Find out why getting a burglar alarm is a good idea, which types of alarms are available and how you can improve your home security.
Some home insurance providers will offer you cheaper premiums, but it depends on your insurer and the type of alarm system you have.
The cost of premiums will also depend on things like where you live, the type of building you live in, and other security measures you’ve got in place.
If you’re installing a burglar alarm to get an insurance discount, it’s worth shopping around and comparing quotes to help you find the right cover.
Remember, even if you don’t get money off, a burglar alarm can still provide you with protection and peace of mind.
Usually, the more security you have the lower your home insurance costs. But even if you don’t get any discount, it’s still worth telling your insurer that you have an alarm.
However, never tell your insurer that you have one if you don’t - it’s likely this would invalidate any future burglary claim you might need to make.
Which alarm will suit you best depends on the level of security you’ll need and how much you can afford to pay.
If you’re thinking about getting one installed it’s worth looking into what type of alarm your insurer rewards with discounts.
The most common types of alarm to choose from are:
When this type of alarm detects a break-in, it simply emits a noise with a siren or bell that’s fitted on the outside of the building. A flashing outdoor light is also normally triggered.
It isn’t monitored by an alarm response centre, but instead is there to deter the burglar and to attract the attention of people nearby.
This type of alarm is typically used for lower-risk homes, that have neighbouring properties.
These alarms are sometimes called ‘remote signalling’ alarms. While they cost more, they emit a noise and send a signal to a response centre that’s manned 24 hours a day.
The centre will have details of the system, your home and the nominated keyholders. And someone from the centre will call your home or a keyholder to check everything is ok.
Some monitored alarms have a police unique reference number, which allows the centre to contact the police’s control room and request an immediate response if needed.
This type of alarm lets you use an app to help you control the security of your home from your phone or tablet. And you get alerts on your app when the alarm is triggered.
Generally, smart home security systems use a series of devices that connect to your home’s WiFi rather than using regular alarm sensors.
You can either monitor the system yourself or pay a subscription to connect to a control centre that can notify the police - in the same way monitored alarms do.
To get home insurance quotes you’ll be asked several questions about your home security.
As well as wanting to know about the locks on your windows and doors, your insurer will ask if you have a burglar alarm.
If you have an alarm, you’ll be asked what type it is - your insurer will need to know whether it’s been certified, installed, and maintained by an approved organisation.
Typically, you’ll be given the following options to choose from:
If you don’t see your alarm on the list, select 'Other alarm'. You may need to provide more details about the alarm if you take out a policy.
Although installing a burglar alarm yourself is likely to be cheaper, there’s a chance you might not set it up right or place it in the right location.
To provide you with cover, your insurer may want proof that your alarm has been certified by the National Security Inspectorate or the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board.
They may also ask for documentation to show its installation meets their requirements.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to get your alarm installed by a certified professional.
It’s important to look after your alarm system to keep it working properly. To do this you should:
1. Get your alarm regularly serviced - once a year should be enough for audible-only alarms, and twice a year is recommended for monitored systems.
2. Check on external obstructions - trim back trees and bushes that are near your external alarm and keep internal sensors clear of dust and debris.
3. Test your alarm regularly - especially if you’re due to go away. To do a system test either speak to the company that installed it or, if it’s unmonitored - arm your system, open the door and let the siren sound for 30 seconds.
Check your policy documents to see whether your alarm needs to be serviced annually.
Other ways to help make your home more secure and less attractive to burglars are: