Our personal safety should be your first concern, not the premium discount you get if you don’t have an alarm. But you need to make sure you use your alarm system as stipulated, otherwise, your claim may be rejected.
- Does your policy require an alarm with the armed response? If it does, you need to set your alarm every single time you leave home. And make sure you understand what your insurance company requires in terms of the warranty—if you have a domestic worker living on the property but not in your home, for example, your insurer may say your property is occupied when you’re not home.
- If you leave your house in a hurry, make sure the alarm is set. Don’t use the remote control unit and drive away—make sure the light is on or the warning sounds are heard. If the alarm isn’t set, even if by accident, your insurance policy won’t cover you for theft or burglary if the alarm’s part of the policy requirement.
- You’re responsible for the upkeep of the alarm system—is it in full working condition? If you’re burgled, you can’t say you didn’t know the alarm was faulty or the back-up battery was flat and you only realized this later—say, your home was burgled when nobody was in it and there was a power cut. You must test your alarm system regularly, including the back-up battery.
- The sad truth is that the majority of burglary and theft claims can be traced back to employees or workers who’ve had temporary access to your property. Do full backgrounds check on any new employees. Whether you want to give your workers your alarm codes are up to you, but if you do, perhaps provide them with a remote control unit to set the alarm when they leave the house, as the alarm needs to be set at all times.
- Old alarm systems with old technology are easy to bypass—update your alarm systems every four to five years.