The transition from summer to autumn has officially started. The temperature is growing colder, the leaves have started to fall and the evenings are getting darker. But darker evenings have historically meant higher crime rates. So it’s unsurprising that more people search for home alarm systems in the colder, darker months of the year.
As home insurance specialists, we’re passionate about helping people like you make sure their homes are as safe as possible. It’s worth mentioning here that there are some key differences in features between typical home security systems. The main difference being that you can either opt for equipment that includes monitoring by an external security company, or equipment that you monitor yourself. Which one you require will depend on your needs and budget and each of these options can include lots of different features. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on the kind of security system that you self-monitor.
Do I need an alarm system?
Whether or not to invest in an alarm system is personal preference. Things you may like to consider are ease of access to your property, valuables within your property and the crime rate in your area. Benefits of having an alarm/security system include feeling safer, deterring crime and protecting valuables within your home. The main disadvantage of a home alarm/security system is the associated cost.
What is the best security camera for my home?
Here are some of the top home security systems for 2020.
One of the top rated alarm systems this year is the Simplisafe wireless home security system.
• Smart camera for regular/emergency monitoring
• Motion sensor alarm system including light up keypad
• Entry alerts
• No contracts
• No phone line needed
There are lots of different models depending on your needs and budget. For the foundation system, prices start at £200 and range up to £404 if you have more extensive needs. You can also pick up a ‘Simplicam’ from just £49.
The Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm includes a full package of features to support your home’s security.
• Smart hub
• 2 motion detectors
• An app-controlled system
• Wireless accessories
• Compatible with Alexa and your smart watch
• Real-time notifications
£249 for the IA-320 model.
Blink are an Amazon company and specialise in indoor/outdoor security cameras.
• Different packages with a choice between the number of indoor cameras
• Different packages with a choice between the number of weatherproof outdoor cameras
• Motion detection
• Live view
• Instant alerts
• Temperature sensor
• House alarm
• Other non-camera equipment
Prices start at £79.99 for an indoor camera system with one camera, but range up to £289.99 for an indoor camera system with five cameras.
Another Amazon product, this kit includes a few different pieces of equipment to support your home security goals.
• Base station
• Motion detector
• Contact sensor
• Range extender
• Alexa compatible
• Camera (but the kit can integrate with cameras easily)
The five piece kit costs £249, but it you’re in need of some additional functionality, you can opt for the seven, nine or 10 piece kit.
5/ Arlo Pro 2
The Arlo Pro 2 is a rechargeable wireless security camera for your home.
• 1080p HD quality camera
• Weather resistant
• Sound and motion detectors
• Two-way audio
• Night vision
• Security siren
• Integration with systems like Alexa and Google Assistant
The Arlo Pro 2 starts at £398.99 for the two camera kit. However, you can also opt for three or four cameras.
What to look for in a home security camera system
When you’re looking for additional home security, you’ll probably have something specific in mind, for example, an indoor camera or alarm system. Throughout this article you may have realised that there are various types of home security kits you can purchase that either include all of, or just one of your desired features.
Therefore, you’ll more than likely be looking for one, or some of the following:
• Indoor/outdoor cameras with live footage
• Motion sensors
• Temperature detectors
• Alarm system with keypad
• App control
• Automation/integration with apps and digital platforms like Alexa
• Door/window entry alerts
• Pet-friendly features
• Security lights
In addition, some companies offer monitoring of your live footage with direct notification to guards/the police if there’s an emergency.
There are lots of different options available and the best thing to do is assess all options before making an informed decision based on your needs and budget.
How to secure your home
It’s never a bad time to make your home more secure. Here are some tips to help make sure your home is as safe as possible:
• Make sure all entrances are locked and secured (doors, windows, sheds, back garden gates, garages etc.).
• Get a safe for your expensive/sentimental belongings
• Install a security camera system
• Install security smart lights
• Install a motion sensor/temperature sensor
• Get home insurance
• Make sure your wifi is locked and secured
• Don’t hide keys outside
• Keep valuables out of sight
• Don’t post personal information online
• Don’t publicly announce holidays
Do you need a permit for a home security system?
In short, no you don’t need a permit/license for a home security system/home security camera. However, you should bear in mind that you are responsible for operating your camera in such a way that respects the privacy of others. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner provides advice on how you can use your security system and comply with the law.
Some tips for making sure you’re respecting the privacy of others whilst keeping your house secure are as follows:
• Ensure your outdoor camera is positioned for footage of your own property
• Avoid positioning your camera so that it overlooks neighbouring properties
• Avoid positioning your camera so that it overlooks the street
Can home security cameras be hacked?
There have been incidents in the past where certain security cameras/baby monitors have been hacked into due to design flaws (some examples of which you can find here). When you're searching for a security camera, you'll probably want to do your own research into the security of the systems themselves and any security breaches the company have experienced in the past. Hopefully you’ll find a system which has outstanding security and you’ll have confidence that they can keep your footage safe.
How much does home security cost per month?
As highlighted in the products above, if you’re looking for a home security system that you can self-monitor, you’ll usually just pay a one-off fee for the kit. In the well-reviewed products we’ve talked about, the prices range from £79.99 to £398.99. If you’re looking for a security system which includes continuous monitoring of your property, these are likely to be more expensive kits and may include a monthly fee for monitoring.
Don’t forget your home insurance
An important part of keeping your property safe and secure is having home insurance which protects you against lots of different circumstances like fire, theft, smoke, flood and accidental damage. Home insurance not only protects your actual property, but can also include cover for your contents (things like furniture, clothes and jewellery).