved locks fitted.
Look in your policy documents to check which industry locks your insurer approves.
Door lock types
So, you’re going to need a door lock. Here’s the choice:
Usually activated by an electronic fob, instead of a key, transmitting signals via Bluetooth or WI-FI. A smart lock serves many purposes. It can notify the owner when the front door is opened. Doors can be opened remotely to allow entrance to a friend or family member.
A mortice deadlock is one of the most common types of door lock, usually set within the lower half of timber doors. It normally has a slender long mortice key and it is lockable from inside or outside offering medium-level security.
Deadlatch (Rim automatic)
The main difference between a rim lock and a mortice lock is that a rim lock is mounted on the door while a mortice lock is set within a hole or pocket inside the door. Most people will have rim locks in the nightlatch form, where as soon as the door is closed, the lock is engaged.
You then have to use a key to open it from the outside or the latch to open it from the inside. Most also have a button that can be slid up or down to lock the nightlatch and prevent it from opening from the outside, even with a key.
These locks can be easily circumvented by intruders. For example, breaking a window beside the door and reaching around to open the latch from the inside.
Difference between a deadlatch and a nightlatch
With a deadlatch, the lock engages when the door is closed, as with the nightlatch, but by turning the key from the outside, the door is now locked and can’t be opened from the inside or outside without the key.
Multi-point locking system
This type of lock is most often found on uPVC external doors, including front, back and patio doors.
It has a single lock, usually with a handle, and when the key is turned, multiple locks around the frame of the door engage, bolting the door into the doorframe.
On many multi-point locking systems, the door handle must be lifted up before turning the key and it is common that these doors can only be opened from the outside with a key, even when unlocked.
If you have sliding patio doors with a multi-point locking system, it may also be necessary to add an anti-lift device to stop intruders lifting the doors off their rails to gain access.
Euro cylinder locks
These locks are widely used residentially on uPVC external doors. There are many on the market and the cost to change them can start from £85. How much you pay will usually coincide with their British Standard Kitemark Rating.
To get the best lock for your front door, first consider what material your door is made from.
As the name suggests composite doors are made from several layers of material bonded together to create a tough door able to withstand years of weathering with very little sign of decay. As more modern houses are built with composite doors, these usually come with multi-point locks bolting at different point along the door offering a high level of security.
Locks for composite doors
Multi-Point Locking System – when the key operated lock is turned, the door is secured with three or sometimes five different locking bolts along the length of the leading edge.
uPVC doors and patios
uPVC doors are usually the most inexpensive option for front doors, plus they require minimal maintenance over a long period of time. They’re easy to clean and don’t suffer from discolouration as wooden doors do. To ensure a good level of security, uPVC doors are usually fitted with multi-point locking systems.
Locks for uPVC doors
Anti-snap Euro cylinder multi-point lock
Snaps and stays locked during an attempt at illegal entry. Combined with the multi-point system that secures the door at several points along its length.
Wooden doors are commonly found throughout residential properties. They will warp and discolour over time, leaving you to re-paint and restore them to their original look, but they provide a good level of security, too. Wooden doors will traditionally have what is called a Yale lock with a nightlatch system. This is also commonly combined with a mortice deadlock.
Locks for wooden doors
5 Lever Mortice Deadlock conforming to BS3621 fitted within the leading edge of the door and not to its surface. The Kitemark will be positioned on the face of the lock. Combine the mortice lock with a nightlatch lock with a deadlock system.
Advantages of buying kitemarked locks
1. Locks without the Kitemark will have only been tested for durability by the manufacturer
2. Locks with the Kitemark will have been tested against many burglary techniques including drilling to ensure their security rating
How much does it cost to replace a door lock?
According to the Master Locksmiths Association it costs:
- £85 approximately to replace a basic euro lock cylinder
- From £110 for an anti-snap euro cylinder lock on uPVC doors
- Around £115 for replacing a mortice lock
- From £90 for replacing a nightlatch (Yale) on a wooden front door
- Approximately £70 to replace a rim cylinder door lock
- From £90 to replace a patio door lock from.
The price will include type or standard of lock fitted plus call out charges. In most cases replacing these locks can be done in approximately 30 minutes.