Above: The British Standard kite mark, if you have home insurance then you MUST have these marks on your locks or you may not be insured at all!
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"What Are British Standard Locks and How Does It Affect My Insurance?"
The security of a lock can't be determined visually, so physical assessments are carried out to evaluate the lock's security by rigorously testing wear and tear over time and replicating the most commonplace methods of compromising the lock. The standards for locks are produced by the British Standards Institution (BSI). If a product has been certified by the British Standard Institute for meeting the required security standards, they will display the British Standard Kite Mark on the packaging and the product (as shown in the image to the right).
Some insurance providers will insist that you have British Standard locks installed to be eligible for cover, but most have it hidden in the terms and conditions which means that if you do NOT have British Standard locks then your either paying more for home insurance or your actually NOT insured at all!
To check if your locks are British Standard, look out for the British Standard Kite Mark, along with the British Standard number such as BS3621. We've included photos of three common domestic locks (Eurocylinders, Mortise Locks and Night Latches) to help you identify which locks you have and where the kite mark can be found. If you live in an older property, your locks may be British Standard but the kite mark might not be visible at first glance. Some locks will require removal from the door to check if they are British Standard. It's best to leave removal of a lock to a locksmith as you could risk damaging your door or locks.
Eurocylinder With British Standard Kite Mark
If you have a euro cylinder fitted to a uPVC or composite door you would usually find the kite mark on the front of the cylinder near the key hole of the lock (as pictured above).
Night Latch With British Standard Kite Mark
If you have a night latch installed, look for the British Standard kite mark on the plate where the bolt comes out of the lock or around the lock such as the handle (as pictured above).
Mortise Lock With British Standard Kite Mark
Doors fitted with Mortise locks will usually have the kite mark displayed on the faceplate of the lock found on the edge of your door (as pictured above).
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This video on the left shows how the British Standard Institute rigorously test doors and locks to ensure that they conform to the correct standards.
BS3621 ⁄ BS8621 ⁄ BS10621 - What Does It Mean?
Along with the British Standard kite mark, a lock that conforms to the required British Standards will display the numbers of the standards it has passed. The numbers above are the most common, domestic locks will usually show BS3621 on the lock packaging or have the kit mark on the lock face, body or on the packaging..
BS3621 - The BS3621 standard is relevant to mortise and cylinder rim locks where a key is used on both sides of the lock. As long as the key is removed from the lock, this lock is secure against intruders that try to operate the lock by reaching through a letterbox or breaking glass nearby.
BS8621 - The BS8621 standard is relevant to locks that need a key for entry but not for exit. These locks are often seen in blocks of flats or apartments that use a key on the outside of the door and a thumb turn on the inside. This lock allows emergency escape without the use of a key at all times.
BS10621 - The BS10621 standard is relevant to locks that can only be locked by a key from the outside. The locks can be opened from inside without the use of a key unless the function has been disabled by the positive use of a key from outside. These locks are best used on properties with another route of escape.
Checking If Your Locks are British Standard.
When searching for a home insurance policy it's tempting to go to a comparison website and choose the cheapest available policy, but doing so may put you in danger of filing an invalid claim in the event of a burglary.
When you're getting a new quote for home insurance look out for a question regarding your exterior door locks and their safety standard, the question may be worded in several different ways and will vary from one insurer to another. An example of this question could be "Are your locks of British 'safety-standard', do you have a five-lever mortice lock conforming to BS3621 installed, or a cylinder rim deadlock?". Often, homeowners will be unaware what locks they have installed and may just tick the box and claim that they are British Standard when they're not. Some insurance companies will insist on these requirements to give you cover, while others may offer a discount for the increased security.
If your property is burgled and your insurer believes that the locks installed weren't up to standards set out in the policy, it could invalidate your claim and stop you from getting a payout for the damage caused and the items you've lost.
According to moneysupermarket.co.uk and confused.com, some insurance providers will give the customer a discount on their home insurance premiums if they have British Standard locks installed. Other insurers will insist that you have a five-lever mortice lock conforming to BS3621 on all exit doors along with key-operated locks on the ground floor and accessible windows to qualify for cover.
Gocompare.com warns that insurance providers may insist that you have a five-lever lock conforming to BS3621, British standards, on all exit doors and key-operated locks on all ground floors. Ben Wilson at Go Compare has said :
"The most expensive insurance policy you can buy is one that isn't valid, so make sure to be as honest and as accurate as possible to ensure your insurer will pay out should you need to make a claim"
The insurance provider, Aviva, outline what they believe to be approved door and window locks in their Aviva Approved Locks Insurance Guide. Their home insurance policy requires that the locks meet the correct standards that they deem to be 'approved locks' or your insurance claim may be invalid. This includes having an approved British Standard BS3621 lock on external doors. If they don't meet these standards they need to have key operated security devices fitted to the top and bottom in addition to existing locks.
What You Need To Know!
Do not choose a home insurance provider just because they are the cheapest without reading the policy. It's clear from the above that all insurance policies differ slightly so it's important that you read your home insurance policy carefully to see what standards your locks need to meet. Some insurance providers may not require the British Standard at all.
If you're unsure whether your locks are British Standard, you can use the images above to help you find the BS Kite Mark, if you can't see the kite mark on your locks do not tell your insurance provider that they are British Standard, doing this may invalidate any claim. For peace of mind, you could ask your insurance provider to send you some lock diagrams so you can identify your locks more easily. Our professional and experienced locksmiths are able to identify British Standard locks and replace your locks if you wish. If you would like to upgrade your locks to meet the British Standard for improved security or you're unsure if your locks are already British Standard, call us on 07525639943 and talk to one of our locksmiths.
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