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Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Box Raid: Insurance position and losses

The crime described by the press as ‘Britain’s Biggest Burglary’ took place over the Easter holiday weekend in 2015. The trail for the perpetrators of the Hatton Garden Heist was finally concluded nearly a year later with only one third of stolen property having been recovered. So what can we learn from this Hollywood style heist undertaken right under our noses?

Of the 999 boxes stored at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, only 500 were in use. The thieves only managed to open 73 boxes, 29 of which were empty. Statistically you may think those are fair odds, however it is estimated that over £14million was stolen from the 44 boxes that were emptied. Surprisingly though, for contents of such value, many of the boxes were uninsured.

An illusion of safety

A lot of people lost some very expensive items never to be replaced in the Hatton Garden heist, so why hadn’t they taken out safe deposit box insurance? The Hatton Garden vault has been described as a ‘safe on steroids’. It was inconceivable that anyone could or would even consider breaking into it. For just £300 a year, it appeared to offer a failsafe method to secure valuables whilst reducing insurance costs. Clearly it wasn’t and for the comparatively little it would have cost to take out a standalone policy or add safe deposit box insurance to a home and contents policy, it would have been extremely worthwhile for the victims of the Hatton Garden raid.

Dispelling the myth

Safe deposit boxes are a terrific way to securely store valuable items and reduce insurance costs, but they do not replace the need for insurance completely. Insurance is still required even for items kept in a safe deposit box; for both your own peace of mind and to cover items when they are not in the safe deposit box.

Many of the valuables stolen during the Hatton Garden raid were in the form of jewellery, for example a rare watch bought by a Knightsbridge jeweler for his son on the day of his birth and being stored for his 18th birthday. At Highworth Insurance, both our standalone safe deposit box policies, or additional cover included in our home and contents policies, would have covered the unlikely, but nonetheless possible chance of a heist on the safe deposit facility.

Specialist Safe Deposit Box Insurance

Unsurprisingly Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd has since gone into liquidation. Owners of the items recovered have had to prove ownership of their property before it could be returned to them. For the two thirds still not recovered unless insured their owners have been left considerably out of pocket.

You can speak to our specialist advisors at Highworth Insurance about competitive quotations for safe deposit box insurance and choose between a standalone policy or to incorporate safe deposit box cover within your home insurance policy. Either way you will forgo the sleepless nights at the thought that your safe deposit box could become just another prop in an audacious movie-style heist.

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