Business insurance intruder alarm response levels
What does an intruder alarm do?
An intruder alarm is a system which activates when it detects an intruder to a physical location. They’re usually designed to activate when there is an illegal intrusion to, or from, the property.
There are dozens of different types of system. Most of these have an audible bell or siren. These can activate inside and/or outside the building. Some will have lights that go on at the same time. Others can combine noise and lights with C.C.T.V. Certain systems are silent, with a third party, usually the Police notified. The aim being that, through stealth, the intruders can be caught. However, the vast majority of intruder alarm systems create a noise at the source of intrusion. This is designed to do two main things. Firstly, to let the intruders know that they’ve been detected. Secondly, to alert neighbours, whether business or residential, that there is an intruder.
Will an intruder alarm stop every attempted break-in?
The answer to this question is no. An intruder alarm falls into the category of physical security. This covers everything from locks to roller shutters through to toughened glass. The aim of these is to prevent intrusion. However, a determined thief will try to gain access. Physical security may slow them down. If they really want to gain illegal access, they may succeed. An intruder alarm can be seen as a last resort. Once the thief has breached the perimeter security, the alarm activates. Even when there is an alarm sounding, with lights flashing, this does not stop every intruder.
How does this affect my business insurance?
Most business policies will include cover for physical assets, such as stock and business computer equipment. Depending on the value of these items, your insurer may require a certain level of physical security. For higher values this may extend to the need for an intruder alarm.
When getting your business insurance quote, you’ll be asked about your intruder alarm. If you do not meet the level required by your insurer, you may have to upgrade your system. Your insurance policy will be subject to you setting the intruder alarm when the business is closed. If the intruder alarm is not set, your business insurance cover may be partially invalidated.
When will the Police attend, if an intruder alarm activates?
Within England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Police will only respond to an intruder alarm in two scenarios.
Firstly, where your intruder alarm company confirms there has been an activation. This is usually through a remotely monitored system, via a telephone line. Secondly, they’ll respond where a person at the scene reports an offence and requests police attendance.
What are the intruder alarm response levels?
How and when the Police respond, is broken down into three different levels.
Level 1 – Immediate response
Alarm companies monitor some intruder alarm systems. If there is a confirmed activation, they’ll notify the Police. This is level 1 response. The same applies if a person at the scene requests Policy response.
Level 2 – Immediate response, subject to resources
England, Wales and Northern Ireland are split into Police constabulary areas. Most no longer work with this level. If an intruder alarm had two false activations in a rolling twelve month period, the response fell to Level 2. This level meant that Police would attend, but only if there were no other priorities requiring attendance.
If the system had another (3rd) false activation within the 12 month period, Level 3 applied.
Level 3 – Response withdrawn
At Level 3, the Police will not respond unless they are notified by a member of the public that an offence is being committed.
How does this affect business insurance?
This note is intended as a brief summary of the response levels only. When arranging your business insurance, as noted above, you may be asked about your intruder alarm. One of these questions will be, what is your level of Police response.
If you do not have Level 1, you may have additional terms applied to any business insurance. Certain insurers will not quote if you do not have level 1.
If your Police response level is 1 and changes to 2, or 3, you must notify your business insurance broker. They may be able to discuss continued cover with your insurer, until you get back to Level 1. The key thing here is to have that discussion. You may have declared response Level 1 at quotation stage. Your insurance cover will be agreed on this basis. If there is a break in and the Police do not respond straight away, your insurers will want to know why. Please do not assume that your cover will continue unchanged.
If you have any questions about business insurance, or are looking for a quote, please speak to Jelf Clark Thomson.