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Home insurance and burglar alarms

Does a burglar alarm reduce the cost of home insurance?

Burglar alarms offer protection and peace of mind for your household – but do they affect your home insurance premiums?

By Jessica Bown

Updated: 24 March 2022

Burglar alarm

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How does a burglar alarm affect the cost of home insurance? 

Some insurers offer discounts to policyholders who install burglar alarms, while others don’t. While there’s no guarantee having a burglar alarm will cut the cost of your home insurance, installing an insurer-approved model can still improve the security of your home.

As some insurers only offer cover on homes with burglar alarms, fitting one will also give you a wider choice of policies to choose from. However, you’ll need to offset any savings on your home insurance against the cost of installing and  maintaining a burglar alarm. 

Should I get a burglar alarm for my home?

Close to 270,000 homes in England and Wales were burgled between April 2020 and March 2021, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, despite people being locked down at home for much of that time. Burglar alarms, especially easily visible, monitored ones that are linked to external security companies, slash your chances of joining this list, which should help you to feel safer in your home and can also make it more attractive to buyers.

Avoiding a burglary should also save you money, as well as stress, heartache, and the time it takes to make an insurance claim. So, installing a burglar alarm as part of a wider home security set up could prove a wise move. 

Do I have to tell my insurance provider I have an alarm?

Even if you don’t get a discount for having a burglar alarm, it’s still worth telling your insurer you have one. However, don’t be tempted to say you have one if you don’t, as this could lead to any future burglary claims being rejected.

What type of burglar alarm should I get? 

There are several different types of burglar alarm you can buy to protect you home. The main types are:

Bells-only: A bells-only alarm has an external part which makes a loud noise for a set period of time – often around 20 minutes – when triggered by a break in. They also have an internal part that continues to ring or flash until you’ve switched the system off.

Police will only respond to a bells-only alarm if there’s evidence a crime is happening – for example if a witness call in a report. So, while a loud alarm is definitely a deterrent to burglars, if you aren’t home you’ll have to rely on your neighbour or someone who hears the noise to call the police and stop or catch the thieves. 

Monitored: Monitored alarms are linked to an external security company, which will take action if your alarm goes off. When that happens, someone at the security company will usually call you and ask for a key phrase or password to indicate everything is ok. If you fail to answer, do not provide the password, or are unsure why the alarm has gone off, they will then alert the police.  

Smart home security: Modern security alarms can come as part of a wider smart home hub setup, and they can be programmed to alert your phone if the sensors are activated, or to turn on lights in your home to indicate someone is in. You can use a smart security system to check up on your property via your phone while you’re away, but systems of this kind are often more expensive than more traditional options.

Dummy alarms: A dummy burglar alarm is, in most cases, simply a non-functioning box placed externally on your home. It may help to deter some thieves, but will not fool professional burglars and will never go off, even if there is a break in. 

Wireless burglar alarm: these alarms are battery powered and usually connect to a home’s Wi-Fi. They’re often easier to install and move around your home.   

Whatever type of alarm you choose, be sure to use it properly, as if you’re burgled and your alarm wasn’t set, this could invalidate your home insurance claim.

Property type

Percentage of properties with a burglar alarm*

Flat/apartment

8%

House

29%

Bungalow

25%

Town house

27%

Other

15%

*MoneySuperMarket data, collected between January and August 2021

What type of alarm do I need for my home insurance policy?

Check your home insurance policy to see if you are required to have a certain type of alarm fitted, such as a wireless burglar alarm. It should tell you if you need one, and if the alarm needs to be installed and maintained by a third-party security company or not. If you’re buying a new insurance policy, it’s also worth checking these details or asking before you buy to make sure you know exactly what’s required, and how much it might cost you.

Can I install a burglar alarm myself? 

You can often install your burglar alarm by yourself – particularly if it’s wireless, as these are easier to set up. But where possible it’s better to use a reputable installer; one that has been approved by either the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or the Security, Systems and Alarms Inspection Boards (SSAIB). 

If your alarm company has approval from one of the above, you know it’s been tested against British and European standards. Some insurers also insist your alarm is fitted by an approved company, meaning you can only claim a discount if you pay for a professional installation service.

Once you have a burglar alarm fitted, you’ll also need to check it regularly to make sure it’s working properly and may need to have it checked by a professional once or twice a year. Again, annual professional checks may be required by your home insurance provider.

Am I insured if I fit a burglar alarm myself?

You may be able to fit a burglar alarm yourself, and this can be a lot cheaper than paying someone to do it. But it depends on the type of alarm and your insurance policy. The provider should tell you if you need to hire someone to install the alarm or if you can do it yourself. If you’re not sure you can always contact your insurer to ask.

 

How much does it cost to install a burglar alarm?

The cost of putting in a burglar alarm system varies depending on the type of alarm you choose and whether or not you install it yourself. You could install a simple alarm for under £150 if you do it yourself. 

However, top-end alarm systems can cost £1,000 or more, and professional installation will usually cost at least £100. If you choose a monitored alarm, you’ll also have to pay a monthly fee – usually of about £50 – to an external security company. 

How much do you need to pay for a good burglar alarm system?

Burglar alarm systems come in all shapes and sizes and the cost will depend on the size of your home and what you’d like to be included. There are lots of companies to choose from so always research prices including installation and check out existing customer reviews before you pick one. 
 

What other home security should I have?

Aside from having a burglar alarm, you can also protect your home by installing:

  • Door and window locks – especially locks that meet British Standards Institute (BSI)
  • Security cameras and lights

You may also consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch programme and installing a safe for your most valuable possessions. Both these measures can earn you a discount with some home insurance providers.

Alternatives to home burglar alarms

If you don’t want to fit a burglar alarm, there are lots of other ways to secure your home and to lower the risk of it being broken into. They include the following:

  • Always make sure windows and doors are locked
  • A gravel drive is less appealing to potential burglars as it increases the risk of them being heard
  • External motion-sensor lights can reveal potential burglars
  • Joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme
  • Keeping a radio on could fool a burglar into thinking someone is home
  • Keep valuable and expensive items out of sight, locked away, or even in a safe

If you’re out for the night, or away for a few days, a timed light is one way of making a house look like someone is home.

Compare home insurance

Comparing home insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket makes it quick and easy to find affordable cover, whether you have a burglar alarm or not. Just tell us a bit about yourself, your home and contents, and the kind of cover you need, and we’ll search the market for quotes.

You’ll be able to compare quotes by the annual and monthly premiums you’ll pay, as well as the level of cover you’ll get, and the excess required to make a claim. You can also run two searches to see how installing a burglar alarm affects the cost of your home insurance.

Then all you have to do is pick a deal – remember the cheapest one does not always offer the best value for money – and click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.

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