Door lock types

Some home insurance policies need you to know what kind of door lock types you have. Our helpful guide is your key to identifying what you have in your home and garden.

1. Mortice locks

Mortice deadlocks are one of the most common type of locks referred to in a policy. A mortice lock requires a key to both lock and open it. Your home insurer may ask that it complies with British Standard BS3621.

  • External use, harder to break design
  • Check for the Kitemark symbol
  • Check for at least five levers marked on face plate

2. Nightlatches

You may know these as ‘secondary locks’. In general, they come in two forms: standard nightlatches and deadlocking nightlatches.

  • Standard – locks the door automatically unless you use the snib to hold the latch back
  • Deadlocking – locks automatically and needs a key to open the door from inside and outside
  • Deadlocking latches are more secure
  • Extra security – should not be sole lock on the door

3. Multi-point locking systems

Multi-point locking systems are now commonly used and are found mainly on UPVC doors. A multi-point locking system has a minimum of three locking points that all lock simultaneously with the turn of a key.

  • External use, garage and patio doors
  • Minimum three locking points
  • Locks using hook bolts, camrollers or pins
  • All points lock simultaneously

4. Cylinder locks

Cylinder locks are a common type of lock found on doors. You would need to check with your home insurer whether this type of lock is acceptable as some types of cylinder locks are vulnerable to a technique known as lock snapping.

  • Internal and external use
  • Easy to install
  • UPVC and composite friendly
  • Check lock for Kitemark or ES symbol

5. Sliding patio doors

Sliding patio doors may be referred to specifically in a policy as the lock requirements will slightly differ from that of a standard door. Sliding patio doors can be vulnerable as they can be lifted off their runners.

  • Open onto garden or into conservatory
  • Key-operated multi-point locking systems or key-operated patio door locks at top and bottom – check your home insurance policy wording
  • An anti-lift device may be required

6. Key-operated security bolts

Commonly used on external doors, including French and double doors. Your policy may specify that key-operated security bolts should be fitted to the top and bottom of the door.

  • Can be surface-mounted or fitted into the door
  • For French and double doors these should be fitted to the final closing door and positioned vertically
  • Surface-mounted bolts are only as strong as the screws which hold them in place
  • A mortice bolt is more secure than a surface mounted bolt. If the key is removed, the bolt cannot be opened or easily manipulated

7. Closed shackle padlocks

Closed shackle padlocks are more difficult to attack and the design of this type of lock helps prevent bolt cutters and saws getting to the shackle, which is the most vulnerable part of a padlock.

  • Used on garden sheds, chains and gates
  • Minimum security – check your home insurance policy wording
  • Lower shackle height (difficult to attack)

8. Open shackle padlocks

Open shackle padlocks are the most common types of padlock you will see.

  • Commonly used on sheds, gates and lockers
  • Won’t meet minimum home insurance security requirements
  • Easy to cut with bolt cutters or saw due to shackle height

9. Straight shackle or shutter padlocks

Straight shackled or shutter padlocks are often used for locking shutters, gates, barriers and chains.

  • For gates, chains and shutters
  • Easy to fit
  • More difficult to attack than open shackle

10. Long shackle padlocks

Long shackle padlocks allow for more flexibility, but they are easier to disable as the shackle part of the lock can be easily attacked with a saw or bolt cutters.

  • Often used on garden sheds and gates
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to break with bolt cutters or saw
Download the lock types guide (viewable in pdf, file size 460 KB)