Do Burglar Bars Effect Homeowners' Insurance?

Consult insurance agents or brokers and you may be surprised to learn how many homeowner's insurance products are on the market. Given myriad choices, a homeowner can shop for pricing and coverage that suits his lifestyle. Policy premiums can be further reduced by discounts, and security systems are among the most popular premium reducers. Burglar bars can equal sophisticated alarm systems when discounts are handed out, so yes, these security measures do affect premiums.

About Homeowner's Insurance

Designed to replace contents or compensate homeowners for destroyed, damaged or stolen property, homeowner’s policies can cover everything from furniture replacement to medical bills should a visitor be injured while visiting your home. Homeowner’s premium rates are determined by factors such as the deductible you choose and the state, city and neighborhood in which you live. A high crime rate can pump up the cost of your policy, and if you live in a rural area where services such as fire protection don’t exist or are deemed insufficient, your premium can increase, too. Pricing and discounts are unique from state to state, as many homeowners have discovered after relocating.

Insurance Discounts Reduce Cost

A variety of methods can reduce the cost of your homeowner's insurance, including holding multiple policies (such as automobile and homeowner's coverage) from the same insurer. A credit score of 680 and higher may even entitle you to a premium discount. That said, few features are as likely to earn a discount as putting into place security measures that show you’re serious about mitigating loss in the event of a home invasion. Burglar bars, called window guards these days, add an architectural element to the facade of your home that “will not make your home look like a jailhouse,” says an Atlanta manufacturer, writing about his company’s designs that camouflage a window's secure infrastructure beneath an attractive facade.

Protect and Preserve

It’s the mantra of many police forces throughout the U.S., but protecting and preserving should be your mantra, too — especially if you live in an area with a higher-than-average crime rate. Deter criminals by installing burglar bars and security doors to protect your family and lower homeowner insurance rates. A high-priced security setup can set you back big bucks, but only dead bolt locks and burglar bars represent a one-time investment that does not require you to pay maintenance and service fees over time. According to Insurance Agencies.com, adding one or more dead bolt locks to your home can result in a 5 percent discount on your homeowner’s insurance policy. In some cases, burglar bars can earn another 5 percent discount. Even fancy alarm systems may not offer you more than a 5 percent discount.

More Effective Than Electronics

Expensive burglar alarm systems can’t always be counted on to protect families and home contents. Clever criminals can disarm them, and homeowners aren’t always faithful about setting the alarms due to complacency and forgetfulness. That burglar bars qualify for the same discount on a homeowner’s policy as a state-of-the-art alarm system says a lot about your choices. Pair burglar bars with shatterproof windows, and your homeowner’s premium could be reduced even more. According to Cost Owl.com, a website committed to calculating prices, “Home security bars can also help lower your home insurance costs … by as much as 20% (depending on your carrier).”

Dollars and Sense

Use common sense when choosing burglar bars. Your family must be able to escape from your home should a fire or a dangerous situation arise, so don’t skimp or the money you save on your homeowner’s insurance will be for naught. Cost Owl.com estimates the cost of installing burglar bars as follows: “A typical 16”x24” window will cost approximately $100 for a security bar setup.” Doors can run from $200 to $400. Both feature dead bolt fittings with escape releases. It can cost another $150 to $400 for labor. These price quotes originate with an Atlanta company and don’t necessarily reflect costs elsewhere in the U.S. By the way, your homeowners insurance company may require photos of your burglar bars before it discounts your rates.

Photo Credits

  • bars on school window image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.

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