Simply put, if you're looking for a discount on your insurance policy, it depends on how you answer a couple of questions. For instance, which type of security camera system do you own, is it monitored, what state you live in, and which insurance company do you have? Most insurance companies offer a percentage discount for monitored surveillance systems. Whether you have commercial or homeowners insurance, the potential savings certainly await! With that said, it's up to you to look at the big picture. Before taking the leap towards installing security cameras or a surveillance system, let's talk. The biggest savings may come from where you least expect it.
The Ins & outs of insurance discounts
When it comes to insurance discounts for security, one thing is sure, each insurance company has it's own set of rules. Some insurance companies require proof of purchase, others will simply request the systems specifications. As of yet, we've not seen an insurance company offer a discount for installing un-monitored CCTV security cameras. Even if your security cameras are linked to motion detectors, which sound an audible alarm upon unwanted guests, a discount simply does not apply without you or emergency personnel being notified automatically.
Some insurance company discounts can be as much as 20% but the majority are far less. To receive the maximum discount, a monitored security system will be required. State Farm Mutual, for example, offers two different types of discounts depending on they type of monitoring. If your system is linked to a central monitoring station, which automatically notifies emergency personal, you may be eligible for up to a 15% discount. However, if your system only notifies you, the home/business owner, you're looking at up to a 7% discount. Again, insurance companies will usually not offer a discount for an audible alarm system only, meaning there is no form of active/automatic monitoring.
vs. monthly monitoring fee?
This is where things get tricky. Both company-monitored and self-monitored security systems will boost your level of security and aid in deterring and/or catching unwanted guests. Comparing the pros and cons of both is imperative before choosing one or the other. Many times, the monthly fee for active monitoring completely voids the discount you'll receive from the insurance company. Beyond the numbers, it's important to take into account your personal preference. Many home/business owners like being in control of their security and thus save money up-front by successfully managing their own security cameras. Others prefer to have someone else do the work, paying a monthly fee for monitoring services. Either is fine, but if numbers are your bottom line, typically you'll save more money in the long run by using a self-monitored system.
"typically you'll save more money in the
long run by using a self-monitored system"
All in all, the right type of security cameras and/or system can provide you with peace of mind. If properly planned and integrated, a security system can protect and save you money now and down the road. For example, if you're a business owner, no doubt employee theft is something on you mind. As you're probably aware, according to last year's statistics for U.S. retailers, employee theft outranked shoplifting as the biggest source of shrinkage. Yikes! On a positive note, however, statistics show that organizations who have anti-theft methods in place, like security cameras, have as high as 54% lower losses and have found those frauds were identified anywhere from 33.3% - 50% more quickly than organizations without such detection controls. With that said, it's easier to consider surveillance as an investment you'll quickly recoup!
Zoom out and
look at what's best for you!
So if you want the bottom line, whether you're a home or business owner, compare your options and think through each scenario. Do your research and take your time making a decision. If discounts are important to you, check with your insurance company first. Run the numbers! Whether you have commercial or homeowners insurance, the possibility of discounts and annual savings are certainly there, but don't forget to factor in the monthly fee for a monitored system. As my Father would always exclaim, "a penny saved is a penny earned!" Remember, a carefully planned and well-integrated security system is what will ultimately provide you with the most savings!