Should I get a burglar alarm for my home?
Burglar alarms should form part of a wider home security set up, and in particular the police recommend having a visible burglar alarm – something with a noticeable box on the outside of your home. This can act as a deterrent to burglars – but it won’t stop them entering your home on its own, which is why other home security measures are important.
What type of burglar alarm should I get?
Burglar alarms come in different forms and with different functionalities – you’ll generally be able to choose between:
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 – if it’s triggered by a break in. They also have an internal part that will continue to ring or flash until you’ve switched the system off.
Police will only arrive if there’s evidence a crime is happening – for example if a witness gives a report. If you aren’t home and the alarm is set off, your neighbour or someone who hears it will have to call the police – and as false alarms can be common, there’s a chance your neighbours might ignore it.
Monitored: Monitored alarms are linked to an external security company, who’ll take action if your alarm is set off. Generally speaking someone at the security company will call you and ask for a key phrase or password to indicate everything is ok – and if they don’t get the password or no-one answers the phone they’ll 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 turn on lights in your home to indicate someone is in. Keep in mind that they are often more expensive than the alternative options.
What is a dummy alarm?
A dummy burglar alarm is, in most cases, a non-functioning box placed externally on your home, and it is supposed to act as a deterrent. While they’re the cheapest option, they offer nothing in the way of actually sounding an alarm – and professional burglars will be able to spot them easily.
Should I install the burglar alarm myself?
You’ll be able to install your burglar alarm by yourself – particularly if it’s wireless, as these are easier to set up. If it’s wired you’ll likely need a professional to fit it properly.
However it’s always 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.
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
- Security cameras and lights
You may also consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch.
Can I get home insurance if I don’t have a burglar alarm?
You should be able to take out a home insurance policy even if you don’t have a burglar alarm, however your premiums may be higher than if you did have one installed.
Does a burglar alarm reduce the cost of home insurance?
Unfortunately there’s no guarantee that having a burglar alarm will affect your home insurance premiums – some providers might offer a discount, and others won’t. You also need to account for installation and maintenance costs for your burglar alarm system – however price shouldn’t be the only factor.
Burglar alarms, especially monitored ones, offer peace of mind that your home is protected – and you’re less likely to be burgled if you have one in place. This reduces the chance of you having to claim as a result of a break-in, which will save you both money and the headache.
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, you should still tell your insurer – and don’t tell the you have one if you don’t, as this could mean any claims for burglary you make are rejected.
Additionally if you do have an alarm, be sure to use it properly – if you’re burgled and your alarm wasn’t set, this could also invalidate your claim.
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As with all insurance keep in mind the cheapest product on offer isn’t always the best. We recommend balance cost and cover to ensure you have the right policy in place, without being left over or under insured.