Save Money On Insurance With A Security System

As a homeowner, you have no doubt invested precious time and money with realtors, bankers, maybe lawyers, even architects and contractors. All in an effort to secure the home of your dreams. Now that you have it, the wallet and purse draining may seem never ending. As a first time home buyer or builder, you probably do not have all of the necessary tools and home accents of a fully functioning domicile. You’ll probably need to purchase the essentials like furniture, and appliances like a refrigerator and a washer/dryer. Needless to say, these items do not come cheap.Money-401kcalculator.org

In addition to the essential purchases, your home security is a top priority. You’ve moved in, you have the keys – well what if all of your new neighbors also have keys? It’s not uncommon for neighbors to exchange a set of keys, and since you don’t know the neighbors yet, changing your locks should be step number one. In fact, according to Zillow.com you should assume that, “everyone and his brother has a set of keys to your new home.”

Realizing your home is potentially compromised, you change your locks. Great! You’ve taken the first step in protecting what matters most. However, a simple lock and key may not cut it when it comes to home security. Having a comprehensive security system installed will not only help prevent catastrophe, it could save you money. If you’re considering a home security system, be sure to hire a licensed and insured specialist like Perfect Connections, Inc. Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we can guide you through the subtle nuances of a comprehensive security system from customizing features to final installation.

How can a security system SAVE you money?

Besides the more obvious savings that come with a security system, like fire and burglary prevention, you can actually save on your homeowners insurance. Wait, insurance companies offer discounts? Yes they do! In all likelihood, during the process of buying your home you’ve signed for a home insurance policy. Most mortgage lenders won’t let you sign for a house until you have an insurance policy in place, or are working on obtaining one. According to Peter G. Miller for realtor.com, even if you own the house outright, sans mortgage, insurance is still a smart investment as it will help protect you and your family from financial disaster if something were to happen to your home.

Insurance Definition-Alan CleaverJust how much can you save by installing a security system? The answer to this question varies, it all depends on your insurance provider and the state you reside in. Although each company has a different policy, the average savings can be up to 20% (Erin Raub for safesoundfamily.com). Each company will likely have different discount/credit or premium reduction qualifications. Your best bet is to call your policy provider and ask specific questions, especially if you’re at the beginning stages of choosing a security system. There will be different discounts for various security features. For example, your discount/credit will be less if you only have local fire alarms and dead bolts versus a comprehensive monitored alarm system. Nick DiUlio for insurancequotes.com references Michael Barry from the Insurance Information Institute, citing that, “homeowners typically can expect discounts of at least 5 percent for smoke detectors, burglar alarms or deadbolt locks. For more advanced alarm systems that report directly to a police station, fire department or other monitoring stations,some companies may cut premiums by as much as 15 percent or 20 percent.” This type of discount may also be available to renters.

Here is a list (in no particular order) of some insurance companies that offer home security discounts/credits:

Aside from the cost of a security system, and the installation, you will be paying a monthly monitoring fee which can range anywhere from $25-50. Over the span of a year this will cost you between $300-600. How does this compare with the cost of insurance? According to homesecuritysystems.info the average homeowner will spend between $1,200-1,500/year on insurance premiums. If your insurer offers a discount on the high end, up to 20%, you could save up to $300/year. Keep in mind the fact that every time you make a claim, your premium is likely to go up. Installing a security system can help you avoid having to make claims by protecting your home and its contents.

As long as you own your security system, you will save money on insurance. Even if the initial cost of a security system may seem substantial, it typically ends up paying off in the end. Whether it’s preventing an attempted burglary or lowering your yearly insurance costs, a security system is a sound investment.

For more information on security systems and their features go to Perfect Connections, Inc. We’ve been providing security systems solutions to Central and Northern New Jersey since 1992. Needless to say, we know a thing or two about home security applications, and their benefits.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credits: Image #1 by 401kcalculator.org-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Alan Cleaver-Flickr-Creative Commons

Alarm System Maintenance 101

So you bought an alarm system, what kind of maintenance and service should you do?

Really, you won’t need to do too much. It should work flawlessly for quite some time. The first thing to go will be batteries. All systems will have to have their system battery replaced after 3 to 5 years. When the battery is low, the keypad will notify you as will the central station. The batteries for most alarm systems in service today are 12 volt and 4 to 7 amp hour. Newer graphic self-contained systems have different smaller batteries – for example, the 2Gig Go Control has a 7.2 volt back up battery. All batteries should give you 24 hour back up. It is not a bad idea to schedule replacement of your battery every 3 years to preempt any possible issues.

