Lock-up before you leave: Home security a major concern for Kiwis this summer

AA Insurance is reminding Kiwis to lock up before they leave this summer, after the insurer’s recent survey1 revealed more than half of Kiwis (52%) are concerned about break-ins.

The concerns are backed up by claims data that shows the total value of property stolen during home break-ins tends to be higher during the summer months and has increased by 35% in one year2.

AA Insurance Head of Home Claims, Tom Bartlett said, “We know the financial impact of having your home burgled is just part of the ordeal – home invasions can be distressing and downright scary.

“Thieves strike regardless of whether you’ve popped out to the shops or are away for the holidays, so we want to remind all Kiwis to take extra care to secure their homes this summer.”

AA Insurance’s survey found 1 in 9 Kiwis don’t lock their doors when they leave their homes, and 1 in 5 leave house keys in unsecure places like pot plants and under doormats. Less than a third take additional security steps, like activating alarms, when leaving their property.

Claims data shows the most common stolen goods include sunglasses, power tools, portable electronics such as laptops and phones, and jewellery.

“Quick-grab items with easy resale value are the main targets, but we also see gear like surfboards, bikes and fishing rods being nabbed,” said Tom.

“With household budgets under pressure right now, contents insurance could find itself on the chopping block, leaving customers unprotected. Our customers are often surprised how quickly the value of their items tally up, with the average contents sum insured coming in at over $69,000.

“We know times are tough, and we encourage any concerned customers to contact us to discuss their options – both for the amount of cover and how we can help make sure it fits within your budget,” Bartlett said.

AA Insurance’s top tips to prevent home burglaries and break-ins:

  • Ask a neighbour, family or friend to empty your mailbox, bring in any recycling bins left on the street and mow overgrown front lawns.

  • If you’re away for longer periods, house or pet sitters can help keep an eye on your property.

  • Break up any tell-tale packaging for TVs, gaming consoles and new purchases before throwing it away, and dispose over a couple of weeks if necessary.

  • Always double check back doors, sheds, windows, and garages are locked, especially if you’re a tradie with lots of expensive tools or if you’re heading out of town.

  • Ensure valuables aren’t left in plain sight near windows, around the back of a property, or near the front and back doors of your home.

  • Ensure outdoor items such as bicycles, power tools and high value sporting equipment are locked in a shed or garage.

  • Leaving a light or radio on in a common space (such as the lounge or kitchen) while you’re on holiday can be a simple deterrent. Wi-Fi lighting systems to turn your lights on and off from your phone are more expensive security options but can be worth the investment if you are often away from your property.

Top 10 most frequently stolen items according to AA Insurance large burglary claims data3:

  1. Electronics

  2. Jewellery

  3. Clothing

  4. Homeware & appliances (e.g. vacuums)

  5. Eyewear (e.g. sunglasses)

  6. Powertools

  7. Bags & wallets

  8. Sports gear (e.g. surfboards, fishing rods, snow gear)

  9. Cameras

  10. Cash

1 AA Insurance survey conducted by Kantar. A nationally representative sample of over 1000 New Zealanders (aged 18+) completed an online survey in September 2023 (margin of error 3.1%).

2 Increase of 35% between Summer 2022 (Dec 2021-Mar 2022) to Summer 2023 (Dec 2022-Mar 2023).

3 Large burglary claims over $20,000 between January 2022 to October 2023.

About AA Insurance

AA Insurance is an independently operated, New Zealand-based joint venture between the New Zealand Automobile Association Limited (NZAA) and Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited (VINZL). Since 1994 we have demonstrated trusted expertise in home, contents and car insurance in New Zealand, and in 2018 introduced commercial small business insurance. We underwrite our own policies and sell direct to New Zealanders. Our 1000+ employees look after 500,000+ customers with more than 1,000,000 policies.

We proudly partner with Variety New Zealand – the Children’s Charity (as the lead partner of its Beds for Kids programme), Student Volunteer Army and support grassroot school sports via our Big Little Sponsorship sports grant in partnership with Eden Park. We are consistently recognised in industry awards and honours, including being voted the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted General Insurer for 13 years running, named Canstar’s 2023 Home and Contents Insurer of the Year and Outstanding Value Award winner, and currently ranked 7th amongst 100 of New Zealand’s most successful companies in the Kantar Corporate Reputation Index (since 2015).

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