When it comes to lowering home insurance premiums with a home security system, there are no hard and fast rules about the kinds of discount that one can give you. Each insurance company’s policies are guaranteed by different underwriters whose view on this varies.
In this feature, we take a look at whether a home security system can help lower home insurance costs in the UK as well as consider what other actions you can take to reduce your premiums.
In general, most insurance companies reward their customers with a lower premium commensurately with higher levels of security and with any other measures taken by the homeowner to offset risk.
Critically, the level of reduction in your premiums will be relative to the kind of security system you install.
What is important to remember is that, even if your premium is reduced, it is unlikely that this will offset the cost of your alarm system; at least not in the short term.
Lastly, always shop around for your home insurance cover. Just because your incumbent provider does not reflect the installation of a home security system in the price of their policy doesn’t mean that others wont.
There are lots of different security systems that are available on the market with some offering greater levels of protection and deterrence whilst others provide very basic security.
At the highest level of home security, a monitored alarm system offers the most secure way to protect your family and home.
Connected to a private company that may also offer Emergency Police or Fire Response, a monitored alarm system will activate in the event of a breach of your home defences and trigger a pre-set policy of action. This could include contacting a nominated keyholder or alerting the emergency services.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics, 71% of burglars research a property before they break in and research suggests that nine out of ten would avoid properties with a monitored home security system.
It is worth remembering however that, where you have a certified/regulated system installed for Police Response in your home and the company loses their accredited status and/or police remove them as “recognised installer” with the Police, the customers also loses Police Response.
Should your property then get broken into, your insurance cover may be voided due to the systems non-compliance.
If you are a customer of a monitored home security system where the company has lost is approved URN status then you will need to arrange for a system takeover for your police response.
Becoming more popular in recent years, smart home security systems offer a supplementary way to manage lines of defence and deterrence on your smart phone.
Offering alerts to your mobile and ways to distract a burglar (such as turning on lights or a radio), a smart home system can offer sophisticated ways to monitor your home.
The downside to these systems is that they are ineligible for connection to an emergency police response and rely solely on you being able to respond to any home break in situation.
A standard bells-only alarm system will sound for a set period of time once the sensors have been triggered. Police response to an alarm system like this is rare unless an alert is coupled with a call to 999 identifying a crime in progress.
Whilst bells-only systems can be effective at deterring some criminals the high-incidence of false alarms can make them less so if neighbours are used to hearing yours going off frequently.
Whilst the market for home-installation security systems is quite broad and offers a variety of well-manufactured systems, most insurance providers will not consider any alarm hat has not been installed by a certified home security professional.
Whilst a dummy alarm box can seem like a cost effective way to harness the benefits of a deterrent, they do not offer any reduction in home insurance costs.
Not only that but fake burglar alarms offer no protection against an actual break-in.
According to insurance company, Direct Line, most burglars can spot a dummy alarm box.
Having a monitored home security system is just one way you can reduce the cost of your home insurance but there are other ways you can lower your premiums:
Home insurance policies don’t just pay out in the event of a burglary but are also there to provide you with cover for accidents and other emergencies. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the most common claims on home insurance policies for 2017 were:
By being pro-active about preventing some of these incidents, your home insurer may be able to provide you with a discount on your policy but, at very least, avoiding them should prevent any claims being made.
Having smoke alarms or monitored fire, heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detection should be a primary part of your home security strategy. For the period 2017-2018, fire in the home accounted for 5,447 casualties in England alone.
Early warning systems can help prevent fire from threatening the life of you and you family and can help reduce the extent of any damage to your home.
Insurers understand the importance of smoke alarms and other detection systems that can alert homeowners early to the presence of fire. As a result, most will offer a discount on their polices if you can demonstrate you have taken these measures.
However, it is important that you ensure the batteries are replaced regularly or that a monitored system remains connected and maintained.
Anyone who already has home insurance will know that insurers are always very interested in the kinds of locks you have on your doors and windows. The reason for this is that these are the two most common methods of entry into your home in the event of a burglary.
By fitting (and using!) the right locks on your doors, you could find your home insurance premium costs reduced.
The best kind of locks for your doors are five-lever mortice deadlocks that conform to British Standard 3621; always check for the Kitemark.
If you have sliding patio doors or French windows then you will need a multi-point locking system.
Windows should also be fitted with key-operated locks.
Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) schemes are an effective way to help reduce crime in the area you live. A report completed in 2009 for the Association of Chief Police Officers identified that that NHW reduced crime in 79% of cases in the UK.
Some insurers recognise this statistic and will reduce their premiums in line with these findings. Of course, the added benefit is that you are taking an active role in helping reduce crime in the area you live.
Burst water pipes are one of the most common reasons for claiming on a home insurance policy and the average claim for an incident of this nature is £25,000!
Although doing so may not reduce your insurance premiums now, it can help prevent you making a claim and higher insurance costs for your renewal.
If you have items of high-value such as watches, jewellery or collectibles then having a safe installed in your home could help reduce the cost to insure them.
Most insurers insist that all items over a certain value (usually £1,000) are itemised separately to the rest of your home contents. By installing a secure safe to protect these you could find the cost to insure them is reduced.
If you plan on purchasing a safe then always look for one that is AIS (Association of UK Insurance Surveyors) approved.
If you leave your home unoccupied for extended periods then the risk of accidental damage from burst pipes or malicious damage increases.
Insurance providers will ask if your home is left unoccupied for periods longer than (typically) 30 days and many will not provide cover if this is to be the case.
If you live in an area with a flood risk then you will already find your home insurance premiums are more costly, particularly if you have ever had to claim in the past. However, you can take action against this exposure by installing flood defences. The cost of these may not offset the rise in your premiums but can significantly help to decrease the impact of a potential future flooding.
Tall trees (over 10m) that are within reach of your home can increase home insurance premiums for a number of reasons. Firstly, they represent a potential hazard in the event of a storm but they can also cause additional structural damage via their extensive root system through heave or subsidence.
All home insurance policies require homeowners to maintain their home in order to comply with the terms of the cover provided.
If reasonable measures have not been undertaken to protect your home and maintain the integrity of both the exterior and interior then you could find your policy is invalidated.
When you arrange your home insurance renewal, always ensure that you inform them of all the measures you have taken to protect and secure y our home. Always provide accurate information and never say you have something in place which you don’t. If your home is burgled and the insurance provider find out that your doors did not have BS certified locks when you said you did could mean your policy is invalidated.
Lastly, if you have an alarm and locks fitted then use them. Insurers will only pay out for a claim if it can be demonstrated that you took all precautions to protect your home.
If you upgrade any home security during the term of an existing policy then let your insurer know so they can update their systems. It may reduce your monthly premiums but will ensure that their renewal quotation is accurate.
Offering a nationwide service, Connect 4 Security supply and install reliable and secure wireless security system with (or without) monitored home protection.
From the first contact you make to the 24/7 support we provide, we bring dedication to customer care and high standards of quality service. Find out more and get in touch today.