While there’s no guarantee installing a burglar alarm will reduce the cost of your home insurance, installing certain, insurance-approved alarm systems can improve the security of your home.
Will installing a burglar alarm lower the cost of home insurance?
Some home insurance providers will offer you cheaper premiums, but it will depend on both your insurer and the type of alarm system you have.
The price of your premiums will also depend on other factors such as where you live, the type of home you live in, and any other security measures you have in place.
If you are installing a burglar alarm specifically to get an insurance discount, it’s worth shopping around and comparing quotes to make sure you have the right cover.
What type of burglar alarm should I get?
Finding an alarm that suits you depends on a number of factors. This includes the level of security you need, and how much you wish to pay.
Something also worth considering is that your insurer may offer a discount based on the type of alarm you choose.
Below are the most common alarm systems available.
Also known as unmonitored or audible-only alarms, a bells-only alarm when triggered, will sound a siren for about 20 minutes.
Police will only respond to a bells-only alarm if there is evidence of a crime taking place – for example an eyewitness report is made. So, while a loud alarm can be a deterrent to burglars, if you are not home at the time of the break-in, you will have to rely on a third-party to phone the police and intervene.
A monitored alarm is linked to an external, private security company who will monitor your system 24-hours a day. When registering your system with the security company, you will set-up a key phrase and password. You will also be able to nominate a keyholder in your absence - such as a relative or neighbour.
In the event your alarm goes off, the security company will either call you or your nominated keyholder to check everything is okay. If you do not know why the alarm has been triggered, or the key phrase or password given is incorrect, the security company will alert the police.
Smart burglar alarm
With a smart burglar alarm, you can use an app on your smartphone or tablet to control its settings. And, when the alarm is triggered, you’ll receive updates via the app.
Rather than using regular alarm sensors, smart home security systems use a series of devices that connect to your home’s Wi-Fi.
Insofar as monitoring, you can either monitor the system yourself or, similar to a monitored alarm system, outsource the task to a private security company. However, this service is not free and will require a paid subscription.
Designed to deter would-be thieves, a dummy alarm is usually a non-functioning box placed onto the exterior of your home.
A dummy alarm will not be acknowledged by your insurer as a proper security device. You will also not be eligible for any discounts with this type of alarm.
What type of alarm do I need for my home insurance policy?
When getting a home insurance quote, you may be asked questions regarding your home’s security. These questions could be about the locks on your windows and doors, as well as whether or not you have a burglar alarm.
If you already have an alarm system in place, your insurer may ask what type it is. They may also enquire as to whether it has been certified, installed, and maintained by one of the following approved organisations:
- The National Security Inspectorate (NSI)
- Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB)
Do I need to tell my insurance provider if I have an alarm system?
Generally speaking, the more secure your home is, the lower your premiums will be. But even if you do not get a discount on your insurance, it is worth telling your insurer that you have an alarm system in place.
Bear in mind however, that if you tell your insurer that you have an alarm system when you actually do not, will likely result in the invalidation of any future burglarly claims.
If I install my burglar alarm myself, will I still be insured?
Although cheaper to install a burglar alarm yourself, doing so could result in you setting the system up incorrectly. You could also fail to place it in an optimal location.
In order to claim a discount on your home insurance, your insurer may request proof that your alarm has been certified, installed, and maintained by a company approved by either the National Security Inspectorate or Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board.
How can I maintain my home alarm system?
Once your home alarm system is set-up, it's important to look after it so that it continues to function properly.
To maintain your alarm system you should:
Have your alarm serviced regularly
A once-a-year service for audible-only alarms is sufficient.
Monitored systems, on the other hand, should undergo comprehensive maintenance twice a year.
Routinely clean and check your alarm for any external obstructions
Make sure you regularly trim any external obstructions to your alarm system. For example, trees or bushes.
It is also important to clean your alarm and keep it clear of any dust or debris. This can interfere with the internal sensors on your system.
Test your alarm regularly
This is especially important if you are planning to leave your home for an extended period. To carry out a system test, you should either speak with the company that installed your alarm, or if it's unmonitored, arm your system, open the door, and let the siren sound for 30 seconds.
Why is it important I maintain my home security system?
Whichever burglar alarm you choose, it is important to ensure it is serviced routinely. If you do not service your alarm regularly, it could become faulty without your knowledge.
And, if your alarm is faulty at the time of a break-in, your claim could be affected. Although rules and exclusions will differ depending on the insurance provider, your specific policy will contain clear wording around home alarms and their upkeep. Some insurers may require you to service your alarm annually.
It’s important to read your policy documents carefully and to make sure your security system is always in good working condition.
What other home security options are there?
Although an alarm system can be a sufficient enough measure in bringing safety to your home, there are also other options available to help bring peace of mind and an added level of safety to your home’s security. These include:
Security cameras: Can be fitted both inside and outside your home, and can prove invaluable if someone tries to break-in.
Many security camera systems now connect via Wi-Fi. This allows you to keep an eye on your home and belongings through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Doorbell cameras: Usually connected to your smartphone via an app, monitors the activity surrounding your front door.
You can either self-install a doorbell camera or have one fitted by an electrician.
Security lights: Will trigger when someone walks in front of them. This means potential intruders cannot approach your property without being seen.
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