Wth 650,000 recorded incidents of domestic burglary in the year leading up to May 2017, having a burglar alarm in your home is more important than ever. As a significant deterrent to would-be intruders, they automatically reduce the risk of your home being burgled, leading some insurance providers to reduce premiums on properties with these systems in place. Here’s how a burglar alarm can both keep you safe and save you money.
What savings can be made?
According to a study by Which?, discounts of between 2% and 15% can be made on the cost of home contents insurance for homeowners that have a burglar alarm. Your home is safer, so it is logical that insurers will factor this in. With insurance premiums soaring by 8.5% in 2017, there couldn’t be a better time to try and reduce what you pay in any way you can. Insurance providers are also likely to turn down insurance claims on burgled properties which either don’t have or don’t use an alarm. This will cost you significantly, so again it makes financial sense to install an alarm. This is without even considering the safety benefits and added peace of mind it will provide you with.
With all this in mind, it is no surprise that many insurance providers will actually specify that you must have a burglar alarm as a condition of their policy, with details varying between different providers and policies. For instance, some insurers will require the alarm to be activated at night, whereas others merely require you to have an alarm. Some insurance providers may even specify that your alarm be professionally installed. It is therefore important that you check your home insurance policy to make sure you are clear about what it states in relation to your own burglar alarm.
Alarms to consider
Now we have explored just how beneficial it is for you to have a burglar alarm installed in your home, it’s time to determine what alarms you should be considering. Firstly, it must be noted that alarms can either be wired or wireless, and there are significant advantages and drawbacks to both. Wireless alarms are typically more expensive, but are portable and more discreet, taking less time to install. That said, wired alarms are still very reliable and require less maintenance.
As security experts Banham note, an insurance approved alarm system will comply with the EN50131 European standard for security systems. You should therefore thoroughly research different types of alarms and find an alarm that is EN50131 compliant. These can come in a variety of forms:
- Bells-only alarm – A bells-only alarm is a basic alarm system which simply makes a noise on detecting a break-in. It may deter intruders and alert neighbours when it is sounded, but it will not spark a police response by itself. These unmonitored alarms are generally used in lower-risk areas or homes without a substantial amount of valuables.
- Monitored alarm – A monitored alarm is one which is connected to an external security company. This service costs more than other alarm systems, but offers the peace of mind that the signals from your alarm will be monitored around the clock. In the event of the alarm being triggered, the company will phone your home for password identification to check if everything is OK. If the password is not given, or nobody picks up the phone, a nominated key-holder within the company will be informed, as well as the police.
- Speech dialler alarm – A speech dialler is a device which connects to your alarm system (or is built into its control panel). Considered a cheaper alternative to a monitored alarm, it uses your home phone line to call pre-programmed phone numbers in the event of a burglary. The speech dialler will then leave a pre-recorded message to these numbers so that they can send help.
- Smart alarms – Smart burglar alarms are a level up from dialler alarms, and will send you notifications straight to your smartphone if your property is broken in to. They enable owners to turn the alarm on and off and monitor their security remotely, and can connect with other smart home technology, like CCTV cameras and smart security lights. They are generally more expensive than non-smart alternatives.
Alarms to avoid
Rather than install any of these alarm systems, some homeowners opt to bolt a ‘dummy alarm’ to the side of their house. Dummy alarms are essentially just empty boxes with no siren inside and, whilst they are cheap, they obviously will not help you in the case of your house being broken into. What’s more, it is questionable how much of a deterrent they would be. Seasoned burglars will often monitor properties for days to formulate an effective plan of breaking in, so will quickly realise your alarm is not real. Many are almost immediately recognisable as being fake, so will do little to deter would-be intruders in the first place. In addition, having a dummy alarm could jeopardise your chances of obtaining a reduction on your insurance premium, so you will also lose out financially.