Burglar alarms and insurance: What you need to know
Installing a burglar alarm will improve your home security. The alarm system may need to be stipulated on your insurance policy, so it is best to check with your broker. It is your responsibility to ensure that you fully understand all the warranty requirements for your alarm system, as this will be vital to the success of your future claims.
Maintaining your alarm system is crucial
If a burglar alarm warranty clause applies to your policy, your claim can be rejected if you do not maintain your alarm and keep it in good working condition.
You should regularly test your alarm system as well as the back-up battery, first by activating your alarm and then by switching off the electricity and activating it again to see if the battery is working. Your alarm must also be serviced and officially tested by a reputable service provider at least twice a year. This test will provide the certification that guarantees the alarm’s working condition to your insurer.
Alarm systems need to be upgraded every four to five years, as old technology is easier to circumvent. Some older alarm systems don’t register with security companies when they are switched on. This means that the security company will not be able to confirm to your insurer that your alarm was active at the time of a break-in.
Make sure your alarm is activated every time you leave (if warranty applies)
You risk having your insurance claim rejected if you do not activate your alarm every time you leave your property unattended. It is essential that your alarm is activated to ensure your claim is successful in the case of a break-in, even when you’re only popping out for a few minutes. Remember that, if the alarm is part of your policy requirement, your insurance will not be able to provide cover even if your alarm wasn’t set by accident.
If your policy requires an alarm and armed response, you will also need to activate the alarm every time you leave your home unattended.
Unfortunately, the majority of burglary cases can be traced back to employees or temporary workers. Never give your alarm code to someone you do not absolutely trust and have an established, long-term relationship with. If temporary workers or new employees need to enter or leave your property when you’re not there, rather give them a remote control unit to activate and deactivate the alarm. Do not give them the alarm code.
What to keep in mind when choosing an alarm system and installer
Start off by getting a qualified and experienced security consultant to do a professional security assessment of your property. Next, choose a burglar alarm installer that is registered with SAIDA (South African Intruder Detection Service Association) to ensure that all installations and equipment meet the appropriate industry standards.
Select an alarm system that is designed to warn you of a break-in or attempted break-in when you are at home or away, and choose a system that is monitored by a SAIDSA-approved control room 24 hours a day.
Installing beams around the perimeter of your property will provide extra security and an early warning of any security breaches. Outside lights activated by a motion detector will also add to your home’s security.
Finally, radio signal alarms are more reliable than monitoring via Telkom lines. While these may be more expensive, they guarantee uninterrupted armed response support and prevent additional risk when telephone lines are down. Be sure to check periodically that they are receiving the activation signals.