Unconnected, unmonitored burglar and fire alarm system?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 22, 2013

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Insurance Question from Tampa, FL

Asked on 06/22/2013

Unconnected, unmonitored burglar and fire alarm system? Reviewing client's homeowners insurance I have noticed several persons who take a premium discount for a home security system.. that isn't functioning. They do not want to pay for monitoring charges. What would be the consequences in the event of a burglary or fire, do claims departments routinely ask 'Why didn't your monitoring system signal the police/fire department?' If they determined the system wasn't functioning, would they/could they deny the claim? In practicality, what happens? Thanks. RJR

Answer given on June 25, 2013

Under most homeowner insurance policies there is a credit given for having an alarm system. The amount of credit depends upon the type of system. Some systems are local – ringing only at the residence and others are monitored by the police and fire, or a separate monitoring company.While the credits are given, in most cases there is no requirement that the system be turned on. There are a few policies that make it a requirement that the system be hooked up and functioning, but most do not have that requirement.Your client should review their insurance policy to see if such a warranty exists. If not, then there is no requirement. Of course, if there is a claim and the insurance company learns the system is not working or not connected they will remove the credit. They may make a requirement that the system be connected going forward, but it does not mean that a claim will be denied, unless fraud is suspected.

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