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Homeowners' Insurance
Friday, June 1, 2007
Measly metal

Homeowners need to check the quality and installation of their security gates, advises Santam, and it makes no bones about the fact that “those sold in stores may not provide the impenetrable protection consumers are seeking.”

Herman de Meyer, head of personal lines at the company says that in many cases the steel used in the manufacture of an off-the-shelf security gate is not of the correct quality or weight and, even if you purchase the most expensive one, installation might be too shoddy to be effective.
“We have identified the most common weaknesses in trellis and sliding or concertina-type security gates that result in burglaries,” he notes.

Trellis-type security gates:
• The steel isn’t strong enough;
• The welding is poor and only on one side;
• The hinges are too light and are attached to the wall with wooden screws and screw plugs instead of raw bolts;
• Too large an opening is left on the side of the gate;
• The locks are of a poor quality;
• The lock pins are not protected and can be sawn off easily;
• Bolt holes are drilled too close to the edge of the wall and burglars can remove the gate by breaking the bolts out of the wall.

Sliding or concertina-type gates:
• The steel is too heavy, weakening the rivets and enabling the gate to be broken open within seconds;
• Locks can be broken easily;
• Lock pins break easily.

Mr de Meyer says the frame of a lattice-type gate must be constructed of at least 25mm square pipe and the bars must be at least 12 mm thick.
“The bars must be passed through horizontal square pipe and then welded. Make sure that the hinges are of the pin type and are properly welded to the gate and the hinge plate or fixed frame. Flat hinges do not offer enough resistance,” he advises.
“Sliding or concertina gates must always be attached to the inside of the door in order to offer maximum resistance. It is always better to hire an expert to install your gates.”
Trouble is, if you fit the best security gates and what-not, members of the household have to be conscientious in closing them properly every time. Then again, if they do, how will they get out if there’s a sudden fire?

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.5 1st June, 2007
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