Theft Of Heating Oil

Last Updated on March 7, 2011 by Mark Lavington

The cost of heating oil has increased significantly recently and this has resulted in more thefts of oil from holiday homes and elsewhere.

The first indication that a theft has taken place is usually when a holiday home’s heating system fails to work. The assumption is often made that the boiler is at fault, but regrettably the problem is often simply no oil. Thefts vary from small amounts being stolen, to the whole tank being drained. The methods used by the thieves can be very crude, including drilling or punching holes in the side of the tank and then filling jerry cans. Resulting pollution of the ground and water by oil is a costly business and can lead to your property being unavailable for holiday letting to guests whilst the environmental damage is put right. It’s not hard to see how a few large claims like this can result in higher premiums for all to cover the costs.

Theft of heating oil from holiday homes

So what can holiday home owners do to prevent such losses?

  • Monitor the level of oil in your tank regularly and ask your housekeeper, caretaker and/or a friendly neighbour to do the same in your absence.
  • Conceal the location of the tank by using hedging, fencing or walling.
  • Securely lock doors at all times if the tank is situated within a building.
  • Install security lighting to cover the tank if the holiday home is overlooked from nearby buildings.
  • Ask nearby residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.
  • Encourage high occupancy rates, which reduces the time available to thieves.
  • Padlock the valve. This may not always be the correct course of action, as thieves may smash the valve completely, but it can deter a less determined thief.
  • Install an alarm devices which creates an alert if the oil level suddenly drops or if the lock is attacked.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a theft of oil at your holiday home, ensure that you report it to the police immediately and inform your holiday home insurance provider of the incident. Check your policy carefully to ensure that you have sufficient cover for loss of oil and adhere to any inspection warranties.

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