Golden rule…don’t let strangers into your apartment complex, says AA

Having seen a high number of house contents claims over recent months arising from apartment burglaries, AA Home Insurance is reminding apartment residents to take a hard line when it comes to who they admit into their apartment complexes.

“We appreciate that apartment complexes, with their mix of owner occupiers and renters, can be quite transient and that it’s difficult to get to know all your neighbours.”  Says John Farrell, Director of AA Insurance.  “However we would urge residents to overlook social awkwardness and play it safe by not letting someone they don’t know into their complex.”

AA Home Insurance can report that burglars typically use a number of simple techniques to gain access through a complex’s outer gates including posing as a pizza delivery person, buzzing a random apartment and giving a bogus name when asked who they are visiting, while others wait for a resident to open the gate before slipping in behind them.  AA Home Insurance also highlights that with a large number of apartments up for sale, apartment open days should be a time for extra vigilance.   

“On apartment open days, it’s not uncommon for the main gate of a complex and even the door to an apartment building to be left open as real estate agents show prospective buyers around apartments.”

Says Farrell.  “Residents should particularly make sure to put their alarm on if heading out for the day and under no circumstances buzz a stranger into their building.”

AA Home Insurance also reports that apartment burglaries tend to happen in clusters and that burglars typically come equipped with vice grips which they use to rip three lever mortice locks out of the door. 

“Three lever mortice locks are the standard lock fitted to the front door of most apartments.”  Says Farrell.  “Our advice to apartment owners is to fit an additional lock to their door and to invest in a monitored alarm.  A burglar will bang your front door to check if it’s alarmed and quickly move on if that proves to be the case.  Chances are a second lock will also deter them from targeting your apartment.”

The AA also reminds those who park their car in their complex’s underground car park to leave their cars clutter free, remove their sat nav and take the remote control for the main gates with them when they leave the car.   “Cars without alarms are particularly vulnerable so it’s best to remove any temptation to avoid having your car broken into.” Says Farrell.  “Any incidents should be reported to the Gardaí, Management Company and Residents Committee immediately.”

 In addition to their apartment security advice, AA Home Insurance also draws apartment dwellers attention to “insurable interest” when it comes to contents insurance.

“Something which some people may not realize is that unless married, in a relationship or immediate family, those sharing an apartment will need to take out individual contents insurance to cover their own personal belongings.” Says Farrell.  “So it’s really important to make sure that you have a separate policy to cover your valuables, particularly items that are easy to transport and resell such as laptops, cameras, smart phones, ipads, jewelry and so on.