If you’re searching for home insurance, you can expect to be asked about burglar alarms as part of the company’s question set.
This is usually the case even if you’re not trying to insure your contents.
If insurance companies are so interested, you might be wondering if an alarm would be a sound investment, and what options you have. Read on for more information.
Will I get cheaper insurance?
It is possible, but it is absolutely not a guarantee.
While some companies will still offer discounts for increasing your level of security, it is far less commonplace. The saving may come from giving yourself more options.
For example, factors such as where you live, the value of the contents you have, and potentially even if you have a high level of jewellery and valuable items, then insurers may *require* an alarm before they will consider taking you on. This may mean that if you advise that you don’t have an alarm, companies that would need you to have one may not offer terms to you, and you may never see that cheaper quote they would have offered you.
It may be worth asking the question about whether it will have any effect when speaking to companies over the phone, or running comparisons online, but it is VERY important you do not set up a policy where you’ve disclosed you have an alarm when you don’t. This classes as non-disclosure and may mean your claims are declined.
What do I need to do if my insurance company requires an alarm?
This will vary from company to company, so our best advice is to read your policy documentation.
It is usually an endorsement on your Schedule of Insurance, but could also be in the Policy Wording – Look for phrases such as Alarm Clause or Security Clause which will tell you your requirements.
You can expect to be asked to ensure the alarm is in good working order (potentially with an annual or 6-monthly maintenance contract) and for it to be activated when you leave the property, or at night. It may also specify a certain type of alarm, which we will cover in a later section.
If you’re not sure, contact your insurance company who will be able to clarify everything for you.
What type of alarm can I get, and who can fit them for me?
- Audible-only alarms (sometimes called bells-only) make a loud noise at the sign of a break-in, and it’s usually either a siren or bell. This acts as a deterrent to the burglar, and an alert to neighbors and passers-by who can then alert the authorities. It doesn’t automatically alert anyone, so is reliant on someone calling the police on your behalf, or does enough to make the burglar flee the scene.
- Central Station alarms (sometimes called monitored alarms) make a loud noise like the audible-only alarm, but they are also linked to a response centre. Generally, they will contact the known key-holders to make sure it isn’t a glitch with the system, and depending on the package you have purchased, can contact the police directly for an immediate response
- Smart alarms are app-based systems that allow you to control the security of your property from a phone or tablet. Often these can either be managed yourself or if you purchase a relevant subscription, can also be linked into a central station.
- DIY is a cost-effective option as fitting a burglar alarm yourself can be cheaper, and since some smart alarm systems run from WiFi rather than as part of a hard-wired system, they are easier to install than ever. It is worth keeping in mind however that most alarm requirements on insurance policies require that the alarm be installed by an approved organisation (see below) and be regularly maintained by a qualified professional. A DIY alarm system is better suited when you’re not looking for a discount on your insurance, but just want a little extra peace of mind.
- Certified and approved installers are usually approved by either the National Approval Council of Security Systems (NACOSS) or the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) and provide a guarantee that the alarm itself, and its installation are of a suitable standard. Often insurers require that an alarm be installed, and be maintained by an accredited company as well. Even with your maintenance contract in place, it is worth testing the system regularly.
Are there cheaper alternatives to secure my home?
Yes – But keep in mind that if your insurance company requires you to have a certain level of security in place, claims may not be paid if you are unable to honour this.
If security is not a requirement, or if you would like a little peace of mind, consider these options as well to boost your security.
- Dummy alarms are essentially the box that would normally contain the bell and the flashing light, fitted in the same place as an alarm would be. While it is not wired in, the sight of the box alone may be enough of a deterrent.
- Install a security light which is a motion sensor light that activates by movement. A potential thief will not be able to approach the house at night without their presence being seen
- Add or upgrade your locks to doors and windows. Some insurance companies may also ask for approved locks to be in place as one of their requirements, which is usually British Standard or multi-point locks on doors, and key-operated locks on windows.
- Have your house inspected if you go away for a few days. If anyone is watching your house as a potential target, seeing people coming and going may deter any thieves who may think the home is empty.
- Be careful with your spare keys as while under a flower pot, or on top of the doorframe may be a common place to keep a spare, it will be the first place thieves will check. Consider installing a key safe out of sight instead.
Last Updated February 2022