Having a burglar alarm fitted to your property is a great way to deter unwanted guests, but did you know it can invalidate your home insurance?
Check your policy
Policy wording varies, but they key thing to remember is that your actions should be seen to be reasonable. In the eyes of your insurer, you should take adequate steps to protect your property at night.
You might notice a clause that says your alarm has to be on when you’re asleep – but only in rooms that nobody is using. That normally means you should alarm the downstairs rooms while the family is asleep in the upstairs bedrooms.
If you live in a bungalow, or you tend to move around during the night, the situation becomes more complex. Your insurer may argue that the living room and kitchen should be alarmed, but you might get up in the night to make a cup of tea.
Worst case scenarios
So what are the consequences if you have an alarm, but you fail to use it properly?
If you don’t use your burglar alarm, your insurance company may refuse to pay out in the event of a claim. That could leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket. You can’t predict a burglary, so it’s important to consider the implications now, before the worst happens.
If you forget to set the alarm frequently, you may as well not have an alarm at all. If your alarm is faulty, your insurance company will argue that you didn’t take reasonable steps to secure your house.
In this case, it might be worth asking your insurance company to re-quote for your insurance, so you know you’re definitely covered when it isn’t on. However, this is likely to result in a hike in premiums and possibly a fee for the change.
Can I install a burglar alarm myself?
Your insurance provider may want proof that your alarm has been certified by the National Security Inspectorate or the Security Systems & Alarm Inspection Boards, so you should consider having your alarm installed by a certified professional.