Did you know that having a burglar alarm can be a condition of your Home Insurance? If you didn’t then you are not alone. Year after year, many home owners pay hefty premiums to insurance companies not realising that in the event of a burglary their claim can be refused.Insurance companies usually use two criteria to decide whether you need to have an intruder alarm fitted.
- Where you live
- How much you are insuring
Households in areas that have low numbers of break-ins are rarely required to install a burglar alarm. In May 2016, the insurance company LV=, backed this up by stating in a national newspaper that it requires alarms for certain postcodes. If you are fortunate enough to have a house containing items worth more than £75,000 then it is also likely that insurers will expect an alarm to be installed.
When you apply for new home insurance, most application forms ask up front if a burglar alarm is installed. This is very clear and you know where you stand. However a problem can arise when the original policy did not stipulate an alarm but when the renewal notice is sent or emailed, the conditions of the policy change. In this scenario, many people go ahead and pay the new annual premium without paying too much attention to the fine print. This is dangerous because insurers are more commonly adding a working alarm as a requirement of continuing cover. It is therefore vitally important that you look out for any added security clauses when you receive any subsequent communication from your insurance company.
As well as having an intruder alarm installed it is also essential that it is used in accordance with your policy. Some insurers insist on a burglar alarm being installed but do not stipulate that it is used. They are hoping that its presence alone will act as a deterrent. In contrast other insurers are much more specific. If you do not use your alarm when you are out, and you are burgled they may turn down your claim. Some insurers also insist that an alarm must be activated at night. If you are not able to do this either contact your insurance company and get this clause removed from your policy or contact a qualified Security Installation Company to set up a night time zone that suits your needs.
If the worst happens and you do not activate your alarm, are burgled and then get your claim turned down, all is not lost. You can always appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Generally the FOS sides with insurers, but you may have a case if you can provide evidence that this requirement was not made clear at the time the policy was sold to you or when the policy was being renewed.
If you need any help with your current burglar alarm system or are looking to install a new one, please get in touch or give Graeme a call on 0131 531 4727