The common mistake millions make that invalidates home insurance – are you guilty?

If you are, you could be left with nothing if someone breaks in

How many of us are guilty of leaving a spare key under the flower pot? Research reveals this is the most common mistake that homeowners make, that costs them greatly as it invalidates home insurance.

Admiral Home Insurance is urging people to ensure their home is more secure, after an investigation revealed they could be putting their homes at risk from unwanted intruders and potentially invalidating their home insurance with common mistakes.

Related: Martin Lewis reveals the best time to renew your home insurance for big savings

Common house key mistakes that invalidates home insurance

home with brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

The insurer reveals that the average home has seven sets of house keys. With spares given to neighbours, cleaners and even co-workers. With one in five admitting to keeping a spare key under a door mat or flowerpot outside their home! When you think about it, that's just asking for trouble – making homes an easy target for burglars.

A quarter of homeowners aged 55 and over say they keep keys outside. But rather surprisingly it's younger homeowners between 18-24, potentially first-time buyers, that are even more likely to do so. With 62 per cent of this demographic admitting to keeping a key under a flowerpot or doormat.

house keys on wall grid

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

The study found it's not just the spares we know about that can be problematic – what about lost keys?! One in five homeowners have lost a set of house keys.

Worryingly, 60 per cent have failed to replace the locks after losing keys. Meaning many more keys, than their own, could be in circulation. These keys could end up in the wrong hands and potentially allow burglars to walk straight through the front door.

With 50 per cent of homeowners admitting they didn’t change their locks when they moved into their current home. While over a fifth failed to return all sets of keys when they moved out of their previous home.

Admiral is warning that all of these common house key mistakes could leave homes at risk. Allowing burglars, previous owners and anyone they gave spare keys to, still gain access to the property.

It's definitely time to rethink the flower pot idea.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.