Home Alarm Insurance Discount
When you think of your home, what comes to mind? Relaxing on a comfy couch watching your favorite show? Loving a terrific renovation you just finished? Chilling and grilling in your backyard?
Now, what does your home mean to you emotionally? Comfort? Privacy? Safety? Security?
For sure, our homes are our personal spaces. They are our bunker in a sometimes stressful world. Our let-your-hair-down, relax and enjoy places.
These feelings of safety and security in our homes are important to our happiness, our well-being and our quality of life.
In Canada we are very fortunate. Our country, when measured against others around the globe, is very safe. Our crime rate is low compared to other countries (1.6 incidents per 100,000 in Canada. The United States has 4.5 per 100,000, notes safearound.com). In fact, the 2017 Global Peace Index ranked Canada the eighth safest of 163 countries surveyed.
Despite these stats, it’s still important to be aware of how we can keep our homes safe to ensure the safety of our families and our possessions. This is where home alarm systems can be helpful. They can bring greater peace of mind by improving your security and safety in your home. You may also qualify for the home alarm insurance discount which can help you save on your home insurance. Let’s get into that now!
What is the home alarm insurance discount?
The home alarm insurance discount is a discount that is applied to your home insurance policy when you have a professionally installed alarm system on your home. Savings are generally between 2% and 15%, but the discount amount can vary depending on the insurance company through which you are insured.
Other risk factors can come into play when determining your home alarm insurance discount such as where you live – do you live in a rural area with limited fire services? How far is your home from a fire hydrant? What type of homeowners insurance policy do you have? Another factor is what features your home alarm system includes.
How does installing a home alarm affect my insurance premium?
Installing a home alarm can affect your home insurance by lowering your premium. The money saved on the home alarm insurance discount often varies between 2% and 15%.
When a professionally installed approved home alarm system in your home, you are lowering your risk and may qualify for the home alarm insurance discount.
When combined with other home and auto insurance (personal insurance) discounts, the money saved on your insurance can be significant.
Always ask your insurance broker about the home alarm insurance discount and other insurance discounts. Get the details. Insurance companies offer plenty of ways to save on your insurance and you should be sure you get all of the money-saving opportunities you are qualified to receive.
What are other ways to save on homeowners insurance?
When an insured person takes steps to reduce the risks of a loss, generally speaking, the insurance company will lower its rates to reflect this reduced risk.
For example, winter tires are safer on snowy and icy driving conditions thereby reducing the risk of an accident, so a winter tire discount is offered by insurance companies to customers who install winter tires.
Here is a list of some popular insurance discounts:
- Fire and burglar alarm insurance discount, also known as a home alarm insurance discount
- Winter tire discount
- Non-smoker discount
- Short-distance commute discount
- Mortgage-free discount
- Claims-free discount
- New home discount
- Retiree discount
- Conviction-free discount
- Good-student discount
- Student-away-at-school discount
- Renewal discount
- Multi-vehicle discount
- Mature-age discount
- Seniors discount
- Loyalty discount
- Driver-training discount
- Bundle home and auto insurance with the same insurance company.
How much is the home alarm insurance discount?
The amount you will save with a home alarm insurance discount generally ranges from 2% to 15% on your home insurance premium.
The home alarm insurance discount may be one of several discounts you can qualify for to help lower the cost of your home insurance.
As you will see from the table below, the home alarm insurance discount is not always significant. However, every bit of savings helps. Remember too that the biggest benefit of having a monitored alarm system is your increased protection and peace of mind. Having said this, if you have a monitored alarm system or you are thinking of installing one, you should always ask your insurance broker about the home alarm insurance discount. A penny saved is a penny earned. (The phrase holds true for nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies, toonies and dollars!)
Assuming a home alarm insurance discount rate of 2% or 15% on your home insurance, here are some details on possible security system insurance discount you may receive.
Annual Home Insurance Premium (Before Discount)
|2% Home Alarm Insurance Discount
||15% Home Alarm Insurance Discount
How much does having a home security system save on home insurance?
