Are You Too Trusting with Your House Keys?

Men more suspicious of “sticky fingered” service providers

Many Irish household it seems are too naïve when it comes to handing over their house keys to the service providers who cross their thresholds.  Last month we conducted a small home insurance study on the subject.

In total we surveyed 500 people on how liberal or otherwise they are with both their keys and valuables when inviting the likes of tradespeople, babysitters and delivery people into their homes.

45% of those we polled during our home insurance survey shared that they have on one or more occasions given a set of their keys to a service provider to let them crack on unsupervised with the job at hand.

“It can be pretty tricky when working full time to always be there when you need to get something done around the house. If you’re not in a position to take a bit of annual leave or ask friends or family to keep an eye on things, be very careful who you let in and make sure you vet them as best you possibly can.” Suggests Conor Faughnan, our Director of Consumer Affairs.

While many seem overly trusting with their keys, our home insurance poll showed that 38% were more careful. They described themselves as ‘very diligent’ when it comes to screening any service provider they might let into their home.

Perhaps more importantly, the majority, 57%, said they rely on the recommendations of their nearest and dearest when it comes to choosing a handyman. This compares to 25% who are happy to source someone online or through the phone book.

Irrespective of how you source your providers,  we advise you to notify your home insurance providers in advance if contractors will be working in your unoccupied home. We also encourage homeowners and landlords to check that any builders they employ have public liability insurance in place.

“It’s a little like accidentally leaving your hall door open. If items are nicked from your home and no forced entry has occurred, it will more than likely invalidate your home insurance.” Warns Faughnan “While most service providers are trustworthy there’s always that risk that they could seize the opportunity to get a copy of your key cut. A chilling thought.”

More trusting of some professions

Our poll results also suggest that by and large we’re more trusting of some than others. The “silverware” is most likely to be locked away for example when it’s a tradesperson we’re letting in.   At the other end of the scale we’re least likely, it seems, to take such precautions for care providers such as au pairs, babysitters and home helpers.

Men it appears however are a little less trusting overall. 32% of the men polled compared to 21% of the women for example said they’re likely to hide the valuables before leaving a babysitter home alone with their kids.

This more cautious attitude among males is not reserved for babysitters either. From gardeners through to meter readers they emerged as more likely than their female counterparts to take measures to ensure their belongings are safe.

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