Your homeowners insurance premium will probably drop if you install home security devices, but do your homework before you choose a system. The Insurance Information Institute says most home insurance companies offer discounts of 2 percent to 15 percent for installing equipment to make a home safer and more secure. Such equipment may include:
The most sophisticated security systems are pricey, and not every one of them qualifies for a discount, the institute says. So, talk to your insurance company before you invest. Find out what type of system the insurance carrier recommends and how much of a discount you can get before you shop.
A high-tech system features a series of sensors that when armed can detect when a window or door is opened or tampered with. Once trouble is detected, an alarm sounds, and local police are notified if the system includes off-site monitoring. Other sensors can detect if an intruder makes his or her way inside. Motion detectors trip an alarm if they sense movement, and floor sensors trigger an alarm when they detect the weight of a trespasser's footsteps.
Don't get so carried away by technology, though, that you neglect taking low-tech precautions to protect your home. Make your home as unappealing to a burglar as possible. Trim shrubs to eliminate hiding places and install outdoor lights with motion sensors to turn on when movement is detected. Keep your doors and windows locked when you're away from home and don't hide keys in the yard – burglars are good at finding them.
When vacationing, stop newspaper and mail delivery and ask dependable neighbors to keep an eye on things.
For more, see "Should I install a home security system?"
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