You may save between 2% and 15% on your home insurance with a home alarm insurance discount.
Here are some details from several insurance companies on their home security insurance discounts criteria. Please note that discounts and criteria for home security insurance discounts can and do change. It is best to check with your insurance broker to discuss possible home security insurance discounts and the criteria to qualify for them.
The amount of the monitored security insurance discount varies depending on risk characteristics.
Required alarm systems:
- Monitored Burglar Alarm
- Monitored Fire Alarm
- Monitored Burglar and Fire Alarm
- 24-hour monitoring by a central alarm station (third party company).
- Full perimeter protection (not applicable to fire-only alarms)
- Must have U.L.C., U.L., or Warnock-Hersey approved equipment. Note: ULC and UL are recognized safety and performance standards.
- All risk types except condominium and tenant policies.
Required alarm systems:
- Monitored burglar and fire alarm: 10% discount.
- Monitored burglar alarm: 5% discount.
- Monitored fire alarm: 5% discount.
- Comprehensive and broad homeowner insurance policies, comprehensive and broad tenant insurance policies, comprehensive condominium policies and deluxe season risk policies.
Gore Mutual Insurance
- Local fire and burglary alarm: 4% discount
- Burglary monitored: discount: 9% discount
- Burglary and fire monitored: 15% discount
- Fire & theft alarm that is centrally (third-party) monitored for a fire and/or intrusion system receives 5% off for fire peril, 20% off for theft peril.
- Fire or burglar alarm system that is monitored at a central station (third party) providing 24-hour service receives 5% discount. A certificate of installation is required.
- Direct fire and police alarm with 24-hour direct connection to a responding fire hall or police station qualifies for 5% discount.
- On-premises fire and burglar alarm system with local alarm system qualifies for 2% discount.
- All electronic and/or monitored security devices must be operational in order for the risk to qualify for a discount. Certificates are required from all monitoring services confirming the devices/systems have been installed and are in good working order.
The benefits of installing a home security system.
Why install a home security system?
There are numerous benefits to installing a home security system. The main one is increased peace of mind with additional security that it provides for you and your family.
In addition to an increased feeling of safety and security, here are some other benefits to having a home security system:
- Immediate notification to you and others of an intrusion (burglary) to your home.
- Immediate notification to you and others of smoke or a fire at your home.
- Monitoring of your electricity usage.
- Managing of some mechanical equipment in your home, such as your heating system.
- Personal visual monitoring of your home by you if you install a system that allows you to monitor the premises from a smart phone, computer or tablet.
- Savings on your home insurance through a home alarm insurance discount.
A home alarm insurance discount can sometimes also be referred to as a home security insurance discount, a monitored alarm insurance discount, a security system insurance discount, a burglar alarm insurance discount or a monitored alarm insurance discount.
(Note that the number of features you have in a home security system will depend on the type and scope of system you purchase. More on this later.)
How do home alarm systems work?
Home alarm systems can improve the security of your home. This is done by securing areas of entry such as doors and windows with monitoring devices such as sensors.
A system can also often include cameras – wired or wireless – and motion detectors.
Basically, the more points of entry that are secured with monitoring devices/sensors, the greater the security. The monitoring devices are connected to a central control panel which will be installed in your home. You may also have cameras installed inside and/or outside your home for additional surveillance.
Unmonitored home alarm systems will include alarms that will sound if there is a breach in the security system and/or smoke/fire in your home. Alarms for the system will be loud enough to alert those inside the home and your neighbors.
Monitored systems have also have loud alarm alerts. The important difference between monitored and unmonitored home alarm systems is monitored systems are linked to a third-party provider – a home security company hired by you – which will oversee/monitor the system and notify fire, police and/or other emergency authorities when needed.
Many home security systems also provide stickers which you can apply near doors and windows to deter criminals.
The control panel is ‘command central’ in your home. This is where you can operate your system, including arming and disarming it.
Are there different types of home security systems?
Yes, there are many different types of home security systems. Not all systems offer the same level of security. Prices also vary a lot depending on system type and features.
