A recent study on burglary showed that over 6000 break-ins weren’t actually break-ins at all, but that intruders gained access by finding spare keys in an easy-to-locate place outside the property. This actually invalidates most home insurance policies, as burglary claims usually require some sign of forced entry into the property.

Despite this, 29% of Brits have admitted to leaving an extra key onsite in case of emergency, even though the risk of an intruder gaining access to the property are heightened by doing so. So if leaving keys under the mat or a plant pot is no longer an option, where can homeowners keep their spare keys?

Leave them with someone you trust

If you’ve been living at your property for a few years, there’s every chance you’ve had the opportunity to get to know your neighbours. Consequently, leaving a spare key at their property, or with a close friend who lives nearby, can make your life easier in the unfortunate event that you can’t find your keys.

Having said that, there is also the chance that your friend or neighbour won’t be home when you need to ask for that spare key, leaving you stranded until they return. It’s circumstances like this where the services of a keyholding specialist are particularly useful. As one security company explains, keyholders can be phoned in the event that you are locked out of the house; these specialists look after spare keys in a remote keyholding centre, and will arrive as quickly as possible to let you into your property. Whether a friend or a professional, having someone you trust to keep a hold of your spare key is likely to be the most reliable backup plan you could have.

Leave your keys somewhere sensible on your property

While leaving keys in seemingly inconspicuous locations around your home will be more likely to increase your risk of an intruder, there are plenty of places which aren’t underneath a plant pot or sprinkler which can give you easy access to spare keys. That isn’t to say this removes the element of risk; though time is of the essence to any enterprising burglar, if a thief does find your spare key—regardless of the labyrinth you’ve set up to hide it—your home insurance won’t cover the break-in.

Our personal favourites are the ones outlined by Gizmodo, which involve a certain amount of inbuilt frustration for any would-be intruder; filling a mason jar with keys, for example, or incorporating your spare key into a set of windchimes, are particularly dastardly choices.

Likewise, placing your spare key in a kennel, or even attaching one to your dog’s collar, will provide an in-built alarm system of sorts to deter a potential burglar. Alternatively, purchasing a sturdy keysafe, which can be installed in an inconspicuous location outside of your property, may provide a little more reassurance for those who are wary of hiding their keys in plain sight.

What about smart locks?

In recent years, the rise in popularity of smart security has threatened to render the need for spare keys and locksmiths redundant. Smart security comes under the umbrella of the Internet Of Things, which The London Economic astutely describes as “the phenomenon of gradually making literally everything Internet-connected.”

Many have hailed smart technology as the future of home security, but it comes with dangers of its own. While potentially-losable keys are replaced by a simple tap of a smartphone (or, more concerningly, voice activation), smart locks are just a small part of a connected home, so if someone has access to one password, they can theoretically control your entire house. Plenty of tests have been done by hackers working for smart lock manufacturers to ensure that these products are unhackable—not the sort of issue a standard lock provider has to deal with.

Smart locks are yet to reach total ubiquity, and there are still a few kinks which need to be worked out before that happens. In the meantime, your best bet is simply being careful with the keys you do have, and being sensible with your spares.

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