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Always lock doors and windows when going out, even if you’re just popping to the shop. If you don’t and your home is burgled, your insurer may not pay out.

Don’t leave keys on shelves or on tables near the front door – burglars might reach them through the letterbox.

Intruder alarms can help protect your home. Make sure they’re always switched on when there’s no-one in.

About a third of burglars get in through the windows. Think about fitting window locks, especially for windows that are easily accessible.

Never leave a spare set of keys outside - burglars know all the hiding places.

Lock side gates to prevent easy access to the back of the house, where burglars can’t be seen from the street.

Make sure you lock garden sheds, particularly if they contain garden tools that could help a burglar get into your house.

It is important to review and make sure that your insurance continually fits your needs and that your insurance company is aware of any specific high value items you may have.

If you are burgled, call the police immediately on 999. Don’t touch anything as you could damage or destroy evidence.

Preventing a fire

Make sure you have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home. Check the batteries once a week and change them once a year, or more often if they need it. Don’t take the batteries out to use them in other things.

Keep inside doors closed, particularly at night. That can help slow down a fire.

Don’t overload plug sockets. Try to stick to one appliance per socket.

Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Never smoke in bed, especially when you’re tired or have been drinking alcohol.

Make sure wiring is safe. Only ever use a qualified electrician to carry out electrical work.

If you have an open fire, get your chimney cleaned on a regular basis to prevent soot build up.

Take care in the kitchen – a lot of fires are caused by careless cooks.

Make sure candles are secured in holders and kept away from curtains, blinds or materials that might catch fire. Never leave them unattended or put them in rooms where children can reach them.

Plan an escape route so everyone knows where to go and what to do if there is a fire. Keep all exits clear of clutter.

If there is a fire: get out, stay out and call 999.


Over the past few years, there have been several severe floods in the UK. Here are some top tips for helping to deal with such situations.

Prepare a ‘flood pack’ and make sure everyone knows where it is. It should contain a torch, a battery- operated radio, a first aid kit, warm clothes, blankets and bottles of water, and insurer’s helpline number.

Learn how to shut off gas, electricity, oil-fired heating and water supplies, even in the dark.

Follow official advice, like evacuation notices and procedures from the Environment Agency and your local council. The Environment Agency runs Floodline, a 24-hour information service, on 0345 988 1188. You can also find advice on their website Link opens in a new window.

When the water starts to go down, and if the weather allows, open your windows in the morning. The air outside will be drier than the air inside, so it will help dry out the house. By mid-afternoon, the air outside is moist, so close your windows.

Don’t dry your belongings using high heat levels – it could result in further damage.

Your insurance provider should give you a de-humidifier. When windows are closed, have one running for every two rooms affected by the flood.

Clean out fridges and freezers as soon as possible, and throw away food items. Some insurance providers will let you claim for food items, so remember to keep a list and, if possible, take a photograph.

Store damaged furniture and fittings in a dry place. They’ll need to be inspected, and they may be fixable or have a salvage value.

Rubber-backed carpets will need to be replaced – move them out of the house if you can. Leave hessian-backed carpets on the floor to dry as they’ll shrink if you lift them. Once they’re dry, you can dry the areas underneath.

Don’t try to redecorate right away. It can take months for a property to dry out properly. It’s important to check with an expert that walls and other surfaces are fully dry and, if necessary, treated to prevent mould.

Virgin Money Home Insurance is promoted by CYB Intermediaries Ltd, registered at Jubilee House, Gosforth, NE3 4PL (Company No: 04056283) who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under Financial Services Register No. 305065 and administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd. (RSA) (Company No. 93792). RSA is registered in England & Wales at St Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL and is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under Financial Services Register No. 202323.