Home Security Systems 101: Everything Ontario Homeowners Should Know

Everything Ontario Homeowners Should Know About Home Security Systems

As a homeowner, you pour endless love and care into your space. You've created a place where you can relax at the end of a long day—escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life. It's a safe haven where you can watch your children grow, entertain loved ones, or even live out a quiet retirement tending to your beautiful garden. 

Your home protects you, physically and emotionally. It safeguards against the elements and chilly Ontario winters, while also giving you a place where you can truly be yourself—whether that means lounging in pajamas and binge-watching Netflix, or pursuing your latest hobby.

But when that safety is compromised—either by a burglar or an environmental threat like a fire—it can leave you feeling shaken, scared and experiencing loss. 

Aside from High-Value Home Insurance, the best way to protect your home and possessions is with a state-of-the art security system. But what are the actual benefits of a security system? And what type of alarm system is best for your home? 

We answer both those questions, and more, in the following guide. Ready to learn the best way to keep your home safe? Let's get started. 

6 Benefits of Home Security Systems

Although it's clear a home security system will protect your property, you may be putting off investing in one because you're not sure if the pros truly outweigh the cons. For instance, there’s the hassle of researching the best kind of alarm for your home, plus installing it, regularly arming and disarming, dealing with false alarms—not to mention paying a monthly fee (if you opt for a monitored security system).

This all might sound like a pain, but there are a wide range of benefits that make installing a security system essential. In fact, we'd argue it's especially necessary for larger homes—as you're more likely to be a target. Even though Ontario has a low crime rate compared to the rest of the country, it's always a good idea to be on the safe side. 

1. Improve Home Safety

First and foremost, one of the greatest benefits of a home security system is that you're immediately notified of an intruder. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also help protect your home from theft as emergency services are able to respond faster. 

2. Act Fast in an Emergency

Along with letting you know when you're being burgled (or when a wayward raccoon has made its way into your kitchen), your alarm system will also warn you of a fire, unsafe gas levels or even a flood (if you have leak detection equipment). This technology can save lives—ensuring you and your family are out of the house as soon as possible. Also, emergency services will have a rapid response time, because they’re notified of the problem right away.

3. Protect Valuables

While you're at the lake enjoying your home away from home, do you worry about your valuables' safety? No one wants to spend a week away only to find their home has been robbed upon returning. Put your mind at ease so you can enjoy soaking up the sun at your cottage with a home security system. Not only might the security cameras help deter burglars, but you'll be empowered to act more quickly should the worst happen. 

4. Keep an Eye on Your Home from Afar

Up-to-date home security systems enable you to use your phone to remotely monitor what's happening in your home. Depending on your provider, you should be able to watch multiple cameras installed throughout your house. Aside from catching thieves red-handed, you'll also be able to keep an eye on pets or children while you're out—no high school parties on your watch!

Some security systems can also connect with your smart devices. They can subsequently control smart features such as thermostats, keyless door locks, smart speakers and lighting. For example, you could use this tool to turn on your lights at night while you're away. This will make it look like you're home, adding an extra layer of protection. 

5. Deter Burglars 

We've touched on how an outdoor security camera may deter burglars from targeting your home, but did you know it might also help make your entire neighbourhood safer? A burglar casing your community won't know exactly how much your security camera can see. This uncertainty may make him or her more hesitant to rob your neighbours as well.  

6. Lower Homeowner's Insurance Policy

As an added plus, did you know that a home security system can help lower your home insurance policy? When you purchase a professional installed home alarm system, you're lowering the risk of a robbery and damage during an emergency—such as a fire. Thus, you might qualify for the home alarm insurance discount. The discount varies between 2% and 15%, depending on your home insurance premium. Also, this discount can apply if you have a Home and Auto Insurance bundle.

What Are the Different Kinds of Alarm Systems?

There are a wide variety of alarm systems, as well as a range of companies you can choose from. Each kind of security equipment has its own pros and cons, although many of them incorporate similar features.

Common Home Alarm Features  

  • Motion detector 
  • Video monitoring
  • Voice control 
  • Remote control 
  • Smart features integration 
  • Professional installation option 
  • Smart sensor
  • Temperature sensors 

1. Wired Alarm System

A wired security system requires a landline phone connection to transmit signals to the monitoring centre. The main drawback of this system is that the physical phone wires could be cut manually or destroyed by severe weather. This would render the entire system ineffective. Should you opt for a wired alarm system, we suggest also having cellular backup to troubleshoot this issue. 

How Much Does a Wired Alarm System Cost?

On average, wired alarm systems range between $750 to $2,000, but can be found for around $250.

2.  Wireless Security System

This type of alarm system does not use wires. Instead, it uses a control panel and a series of sensors, which have built-in radio frequency transmitters. When the sensors are triggered, they emit a signal to the control panel. This activates the alarm. Wireless security systems can also be managed remotely through your smartphone, and connected to other smart home features like your thermostat, lights or nest cam. 

