”I Gave My Keys To Somone I Trusted And They Robbed My House’ – Am I Covered?
Caeva O'Callaghan | February 6th, 2020
Bad news. Your home insurance will not cover you if you gave keys to a friend or neighbour and they steal from or damage your property.
This is because in giving them the keys, you were trusting them with your property. Legally, it’s your fault if they enter your home. However, that doesn’t make things right.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- Am I covered by home insurance if I gave a key to the burglar?
- What do I do after someone I trusted with a key steals from me?
- How can I get my items back from someone who has stolen from me?
Theft is a traumatic event for the victim. In this article, we’ll help you get back on your feet from start to finish.
You are not covered if a keyholder steals from or damages your property
When you get a new home, cutting spare keys for your friends or family in case of emergency seems like a good idea. In fact, just as good an idea as giving your copy to a neighbour to keep an eye on your house when you’re on holiday. But, unfortunately, spare keys can cost a lot more than just a new set.
Beware who you let into your home. Home insurance policies usually exclude theft by family members, neighbours or ex-partners. This is because insurance companies see your connection to the guilty party and class what happened as an act of deception, not theft, which typical policies don’t cover.
What if I didn’t know they had keys?
If you’re unlucky enough to be burgled by someone who has a key, insurers may look at the case ‘favourably’ – but this is never guaranteed. Your insurer should take into account the circumstances that led to someone getting their hands on the key to your property.
For example, if you gave someone keys in the past and they cut their own set, or stole your keys to make a copy, this could work in your favour – even if it will be very hard to prove. But if you simply forgot they had keys, your home insurance won’t cover your negligence.
All this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t phone the Gardai. At the very least, keep a diary of incidents from when you notice the item has gone missing, including who you let into your house and what they said. This may aid you in legal matters later on, for instance if you wished to pursue the party for damages through a civil case.
Children and house keys
Many families entrust their kids with a spare to let themselves in after school. But teaching your little ones good practice is key – no pun intended – to your home’s security.
It’s important to have a chat with your family about responsibility and house keys. Reassure them it’s no big deal if they lose their key, but they need to tell you right away. And obviously, they need to lock the door securely every time they leave the house.
Alternatives to giving out spare keys
Here in the 21st century, there are better solutions than keeping a key under the mat or making copies for everyone who requires access.
If you have children, consider investing in a smart lock that comes with a passcode or even fingerprint identification. There’s no risk of leaving keys behind at school or work, and you can invent temporary passcodes for visitors or people working in the house.
Going on holiday? Instead of asking a neighbour, you can employ a professional service to look after your pets, plants and home. These people are covered by insurance.
And if no one needs to be in your home, don’t let them in. Make sure your alarm is activated, windows and doors secured, invest in a couple of smart lightbulbs to make your home look occupied, and ask that oh-so-trustworthy neighbour to wheel your bins to the kerb. Buy a letterbox cage to stop post piling up behind a window.
Unfortunately, just because someone lawfully gains entry to your house doesn’t mean they’re a good person. If they steal, your home insurance won’t cover you. But, you should contact the authorities in any case to create a paper trail of the matter.
Talk to the team in QuoteMe.ie with any home security and insurance queries.
One of the main benefits of using a home insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you may have. No matter how trivial you may think they are, we are here to answer your questions. We provide immediate professional advice from certified agents. So, if you have any questions regarding home security and the implications for your home insurance, please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.
You can also get an immediate home insurance quote online with us. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances. We look forward to hearing from you soon.