Most of our customers view their security systems as a way to notify residents in the case of a burglary, and rightly so. However, a modern security system can do much more than that. We recommend following several smart security “best practices” that actually put money in our customers’ pockets. In this post, we will show you exactly how our customers have utilized their security systems to save money. Some of these tips produce homeowners insurance discounts that more than make up for the price of adding a product or a service. In other cases, a small investment can help you catch a potentially major issue quickly. We also offer solutions that can save you money by eliminating or reducing other bills. Let’s start by looking at a couple ideas that may initiate an insurance discount.
Have Your Security System Professionally Monitored
If you have your security system professionally monitored, you will likely receive a sizable discount on your homeowners insurance. Our post on Smart Security System Design breaks down several different monitoring options to make this happen. Regardless of how you monitor your alarm, most insurance plans will be less expensive if you have a professionally monitored home security system. We recommend taking this smart security step for reasons beyond saving money. A non-monitored security system will not produce a police response when activated. If someone breaks into your home while you are away, the thief may or may not immediately flee the home. Having your alarm professionally monitored ensures that a break-in triggers both a police response and a series of phone calls to anybody that you wish to have notified. In addition to helping you save money, this creates additional security and peace of mind.
Add Monitored Smoke Detection to Your Security System
In last week’s summer vacation Survival Guide for Parents, we recommended adding monitored smoke detection as a safety measure. Of course, safety should remain your top priority when designing a security system. However, in addition to adding safety and security, monitored smoke detection generally gives you a break on your insurance payments. This break is not the only way that adding this detection can save you money, either. Every second counts during a fire. By creating a fire department response, these detectors provide the best chance at minimizing damage to your home.
Many of our customers don’t realize that adding monitored fire detection does not generally change their monitoring rate. Therefore, their insurance discount alone often pays back the cost of the detectors very quickly. This is especially true if you have an interconnected system of smoke alarms in place. As we pointed out in our post on Using Your Security System to Secure Your Pets, we can generally monitor your smoke alarms with just one device. This device is a wireless relay that listens for the sound of a smoke alarm. If your insurance company does offer a discount for monitored smoke detection, adding this relay is an easy decision. You start saving money immediately, and you will also receive the benefit of monitored smoke detection.
Install Sensors to Catch Disasters as Quickly as Possible
Adding environmental sensors such as freeze and flood detectors does occasionally provide you with an insurance discount. Generally speaking, this is a smaller discount than taking the previous steps will give you. However, these sensors can save you quite a bit of money even if you receive no immediate monetary reward upon installing them.
We can install both freeze and flood sensors for a minimal cost. If you have a wireless security system, we can even install one contact that does both (pictured). The potential upside to having these sensors installed, of course, is enormous. Environmental sensors are especially popular in vacation homes, or with customers who travel a lot. The more time spent away from home, the greater the chance that an environmental event wreaks havoc on your unattended property. Installing environmental sensors is an easy way to minimize this risk.
Monitor Your System with a Cell Dialer
Just as with environmental sensors, taking this step may or may not lower your insurance payments. However, it can certainly help with other bills. Many of our customers only have a phone line because it monitors their security system. Adding a cellular dialer allows customers to get rid of their phone bill altogether. The additional cost of adding cellular monitoring is far less than the cost of a phone bill. Saving money is not the only way that installing a cellular dialer adds value to your security system.
As we pointed out in our post on why VoIP is a Poor Choice for Alarm Systems, cellular dialers provide the most secure monitoring option. Instead of counting on your home phone for monitoring, these dialers communicate over a cell network. Now if a burglar cuts your phone line before breaking in, your alarm will still create a police response if necessary. The combination of extra reliability and potentially lower cost make this an extremely popular and smart security measure.
Use Smart Home Features to Save on Energy Bills
Installing an interactive cellular dialer, such as ours powered by Alarm.com, comes with benefits in addition to more reliable communication and the ability to cancel your phone service without affecting your alarm monitoring. These dialers also act as smart home hubs. We have previously written about Important Security Add-Ons for Your Smart Home. In that post, we looked at smart home features mainly from a security perspective. However, we did briefly touch on adding the ability to control your home’s environment.
The types of environmental sensors discussed earlier can identify issues before these issues turn into disasters. When you have a smart home hub, you can take this concept one step further. Installing a smart thermostat allows you to control your home’s temperature remotely. You can accomplish this in real time as you see fit, or by setting temperature schedules. This can save you a tremendous amount of money if you will be away from the house for a significant period of time. If you know when you plan on returning, you can even set the temperature to reach a comfortable level just in time to avoid walking into a cold house.
Finally, your smart thermostat can provide alerts if your home’s temperature falls outside of a customizable range. This can help you get ahead of a potential emergency, just as with a freeze or flood sensor. Additionally, your smart thermostat can adjust your home’s heat and AC behavior based on other factors. For example, if someone leaves a window open, your smart thermostat can wait until the window is closed to re-activate the air conditioner. This level of control and functionality can cut your energy bills down drastically.
Putting it All Together
After reading this post, you should have some ideas to help use your security system to save you money. Whether through insurance discounts, lowered energy bills, or disaster prevention, smart security system design involves discovering ways to add security while putting some cash in your pocket in the long run. As we mentioned, taking these steps often ends up costing less than what you receive for taking them. We also encourage homeowners to think of the potential savings if you catch a situation before it becomes a disaster. In some cases, especially with smoke detection, taking these precautions can even safe your home altogether.
If you have any questions about these recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to meet with you and find ways for your alarm to start saving you some money. We will also work with you to see what potential situations we can catch before they take a turn for the worst. Together we can create a plan that leaves you safe, secure, and perhaps even a little richer than you started.
Cover Photo Credit: 401kcalculator.org 2012 at Flickr.com