If you have a wireless alarm system, you will also need to replace the batteries in the various devices such as door and window transmitters, wireless motion detectors, wireless glass break detectors, wireless carbon monoxide detectors, wireless smoke detectors, key fobs, panic buttons, and other wireless devices. Most of the new devices use lithium batteries, from CR123 3 Volt lithium batteries to lithium watch sized batteries. The smaller the device, the smaller the battery. Typically the bigger batteries last longer, 3 years plus, while the watch type batteries last 2 years plus. Devices that are used most often, like entry doors, drain quicker. On the newer systems, the keypad tells you which transmitter has a low battery, making replacement easy.

Make sure your alarm company shows you how to change the batteries during the installation. You should also get a list of the batteries required for all the various devices you have so you don’t have to scramble to find out when they are low. If you choose not to replace your own batteries, the alarm company should be happy to replace them for you.

Older systems use typical alkaline batteries, 9 volt, AAA and AA are common. These need to be replaced more often. Many older systems don’t tell you when the batteries are low so regular replacement is necessary.

Other than changing batteries, not much else is necessary. Make sure devices such as motion detectors and smoke detectors are clear of spider webs and that’s about it.

If installed and programmed correctly, your alarm system should monitor all parts and devices on the system, as well as services it is connected to, like power, telephone, and cellular. If any of these systems go down, your alarm system should alert you to that fact. The first reaction is to think that there is something wrong with your alarm system, when in reality it is working correctly. It is supposed to tell you when it is compromised when a service it relies on is not working properly.

Even though the system monitors itself, testing the alarm system is something that you should regularly do. You depend on your alarm system and you should make sure that it is working properly all the time. The best way to test the system is as follows: Call the central station and put the system on test. Arm the system and then trip a zone. Reset the alarm and then call the central station to make sure they received the right signal. Next week put it back on test and trip the next zone. Go clockwise around your house and you will eventually check all your devices. It is worth the effort to protect your home and family.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, or if you would like us to perform a Home Safety and Security Audit, absolutely free, please call 800-369-3962.

The Future Of Communication – 5G And Security

5g-network-300x183In the past, we’ve written about how to protect your network’s connected devices, and the importance of good cybersecurity with the upcoming launch of 5G. This week we decided to take a step back and go into a bit more detail about 5G itself. So, what is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation (hence, 5-G) of wireless communications. Right now most cell phones communicate over a 4G network, such as LTE.  5G rollout has already started in certain areas, with nationwide coverage expected sometime next year.

Like other generational improvements, faster speeds are one of the main features of 5G networks, with anywhere from 500mbps-1.5gbps speeds available. But this generation is unique, in that it has a number of other benefits.

  • lower latency
  • lower power requirements
  • increase in number of connected devices

When it launches, unless your device is equipped with 5G technology, it won’t be able to take advantage of these benefits. But most new devices launched after the 5G rollout will come 5G-capable.

So why does this matter? These improvements in communication speed and reliability are able to power a number of cutting edge technologies that will be used more and more frequently in the near future, such as virtual reality, driverless cars, remote surgery, and more.

In terms of security specifically, 5G connectivity will allow more devices to communicate even faster over your home network – for example security cameras, motion detectors, smart home devices, and many more. By involving machine learning and AI, your smart home will be able to learn more about your behaviors in order to provide increased convenience and protection.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on how 5G can help protect your home or business, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Protecting Your Smart Home – Cyber Attacks & 5G

For those who own alarm systems, whether they are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers. With the upcoming launch of 5G, it is extremely important this year to protect anything connected to your home network to prevent these cyber attacks.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween With These Home Security Tips

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Happy Halloween from all of us here at Perfect Connections! Here are some tips for you and your family to make sure the holiday is safe and enjoyable.

Tips For Your Home

Leave Lights On

A well-lit home is a safe home. Whether you’re in the house handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, or you’ll be out in the neighborhood, keep some lights on around the house to show that someone is still home. Outdoor lighting also can help prevent any unwanted visitors, and makes it safer for any visitors coming for treats.

Your Security System

With the possibility for a lot of foot-traffic around your home, your security system may need a bit of fine tuning. Make sure any cameras are pointed at the areas that are most likely to receive the most traffic. The front door/porch, driveway, and if possible sidewalk and street outside the house are very important areas to be able to view. If you plan on leaving the house unattended, make sure your system is armed, and make sure anyone returning to the house know’s the alarm code to disarm the system.

Tips For Outside Your Home

Trick-Or-Treating

Make sure all candy is checked before being eaten. It is highly recommended that any candy that isn’t pre-wrapped is thrown out. And always remember – safety in numbers!

