Abundant options available for home security
Submitted by Michael Herzog, licensed insurance agent, James Zander & Associates
There are a number of security devices for the home that are available for a credit at CHUBB and Fireman's Fund. If you are in the middle of buying or remodeling your home, you might decide to put some of these into your home in hopes of getting credits on your home insurance policy.
Unless you currently have CHUBB or Fireman's Fund for your home insurance policy, please check with your agent first before putting in any security devices from this article. Not all insurance carriers provide credits equally for home security devices.
Residential security systems are probably the most commonly known way to consumers of home insurance to get "protection credits.” These are primarily designed to alert homeowners and residents of the home in the event of fire or intrusion. However, these alarms can also warn of water or gas leaks and high or low temperatures. Security systems can't prevent something from happening, but they can help minimize the severity of the event.
According to burglary statistics of 2008 from Alarm.org, 41 percent of alarmed homes that were burglarized did not have security systems turned on. In the same group of stats, homes without security systems were about three times more likely to be broken into. Eighty-one percent of burglars enter through the first floor with 34 percent entering through the front door.
The first burglar alarm was invented in 1853 by New Englander Augustus Pope for an electromagnetic alarm, which he then sold to Edwin Homes. Homes began selling burglar alarms in New York City in 1859 and made many alarm enhancements which are still in use today. Beginning in 1980, price drops and technology improvements made security alarms more affordable to the residential homeowner as alarms were normally purchased by commercial or wealthy homeowners previously.
The system components to a security alarm are:
- Smoke/fire sensors and suppressors
- Intrusion sensors
- Panic/duress alarms
- Condition sensors (temperature, water, CO)
- Control panels and boxes
- Alarm signal transmitters
- Monitoring facilities
The more components your system has, the more expensive it might be, but the more protection you will have against fire, water damage and unwanted entry.
Many large homes are now being built with indoor sprinkler systems and these can offer great savings from some insurance carriers.
External security systems are now being considered by many builders for homes that are being built on large pieces of property. Cameras, photoelectric or infrared motion detectors and monitored video surveillance (human eye or software) are being used for property perimeters and sometimes will be given a credit by some carriers.
Temperature and condition sensors are also being used in many new homes to prevent losses that might get worse. A condition sensor might be used in a wine cellar to protect the wine from a high or low temperature. Condition sensors might also monitor carbon monoxide and/or water leak or flow. Temperature sensors will warn when it is getting too cold in a home, and pipes might be subject to freezing and having a pipe burst.
Water sensors might be the most important sensor as water damage is the leading cause of covered losses in residences. Hidden leaks can cause long term damage like mold and structural rot. Leak detection systems can be installed and used to shut off the main valve if leaks are detected. These are especially useful if on vacation or if residents leave for most of the day.
Alarm signal transmissions are extremely important, because as the alarms get more intricate, there are the burglars that are also getting more sophisticated on how to bypass the systems installed. Systems can be wired to the alarm company in the following ways:
- Normal phone line. This is cheap but easy to disable, so it's not a recommended choice.
- Dedicated, secure and "intelligent" line with constant status polling to/from the monitoring company. This costs more money but it is well worth it.
- AoIP (Alarm over Internet Protocol) via Broadband/DSL alarm connection
- Wireless primary or backup transmitter (radio or cell)
If you are looking to enhance your home security, check with your agent first to see what kind of credits your home insurance company will offer. Not all companies offer credits in the same manner.
James Zander & Associates has served residents of the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, area since 1983. It serves those needing group and individual health, commercial and personal lines of insurance.
As of Oct. 14, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.