There are wired home alarm systems, wireless home alarm systems, monitored home alarm systems and unmonitored home alarm systems.
Wired home alarm systems:
These are considered the most basic systems and are used on windows and doors. When a window or door is opened, the system is activated, and an alarm will sound.
Wireless home alarm systems:
These are similar to wired home alarm systems, but they are wireless. Sensors are linked to transmitters and the system is activated when a signal is sent to the control panel.
Unmonitored home security systems:
These systems also use sensors connected to a control panel which will activate when there is a breach. This system will not alert a third-party upon activation. The alarm will sound to alert you and your neighbors only.
Monitored home security systems:
These are the most effective home security systems. The difference between this and an unmonitored home security system is the monitoring by an alarm security firm, also referred to as a third-party. With these kinds of home security systems, authorities can be notified of smoke/ fire or an intrusion to your home and a local alarm sounds to alert occupants of the home and neighbors.
What level of security do you want in a home alarm system?
When you are considering installing a home alarm system, it’s good to ask yourself what level of security you want to have.
Here are some things to think about when determining what kind of home security system you may want.
- Do you want security sensors, smoke and fire alarm sensors, carbon monoxide sensors?
- Are you content with a wired system or do you want wireless?
- Do you want a home alarm security firm to oversee the security of your home?
- What is your budget?
- What are the installation costs and monitoring costs – often monthly – to consider.
- Where would you want the control panel to be located?
- Will members of our family be able to operate the system properly, especially younger children?
- Do you want to have cameras installed outside?
- Do you want a front-door camera?
- Do you want glass break sensors?
- Do you want cameras inside?
- Do you want talk capabilities? Some systems have two-way talk to speak to your children, tell you dog to get off the furniture, speak to the babysitter.
- Do you want motion detectors? If you have pets, this may not be a good idea. Are there other things in your home that could set off the alarm system unnecessarily?
- Do you want additional features such as smart tech, automation of home lights, monitoring of heat, pipes and other features of your home?
- Will the system you purchase qualify for a home insurance discount?
We encourage you to shop around for a system that meets your needs.
What type of home alarm systems will count toward a home insurance discount?
Most home alarm systems qualify for a home alarm insurance discount if they are installed by a professional home security provider.
The company that installs your system will provide a certificate or similar document stating that your home alarm system meets standards set safety standards organizations.
Where can I get the home alarm insurance discount?
You can get the home alarm insurance discount from an insurance broker as long as your system meets the criteria for the home security insurance discount.
An insurance broker will ask you about your home security system to determine if you qualify for the home alarm insurance discount offered by the insurance company with which you are insured.
If you are getting a new home insurance policy, you may want to ask your insurance broker what home security insurance discount different insurance companies offer.
Be sure to ask your insurance broker about other home and auto insurance discounts. Your broker will work with you to help you get as many money-saving insurance discounts as possible.
Do you qualify for the home alarm insurance discount?
The best way to determine if you qualify for the home alarm insurance discount is to speak to an insurance broker. The broker will ask you about your security system and let you know if you qualify for a security system insurance discount.
Keep in mind that insurance companies change their home security insurance discounts and their criteria for home alarm insurance discounts over time, so it is best to speak directly with your broker to get information.
If you are moving your insurance to another insurance company, your broker can tell you if you qualify for the home alarm insurance discount at the new company.
What other steps can I take to make my home more secure?
There are many additional steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of a break-in at your home.
Here are some tips to help crime-proof your home:
- Look all doors and windows when you are not at home.
- Do not leave doors unlocked when you are in another area of your home.
- Use light timers to make it look like you are home when you are not.
- Keep high-value items such as jewellery in a safety deposit box or safe that is hidden in your home.
- Keep up with lawn cutting and other outdoor maintenance to make your home look lived in when you are away. In winter, clear the driveway and walkways.
- Have a neighbor or friend collect your mail, newspaper or other delivery items which, if left uncollected, can signal that you are not at home.
- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or to move your cars around in the driveway to give your home a lived-in appearance.
- Leave a radio or television on if you are not home for a short time.
