How to Choose a Front Door That Will Keep Your Home Safe
Caeva O'Callaghan | April 8th, 2020
A flimsy, breakable front door is like an invitation to intruders – but all too often, we never give these first points of entry a second thought. Here’s what to look for in a door that will keep you and your belongings secure.
In this article, we’ll address the following questions:
- Will my front door affect my home insurance premiums?
- Which is the best front door for my house?
- How can I make my front door safer?
Replacing a front door is not something you do every day. So, before you begin, it’s worth being aware of the facts.
Does my front door affect my home insurance?
In short, no. The type and age of front door you have will not affect your home insurance. But this doesn’t mean you can get away with a flimsy front entrance. Home insurers would expect a minimum level of sturdiness when it comes to doors and windows. Otherwise, they wouldn’t consider your property secure.
According to Ryan Fulthorpe from GoCompare Home Insurance, many insurers will quote based on what type of lock you have, but some don’t require this information. Never lie about your locks: your insurer may reduce or refuse a payout if your locks are described inaccurately on your policy.
When it comes to insurance, front doors are considered a permanent fixture. This means they are covered by your home insurance policy, as they count as part of your building’s structure.
Choosing a safe new front door
You don’t swap out your front door when trends change, like you would a lampshade. So, it’s reasonable to question whether you need to let your insurer know about the change. But, even if your premium is safe, it helps to keep some safety points in mind.
Doors with a lot of glass may look nice, but they’re also weak spots for potential access to your home. One careful smash, and a burglar gains entry very easily. Older homes in a vintage midcentury or Art Deco style may already be vulnerable if they have glass side panels. If this is your home, consider swapping out your existing front door to a safer one with solid panels. Alternatively, you can now purchase unbreakable glass for extra security.
When it comes to materials, composite doors are among the strongest, being made of uPVC, reinforced plastic, insulating foam, and wood. UPVC is a durable and strong material in itself, resistant to rot which compromises older wooden doors. Aluminium doors are also an option: new, sleek designs don’t look as harsh as you might think.
Be smart about locks
Mattering more than your front door material is the lock you choose to complement it. Insurance providers won’t alter your premium if you have a different lock installed: again, all that matters is that your home is secure. But, a new lock may keep your home safer.
You need a door that has five lever mortice locks at a minimum. It’s also good practice to have a lock that doesn’t require a key to lock or unlock the house from the inside, like a deadlock. In the event of a fire or if you’re being chased, being able to unlock or lock your house without a key could save your life.
A traditional lock, such as a single Yale type for example, is all well and good. They still hold up to an insurer’s minimum security requirements. But check your policy for any other underwriting requirements that you need to meet, like mortice deadlocks on certain doors, for example. Failure to abide by your policy agreement might see your insurer refuse a claim.
Smart locks are a modern solution, and you can find one to suit any door you choose. Smart locks can come with fingerprint technology, passcodes, temporary access and more. They’re just as secure, and often more convenient. Insurers don’t yet offer you discounts for having smart locks – but they may do in future, as the technology gains popularity.
Front door safety
After you install your new front door, it’s important to remember that your security habits matter more than your front door materials or even your lock. Only give out spare keys to those you completely trust, and never keep spares in an obvious location like under the mat.
A peephole is a great idea to see who’s outside before you open the door. Adding a chain will allow you to open your door sufficiently to see outside, but won’t allow the other person to push through and gain access.
Do you have pets? Invest in cat flaps and doggy doors which respond to microchips in your pet’s collar or their ID chip. This will stop other neighbourhood pets – not to mention rats and other pests – from making their way inside.
Always lock the door before you go out, and quickly repair any damage that may compromise your home’s security. Remember, always check the terms of the policy when it comes to security standards your insurance company expects you to adhere to, as any failings could invalidate a future claim.