Cell Phones

If you’re sending your kids out into the neighborhood to trick-or-treat on their own, a cell phone is an extremely important tool to help them keep safe. Make sure they have a fully charged cellphone, and that they know which number to call in case of an emergency. If you’re going out with your children, make sure you have alerts set up so your security system can notify you of any incidents at your home.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962.

 

Is Your Security Provider Licensed?

There are many reasons to make sure the person you hire to do a job is qualified. When it comes to installing camera systems, it’s the law.Video Surveillance-Christian Schnettelker

In New Jersey, a professional surveillance system installer needs to be licensed by the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee. According to Eric Marcy at Wilentz Attorneys at Law, “many local Informational Technology Companies have begun to dabble in installing CCTV monitoring as part of their product/service offerings.” While it may make initial sense to hire an IT professional to install network-based cameras, they may lack many of the qualifications that a licensed surveillance system installer has due to the training required to obtain the proper license.

Eric Marcy also states that “While Information Technology businesses may find the installation of CCTV and surveillance systems a natural extension of the services the business may offer, failure to have a proper license for such services will result in legal exposure and penalties. Prior to any Information Technology firm from offering, marketing or providing such services it should fully investigate the requirements necessary to allow it to provide such services. IT companies would be well served to consult with counsel to review the proposed services and proposed marketing to insure that the IT firm is not in violation of State law. ”

If you’re not sure if the person or company you are hiring is licensed, you can verify on the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs website.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and are considering installing cameras in your home or business, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE. Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions since 1992.

Smart Homes and 5G – How To Stay Protected

For those who own alarm systems, whether they are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers. With the upcoming launch of 5G, it is extremely important this year to protect anything connected to your home network.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”

Not Just Peace Of Mind: Security Systems and Home Value

American Advisors Group-House SoldHow do you judge the value of your home? Is it the market price? Is it the neighborhood where it’s located? Or maybe it’s the aesthetics. Actually it’s all of the above and then some. If you’re a homeowner one sure fire way to add value to your home is by installing a comprehensive home security system. A home security system offers a peace of mind to homeowners they can’t get anywhere else, but that’s not all.

With a comprehensive home security system you’re better protected from burglary and break-ins, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and vandalism. While the initial cost of a home security system may seem like a substantial investment, the return is even greater. Having installed comprehensive home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. can attest to the added value.

There might not be a direct correlation between the market value of a home and whether or not a security system is present, but the indirect impact is evident in buyer interest. If you anticipate selling your home in the future having added safety features adds a perceived value to your home. Like with anything we purchase throughout our lives, prospective home buyers are likely to feel better about a price tag if safety is a factor. In the mind of a potential buyer the more security features a home comes with, the less they have to spend after the fact which makes spending more upfront less of an issue. That is why installing a comprehensive security system that includes surveillance, monitoring, fire and burglar alarms, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, motion detectors, window and door sensors, and home automation is worth the investment. The more homes in your neighborhood with these features the better. In fact, according to HomeGain.com, “A neighborhood that has more home security systems will, over time, have a lower crime rate. That lower crime rate, in turn, leads to higher property values for the neighborhood.”

Other security features prospective buyers might be looking for are strong sash locks for all windows, including those above ground level. Reinforced or hardwood exterior doors, commercial grade door locks, and automatic or motion detected exterior lighting are all pluses in the eyes of a potential buyer. While all of these features are appealing to a buyer, resale isn’t the only reason to invest in your homes security. It’s that peace of mind every homeowner desires, you can’t put a price on that.

Perceived value is great, but so it monetary value. A home security system can actually affect you monetarily. How? Insurance! As a homeowner you know that everything has a cost, insurance is no exception. Wouldn’t it be great if you could save money on your homeowners insurance? Good news, you can. Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners for having a security system and various security features. Every company has different policies, but some offer up to 20% discounts. Be sure to contact your provider for details and exceptions. If you have home automation as part of your security system, you’re setting yourself up for savings again. With home automation you can remotely adjust lighting, temperature, and sometimes select appliances. This can save you money on your utilities bill every month by using energy when you specify. It also helps prevent energy waste which benefits the environment as well.

Whether you’re looking to improve the value of your home for resale or simply want to do what is best for your family, adding a comprehensive home security system will always be beneficial. It’ll save you money and provide you and your family with peace of mind. To assure you are getting the best deal and system for your home, it’s imperative you hire a professional. A haphazard mix of security parts assembled incorrectly doesn’t add value to anything.

Professional security system experts, like our team at Perfect Connections, Inc., will provide an initial in person assessment of the security risks specific to your home and create a custom system from there. Every home is unique and should be treated as such don’t fall for a one-stop solution. As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing custom comprehensive security systems to northern and central New Jersey residents for the past 23 years. We know there is no substitute for personalized service that suits your individual needs.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image By American Advisors Group-Flickr-Creative Commons

How Many Tiers Of Security Do You have?