- Don’t leave money, valuables or a purse in plain view from a door or window.
- Don’t leave spare keys in a mailbox or under a mat.
- Install a monitored alarm system in your home to alert others if there is a fire in your home or an intruder has entered.
What is the burglary rate in Canada?
Here is some data on burglaries provided by the Conference Board of Canada.
- Statistics show Canada had 578 burglaries per 100,000 people in 2010.
- Canada’s burglary rate dropped between 2003 and 2010.
- Between 2013 and 2015, Ontario had less than 300 burglaries per 100,000 people.
- “Between 1998 and 2015, the burglary rate fell by more than 60 per cent,” notes the Conference Board of Canada. “Ontario and Quebec have seen the biggest drops, with rates in both provinces having fallen by about 70 per cent.”
How do I choose an alarm company?
There are plenty of home alarm companies that offer a variety of systems. Often it is helpful to ask friends for recommendations. Look online for reviews. Consider how long the company has been in business. It is also a good idea to get a few different quotes.
How can I prevent false alarms?
False alarms are not good. Put clearly: An alarm is a request to provide emergency, police or fire services due to a threat. False alarms can reduce the effectiveness of your system.
According to Toronto Police false alarms may:
- Delay police officers from responding to a real emergency;
- Lead neighbours to ignore your alarm system when it activates;
- Cause you, the user to become reluctant to arm the system thereby exposing your home to undetected theft or damage;
- Cost you, the user, to incur a false alarm fine/fee.
Toronto Police also note that false alarms can be due to inadequate training by the user, wandering pets, weak or low batteries, open, unlocked or ill-fitting doors or windows, and movement by curtains, plants, balloons or other items that may move in the home.
Here are a few steps you can take to help prevent false alarms:
- Make sure the alarm’s operators know how to operate the system.
- Make sure the system is fully powered.
- Be sure doors and windows are secure.
- Check sensors to be sure that they are not loose.
- Check items will not move in the event of a breeze or draft.
Is there a fine for false alarms?
Yes, communities impose fines for false alarms. Check with your local municipality to find out about possible fines if any.
Here are 15 tips to increase fire safety in your home.
According to the Canadian Red Cross, house fires are one of the most common emergencies experienced by Canadians in their home.
Here are some tips from the Red Cross and Health Canada to help increase fire safety in your home:
- Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Check these monthly to be sure they are working properly. There should be a smoke alarm on every level of your home and one outside of each bedroom in your home.
- Have a fire extinguisher in your home. Be sure fire extinguishers are properly charged and provided by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, notes Health Canada.
- Keep items such as oven mitts, clothing and other flammable items away from the kitchen stove. These can ignite and cause a fire. Use appliances that shuts off automatically, such as kettles.
- If you have a fireplace, use a fire screen.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Space heaters can make things cozy but be sure to keep items that can catch fire at least 3 feet away from sources of heat.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- A lit candle should never be left unattended. It should be placed in holder that will keep it secure and safe.
- A dry Christmas trees can be especially flammable. Water your Christmas tree regularly.
- Do not smoke in bed
- Teach children about the dangers of fire.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Have your furnace checked annually by a professional.
- Do not store combustible or flammable items in your home
- Have a fire escape plan for your family and be sure that everyone knows it and practices it. If you suspect fire, get out immediately and stay out.
For more tips on fire safety and the importance of having a fire escape plan, search online for fire safety in Canada and Health Canada. There are also fire safety tips provided by the Red Cross, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and many other recognized fire safety organizations.
In closing, a monitored alarm system can increase your safety and make your feel more secure in your home. The security system insurance discount is an ‘extra’ reason to have a home fire and burglar alarm system. Your safety is important. Always ask your insurance broker about a home alarm insurance discount – and all other insurance discounts that may be available – to be sure you are saving as much as possible on your personal insurance.
This blog is written by our Morison Insurance team. It is provided for general information only. Insurance needs differ from person to person, and this article is therefore not a substitute for professional advice about your individual insurance needs which can be obtained by speaking to one of our brokers.