When you take out a buildings or contents insurance policy, whether it’s for your home or your business premises, in order for the cover to provide you with the protection you are paying for, you will usually be required to adhere to a set of warranties.

Insurance warranties, otherwise known as conditions, are agreements that you make to comply with the requirements of your individual policy. Many of these warranties will be security related and will govern, for example, the types of locking mechanisms you have on your final exit doors and windows. They may also include a requirement to have certain security measures in place.

Compliance with Insurance Warranties is Crucial

Complying with the warranties is exceptionally important, because if you fail to do so, the insurer will be discharged from liability. This means that if you need to make a claim on your policy, there will in most circumstances be no payout.

You will usually be asked for proof that security measures such as certain types of locks and intruder alarms are in place, either at the time of applying for the cover, or when making a claim. The insurance provider will check that the specific requirements they have set out have been followed. It is the nature of these specific requirements in relation to intruder alarms that we are looking at in this post. In a future post, we’ll look at the specific requirements for other security aspects, including locks.

Intruder Alarms: Typical Insurance Requirements

Alarm Fitting

Insurance providers will often stipulate that an intruder alarm is fitted, although this will depend on the level of risk of the insured property and the area in which it is located, as well as the individual policies of the insurance provider. If your intruder alarm has been installed by a National Security Inspectorate (NSI) approved company, then you will be furnished with a Certificate of Compliance. This can be provided as proof to your insurer.

Accredited Installation

It is standard practice for insurers to stipulate that the intruder alarm is fitted and regularly maintained by an inspectorate listed company with minimum levels of accreditation, such NSI NACOSS Gold.

Usage

As well as making it a condition of the insurance policy that an alarm is fitted, there will usually be a requirement to ensure that the alarm is set and in use when the property is empty. Any alarm operating devices or alarm code details should not be left within the property.

Alarm Type

For an insurance policy to be effective, there will often be a specific requirement concerning the type of alarm that the insurer deems acceptable. You should be clear as to whether a bells only alarm is satisfactory, or whether a monitored alarm is required. The latter will usually be insisted upon for higher risk properties, and it is likely that the monitoring will have to be undertaken by an inspectorate listed company, such as the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or the Security Systems Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB).

Changes

The insurer will usually require any changes to be notified. These might include any change to the maintenance contract in force; any changes to the alarm system itself, including signalling; any reduction in or withdrawal of police response and any changes to the keyholder list.

Standards

Many policies will provide that the intruder alarm should comply with certain standards. These standards are concerned with design, installation, maintenance and monitoring and will usually include British Standards BS 8243: 2010 (confirmation system standard), BS 5979 (alarm receiving centre standard) and European Standards PD 6662: 2010 and EN 50131(general standards).

System Grade

Under PD 6662, the design of an intruder alarm system must follow a security risk assessment. This determines a grading for the system. The PD 6662 standard requires that all systems meet Grade 1 – 4, although as Grade 1 provides fairly low security, and Grade 4 systems are not widely available, you will usually only see demands by insurers for Grade 2X (unmonitored systems for lower risk homes); Grade 2 (monitored systems for higher risk homes and lower risk commercial premises) and Grade 3 (monitored systems for higher risk homes and most commercial premises).

National Security Inspectorate Gold Accredited Alarm Installation

If there is any aspect of your insurance conditions that you do not understand, you should discuss it with your provider or broker. You can also seek advice from an accredited and trusted security company.

Established in 1945, Barry Bros Security is National Security Inspectorate (NSI) Gold and BS EN ISO9001 accredited. Our entire range of approved alarm systems meet European and British standards EN50131, PD6662 and BS8243, as well as the exacting requirements of insurance providers.

If you are seeking to install an intruder alarm that complies with the conditions of your home or business insurance cover, or need to check whether an existing alarm system is compliant, why not get in touch or drop in to our London showroom for expert advice? We’re only too happy to help and our experts are on hand to give you the guidance you need.