How Much Does a Wireless Security System Cost?

Generally, a wireless alarm system runs between $250 to $1,200. 

3. Electric Current Alarm System

These security systems are very common in Canadian homes—particularly in new builds. They monitor windows and doors, and are usually installed when a home is being built. Electric current alarms systems work by emitting a low-voltage current that connects two points, forming a circuit. When a window or door is opened, this circuit is broken. The system beeps each time this happens, so you can hear an intruder trying to get into your home. 

How Much Does an Electric Current Alarm System Cost?

If your home was not built with an electric current security system, you can install one yourself. Usually, it will cost between $200 and $300. 

4. Unmonitored Home Security System

Also called “self-monitored” or local alarm systems, this option consists of a range of security equipment that either you or a professional can install. Usually, this includes a control panel, motion sensors, door and window sensors, glass-break sensors, smoke detectors and sirens. 

When one of the sensors is tripped, the system will trigger an audible and visual alarm intended to scare-off intruders. Since these systems are not monitored by a third party, the alarm sends an alert directly to your phone. The downside of this is that you may not see the notification if you have no reception or your phone is turned off. 

How Much Does an Unmonitored Alarm System Cost?

Unmonitored security systems' cost varies. Some are around $200 total—including installation. Others have an installation fee, followed by a monthly fee ranging from $15 to $25. Additionally, these systems have “add-ons,” such as additional sirens, that cost extra. 

5. Monitored Home Alarm System 

As the name implies, monitored home alarm systems notify you and a team of people anytime there is a break-in or emergency at your house. This ensures the authorities are called as soon as possible anytime an alarm is triggered. Monitored systems can be triggered by a number of ways, including:

  • Sensors at doors and windows
  • Motion sensors
  • Auditory sensors (which register loud sounds)
  • Manual triggers

How Much Does a Monitored Alarm System Cost?

The cost of monitored alarm systems is broken down by the upfront fee, which includes installation and equipment, and the monthly fee for ongoing support. The upfront fee ranges between $0 and $600, while the monthly costs run from $12 to $60. 

Popular Monitored Alarm Companies:

  • Frontpoint
  • Vivint
  • Ring Alarm
  • ADT Alarm Guard
  • Think Protection
  • Abode

How Do I Choose a Security System for My Home?

So, you've decided to go ahead and invest in a security system for your Ontario home. Perhaps you're trying to be proactive, or maybe you're interested in reaping the benefits on your insurance premium. Either way, there are a few considerations you should think about before investing in a security system. 

Ask Yourself:

  • What is my budget? How much can I reasonably afford upfront and/or monthly?
  • What level of security do I need? Is an electrical current system enough, or do I need a monitored alarm for 24/7 support?
  • Will I install the system, or do I need to hire a professional?
  • Do I want a system that can be integrated with my smart devices? 
  • What kind of connection will I need? (Landline, wireless or cellular?) 
  • Can I be relied upon to self-monitor my system? Would I benefit from hiring a security company?
  • What kind of security system does my insurance company count towards the discount?

How Else Can I Keep My Home Safe?

Aside from a security system, there are a number of additional measures you can take to ensure your home's safety. These include: 

  • Lock windows and doors. Some intruders will try your door handle or push on the window frame to see if they have easy access to your home. 
  • Keep garage door openers inside. If your garage door opener is in your car, and the car is parked in your driveway, it's all too easy for burglars to use it to get into your house.  
  • Change batteries in your smoke detector, carbon monoxide detectors and leak detectors biannually. These alarms can save lives, but only if their batteries are working. 
  • Light up your landscaping. If you have motion sensors in your lawn, it may help to deter prospective intruders. 
  • Get a safe. It's always the best practice to keep important documents and valuables in a fire-proof safe. 
  • Secure your Wi-Fi network. Prevent identity theft, as well as access to your devices, financial information and security codes with strong passwords, a firewall, anti-malware protection, and a home security device. 

Questions? Call Morison Insurance Today

At Morison Insurance, we always put our customers first. Whether you have questions about what security system you need to benefit from the home alarm insurance discount, or you're curious about the best ways to protect your home, we've got it covered. We'll connect you with a dedicated insurance broker who'll be the same person you talk to each time you have a question about your policy. 

We're here to help. Our family-owned and operated company has grown since we were founded in 1923 to include 100+ staff members in nine locations across Ontario. We're partnered with more than 20 insurance companies, so you can rest assured we'll get you the best policy possible. At Morison Insurance, we don't just treat you like another number. When you reach out to us, we treat you with the same family values our company was built on.

To get in touch with a broker today, we invite you to give us a call at 1-800-463-8074, or fill out our contact form to get a quote now.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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