How To Choose A Home Alarm System That’s Right For You

Caeva O'Callaghan | September 5th, 2023

Monitored, smart, internal or external siren, wireless or wired – there are heaps of factors to take into account when choosing an alarm for your home.

In this article, we’ll dive into the big questions:

  • Which home alarm is best?
  • Will an alarm affect my home insurance?
  • What kind of alarm do I need?

Your personal circumstances will all influence your choice: do you live in a remote or urban area? How often are you in your property? What’s your relationship with your neighbours like?

But don’t get overwhelmed: read on to choose a system that suits you.

Alarms and home insurance

Insurance companies put home alarms into five categories:

  1. NSAI approved and connected
  2. NSAI approved and not connected
  3. Connected alarm
  4. Unconnected alarm
  5. Other

A DIY alarm system such as Nest would come under category 5. Unfortunately, no home insurance company allows a discount for this type of alarm.

This doesn’t mean they’re not worth having, as any alarm will make you safer in your home. But if you’re worried about insurance claims, pick up the phone and give us a call. Whether you’re able to claim will depend on the policy you have. For example, both Aviva and Zurich will pay a burglary claim if you qualify for the alarm discount and the alarm is not activated during the break-in, but this will increase your excess.

What happens when it goes off?

Not all alarms work the same way, and only some home alarms will get you a discount on your home insurance. But before you start shopping, give some thought to what you want to happen if someone should break in:

  • Bell only. Your classic burglar alarm will make a loud noise, and nothing else. They don’t contact anyone, such as the police or your mobile phone, but they may deter invaders and alert neighbours.
  • Dialler. These alarms automatically dial your phone number, or an emergency contact such as police.
  • Smart alarms. Integrates with your smartphone via an app to alert you wherever you are when the alarm goes off.
  • Outsource security. You can also pay a security company to install an alarm, and they will take action – e.g. visit your property or call someone – when it goes off.

Make a list of must-have features

With these priorities in mind, make a shortlist of the best kinds of alarm for your situation, and weigh up the pros and cons of each. The most secure system on the market might be hard for average Joes to disarm – which keeps you safe, but might not always be practical if you come home every day from work and unload shopping.

If you live on a tightly-packed street, a loud, malfunctioning alarm will keep your house safe but might also turn you into a social pariah. A silent alarm might keep the neighbours happy.

With some smart home alarms, you can see photos of visitors, get a notification on your phone if suspicious activity is detected, and switch the alarm on and off wherever you go.

Shop with a budget in mind

Feeling safe in your own home is priceless. You can’t put a cost on the security of your sentimental possessions and loved ones, but you have to do it when buying a home alarm system.

With advances in technology, basic home alarm systems are more affordable than ever and no less effective for basic security.

Be aware that most monitored systems require a one-off payment for the equipment with a monthly payment for monitoring via a remote service. The long-term cost will be greater, but paying someone else to watch your home may give you peace of mind.

Monitoring your own home via an app is easy with systems like Nest Secure, but the up-front cost is often a little more expensive. Perhaps more importantly, response times may be slower – for instance, if you’re in the cinema with your phone on silent while an unwanted visitor comes calling.

Practise basic home safety

We would recommend everyone be as safe as possible, but not every property needs – or can accommodate – a comprehensive home alarm system. Whether you buy an alarm or not, basic home safety should always be observed.

Only give spare keys to people you trust. Never leave them undercheap fake rocks designed for the purpose,or door mats.

Lock all windows and doors when you leave your home and check hidden points of entry. These include the back of the garage or a first floor balcony, which could be accessible to a daring intruder.

When you go on holiday make sure you put lights on a timer. Ask someone to close and open your curtains, and don’t let post pile up behind the door. Get a letterbox cage, or ask to pause delivery.

Alarm systems are a fantastic way to feel safe in your property, and are no longer prohibitively expensive. Protecting your loved ones and your valuables is simple, but it’s best to shop around.

Talk to us in with any related alarm and home insurance questions.

One of the key benefits of using an insurance broker for your home insurance is that you can consult us with any questions you have regarding your home insurance. We provide immediate professional advice from certified agents. So, if you have any queries regarding an alarm system and how it may affect your home insurance, please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get a home insurance quote with us directly online. We compare 12 Insurers in the Irish market to get you the right cover for your individual circumstances.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.