Break-ins are scary. As a homeowner, you might feel some anxiety when glancing at crime statistics. The average burglary in 2011 resulted in a loss of $2,185, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. For the average citizen, that’s no small chunk of change. Not only do you worry about lost property, but you also stress about your family’s safety. The only thing worse than someone breaking in while no one's home is someone breaking in while you and your family are there.
Warding off burglars is a great reason to purchase a monitored security system. Experts can dispatch help to your home at the first sign of trouble. Experts say homes with security systems are 2-3 times less likely to be burglarized than those that don't have them. But burglars are far from the only thing you'll be protected from with such a system.
Consider these other five ways your system can protect you:
• Fire. Sensors detect smoke, heat and flames, giving occupants and firefighters an early warning. That gets residents out and firefighters in before things proceed too far, limiting injuries and damage in the process. Think this isn't a real problem? In 2011, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, there were 370,000 residential fires in the U.S. They caused $6.9 billion in damage.
• Water. Aging or failed plumbing causes more than $3 billion annually in losses. Water sensors alert you when moisture makes contact, which allows you to prevent additional damage to your home and its contents
• Carbon monoxide. Many systems have the option of adding carbon monoxide sensors. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that has no odor or other warning signs.
• Medical alerts. In a medical emergency, every second saved in getting emergency medical personnel on the scene can be big. With a monitored security system, you get direct attention from a professional who can dispatch help immediately.
• Home automation. Many systems offer several automation options. You can use your security system keypad, your smartphone or your computer to turn lights and music on and off and control your thermostat remotely. You also can operate your electronics and even your sprinkler system.
There's one other benefit of having a home security system that you might not have considered. Most home insurance providers offer discounts for policyholders who get them. You could save up to 10% on your premium by providing your carrier with proof of your system.
Make no mistake, securing your home is the reason you should buy a security system. But most systems offer much more than just home security. When you add up all the benefits, purchasing a verified home security system makes even more sense. You'll be protected against criminals and a variety of other potential problems. In many ways, you're buying peace of mind.
This article was contributed by Arthur Murray, who writes for HomeInsurance.com. Arthur has more than 30 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.