It probably goes without saying that home insurance providers use a wide range of variables when they’re calculating your premium, including the location of your property, the crime rate in your local area, the type of property you’re insuring, how many rooms the property has, the amount it would cost to rebuild the property if it was destroyed by a fire, storm or flood, and how often your property is left empty.
But how important is having a burglar alarm in that insurance premium calculation, and is it worth installing one if you don’t have one already?
Home insurance and home security
One of the risk factors insurance providers will be trying to assess when they’re calculating your home insurance premium is the risk of an insurance claim being made due to burglary or vandalism. That’s why they will usually take the crime rates in your local area into account, and is also the reason most providers will ask about your home’s doors, windows, locks etc.
Most insurance companies will want to know how many doors your home has, what type of locks are fitted on those doors, and whether those locks are certified as meeting the appropriate industry standards (BS3621, to be precise, which is an industry standard for thief-resistant door locks developed by the British Standards Institute).
Some home insurance providers will also ask you to confirm whether your windows are fitted with locks as well, and almost all of them will ask if you have a burglar alarm fitted.
In theory, the more security features your home has the less likely you are to experience a burglary, which would in turn mean you’re less likely to claim on your home insurance.
But does that mean you should install a burglar alarm if you don’t have one already?
The cost of a home security system
As with most technologies, there are home security systems to suit every budget, with many self-install systems costing less than £150, while some of the more advanced systems might cost upwards of £2,000 or £3,000.
There are also a dizzying array of setups and add-ons available, including perimeter alarms, motion detectors, glass break detectors, external cameras, internal cameras, wifi-enabled doorbell cameras and motion-activated floodlights.
However, rather than opting for a system with all the bells and whistles, if you do decide to install an alarm it might be more important to ensure it is installed by a certified security installation specialist, particularly if you’re concerned about the impact on your home insurance.
NSI Gold and Silver certifications
Some home insurance providers may insist that they will only take your burglar alarm or home security system into consideration when calculating your premiums if that alarm was installed by an NSI Gold or Silver certified installation specialist.
The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) is the certification body for security installation businesses in the UK, so if you opt for a self-install alarm (or you use an installation company that isn’t NSI certified) it’s possible your insurer will treat your home as if it doesn’t have an alarm, no matter how sophisticated your system actually is.
Is it worth installing an alarm to lower the cost of my home insurance?
When it comes to deciding whether an alarm is worth the cost, it is important to bear in mind that even if you do get an NSI certified business to install a burglar alarm for you, it’s highly unlikely you will see your home insurance premium fall by anything close to the cost of your alarm, even though insurers will view that alarm favourably.
However, it’s also important to bear in mind that your home insurance premium isn’t the only reason to consider installing an alarm. It probably goes without saying that burglar alarms can reduce the risk of a burglary taking place if an intruder does try to gain entry to your home, and it’s also worth pointing out that many alarms serve as a deterrent, which means an intruder is less likely to target your property in the first place.