One of the most important techniques to protecting your home is creating tiered security. It’s not very difficult for a burglar to get past one line of defense. The more difficult it is and the longer it takes a burglar to break into your home, the more likely they’ll run away. Neighbors are also more likely to spot someone breaking in if you are able to slow any potential thieves down. Adding additional tiers of security can easily mean the difference between staying protected and a potential robbery.

House with lock-Ts_pasha

The first tier is your exterior. Make sure your exterior is well maintained and looks occupied, even if you’re away. Unmowed lawns, newspapers on the porch, and mail piling up are all signs that no one is watching the house. Motion detector lights and well trimmed bushes/hedges protect you from people sneaking onto your property. If you need to leave a spare key outside, make sure it is well hidden and not in commonly checked places (under the mat, in the mailbox, under an out of place fake rock). For the most effective security, external weatherproofed security cameras with a 24 hour monitoring company can provide a high level of protection.

Your house itself is your next tier. About 85% of burglaries take place with the thief entering through the front or back door. About 60% of break ins are accomplished using force. Replace hollow doors with solid-core doors, add a dead-bolt, and reinforce the door jamb with metal. Adding a security film to windows will make them much more difficult to break. Most importantly, make sure all windows and doors are locked when you leave the house, even for a quick trip to the store. 30% of burglaries occur through an unlocked window or door.

Inside your house is the most critical tier. Use thick drapes and keep valuables out of view so burglars can’t see inside what you have inside your house. Electronics and jewelry are often the most sought-after items for criminals. Identify theft is also one of the fastest growing crimes. Make sure these valuable assets are protected – a large heavy Internal motion detectors, glassbreak detectors, and video cameras on an alarm system provide a comprehensive defense against potential burglaries.

While the physical barriers to a burglar getting in is extremely important, another aspect to remember is the psychological defenses. Signs and stickers that an alarm system is installed in the house are great deterrents. A dog is also a very large reason many potential burglars would avoid a house – even if you don’t have one, making it look like you do by posting a sign or leaving a leash outside can help. Audible alarm systems are not just to alert you or neighbors to a potential intruder, but also to scare away anyone that has made it into your house.

 

If You Recently Purchased Your Home, Read This!

Helpful Security Tips For New Homeowners

There is no doubt that moving into a new home can be exciting; however, between getting all your belongings moved in, unpacking and getting organized, it can be quite easy to overlook security in the new home.

Thieves work where there is an opportunity. They will prey on people or locations they believe are “easy targets.” With movers coming and going from the space and the homeowners being distracted, a burglar can easily take advantage of the situation.

Prior to settling into your new home, take some time to address a few security concerns. Some tips that can help to keep new homeowners and their belongings safe include:

 

American Advisors Group-House Sold

Change the locks – this should include window locks. You never know how many other copies are “out there.”
Perform a security audit – walk around and try to think like a criminal. Address any issues such as broken fences, bushes near the house or windows or doors that do not shut securely.
Install a security system – monitored security services are perhaps the best way to help keep your home secure.
Install plenty of outdoor lighting – motion or sensor lights are great at deterring would-be intruders.
Get to know the neighbors.

 

Moving into a new house is a huge occasion, but you cannot ignore the security issues that may be present. Be sure that you take note of the tips here to keep your new home and yourself safe and secure.

 

Helpful Additions You Can Make To Your Home Security Alarms

Your home is your castle. For most people, protecting it is a top priority. One of the best investments you can make to provide superior protection for your home, belongings and family is a home security alarm. Modern options are far more advanced than the security systems that were available as little as a decade ago. Getting to know some of the new features and advancements offered by these security systems will help you see why they are such an invaluable asset.

Remote Access Viewing – One of the most helpful additions that you can add to your home security alarm is a set of cameras. With the advances in modern security technology, it is now possible to access the video cameras in your house from anywhere in the world. This will allow you to view your home – no matter where you are – to make sure that everything is safe and that no one has broken in.

Increased Electrical Safety – Another helpful feature offered with modern home security alarms allows you to determine whether or not any electrical components, such as a stove or outlet, have been left on in your home. This will help to improve the overall level of safety in your home.

Added Fire Safety – Yet another beneficial thing that you can add to your home security system is smoke detectors and sensors. In most cases, these are very easily added to your system and they can provide a lot of added safety. When a fire is detected the alarm will sound and if you are paying for monitoring, the proper authorities will be contacted. This will help to increase the response time and it will help to reduce the damage that you have to your home in the event of a fire.

Installing a modern security system or upgrading your existing one just makes sense. It will provide you with peace of mind that your home and family are safe and secure.