New research conducted by Legal & General has revealed that as many as six and a half million people could be leaving themselves and their homes vulnerable to burglary.
By leaving keys ‘hidden’ outside their home (a practice engaged in by 27% of homeowners) individuals make themselves vulnerable to theft and may risk invalidating their insurance policy.
Of those who give keys to strangers and non-relatives, only 8% are certain no copies were made, with two-thirds trusting to luck.
Decorators have been given keys by 17%, with estate agents and cleaners being given keys by 10% and 8% of homeowners respectively.
However, by freely giving away/lending keys and/or keeping them ‘hidden’ outside the home individuals may risk the double danger of being burgled and invalidating their home insurance, forcing them to pay the bill themselves.
Legal & General Underwriting Director Malcolm Cooper has urged homeowners to be cautious and warned that some insurers will not pay out if burglars simply use keys to gain entry, having acquired them through reckless behaviour on the part of the homeowner.
The warning follows one a fortnight ago from price comparison website confused.com, advising people not to advertise their absence from home via twitter or Facebook.
The advice was made after a burglary ring in the US specifically targeted the homes of people who had announced online that they would be away from home.