How Much Insurance Savings Will a Home Security Alarm System Generate?


Maine’s property crime rate is a fraction of most states. We’re very fortunate to live in such a safe area. Even Portland, Maine’s largest city, has a property crime rate only slightly above the national average, and far below most U.S. cities. Sadly, crime still does happen in Maine. Many of our clients choose to protect their property by installing a burglar and fire alarm. Some include low temperature alarms, water flow alarms and other protective systems.

How Much Will an Alarm System Save on Home Insurance?

Let’s put it this way: you would never purchase an alarm system for the insurance discount. You purchase it for peace of mind and to protect your valuable property. But, if you’re going to install an alarm, you might as well get the home insurance discounts you deserve, right?

Which is the Best Alarm System for Insurance Discounts?

This list is ranked roughly from the smallest discount to the largest. Savings are based upon the average Maine homeowners insurance premium of $800 per year.

Smoke Detectors – $16

Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are the absolute minimum that every home, condo or apartment should have. Smoke alarms save lives. They also save money on home insurance – although very little. There is usually no discount for carbon monoxide detectors. The discount isn’t usually affected by whether your detectors are hard-wired or battery operated, nor how many there are in your home.

Local Burglar Alarm – $16

If you have a bell or siren on the outside of your home that’s connected to an intrusion detection system, most insurance companies will give you a small discount.

Freeze Alarm with Auto-Dialer – $24

This alarm alerts you when temperatures drop below a certain minimum. These are becoming more common with “smart home” systems, and “the internet of things”. There’s no human intervention or monitoring system; the effectiveness depends upon the person answering the phone call and actually doing something about the problem.

Central Station Fire Alarm – $40

This type of alarm is hard-wired and calls a service that’s monitored 24 X 7. If the alarm goes off, the service notifies the fire department. This is considered by most insurers to be a “top shelf” protection plan.

Freeze Alarm with Central Station – $40

This is like a hybrid between the auto-dialer freeze alarm and the central station fire alarm. In a low-temperature event, the monitored service is notified and contacts your heating contractor for emergency service.

Water Flow Alarm with Central Station or Auto-Shutoff – $40

Some of the most expensive winter claims are caused by water running for an extended time. Water damage is also a lot more common than theft or fire. Whether caused by a broken pipe, freeze-up, or a washing machine hose that lets go, water damage and cleanup can be extremely costly. If water stands for an extended time (like when you’re on vacation, or someplace warm in the winter), mold can develop. It’s no wonder that insurance companies reward people who install protective devices to minimize the chance of this type of damage.

Central Station Burglar Alarm – $40

This is like the central station fire alarm, except for burglary. If someone breaks into your home, the monitoring service contacts the police department. Note that the central station alarm credits are additive. If you have a burglary, fire, water flow and low-temperature central station system, your discount might be $160 per year.

Hard-Wired Emergency Generator – $40

Many Mainers purchased generators after Ice Storm ’98, when many towns were without electricity for days. Some insurers offer discounts for permanently installed hard-wired generators. These devices “kick on” automatically when power is interrupted, and require no human intervention. They power the most essential electrical services of a home, including the furnace or boiler, well pump and kitchen appliances. Obviously, maintaining heat during a winter storm can help avoid a costly freeze-up. Certain insurers reward that by providing a discount.

What’s the Best Insurance Company for My Maine Home?

The answer depends upon the unique features of your home: its location, construction, protective systems and more. It also depends upon your family. Do you have pets? A swimming pool? Are you near the coast? As an Independent Agent, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance offers a choice of several preferred Maine homeowners, condo and renters insurance companies. We can help you find the best match. And, if your needs change, or the insurance company does, we can help you find another – without having to switch agents. Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541, and find out why we say we’re “Independent and Committed to You”.

Geico vs. State Farm, Allstate & Progressive – Which is the best Maine car insurance for you?

Geico ad quote

State Farm, Geico, Allstate and Progressive are the largest US auto insurance companies (in order) by market share. They’re household names – thanks to the $3.5 billion they spend on advertising every year. Geico alone spends more than $1 billion, 1/6 of  all auto insurance advertising dollars.

So how do you choose the best car insurance in Maine? Could the best insurance company for you be one you’ve never heard of? It may depend on where you live, how insurance savvy you are, and what else you may have to insure.

How Insurance Savvy Are You?

Do You Speak InsuranceState Farm, Geico, Allstate and Progressive all sell directly from company to consumer via the internet and inbound call centers. If you contact them, remember that you’re talking to an insurance company employee. You’re accessing information prepared, controlled and presented by the insurance company. Expect that they will look out for their own business interests first.

You’re also giving the insurance company your phone number and email address. Be prepared for some serious email and telemarketing follow up if you don’t buy right away.

If you “speak insurance” enough to ask the right questions and advocate for your needs, call center employees will try to customize your coverage for you. Many people don’t know what questions to ask or what information to give. Too often, they end up with “off the shelf” insurance that may not fit their needs. Sadly, many don’t know what they’re missing until they’ve had a claim. We see this often when people bring us the policies they bought over the internet or the phone.

Where Do You Live?

State Farm, Allstate and Progressive sell through agents as well as directly over the phone or internet (Geico has recently started selling through employee-agents, too). State Farm and Allstate use “exclusive agents”; they only sell that one company’s products. If you live near one of these agents, it can be helpful to have a local expert to guide you through the process.

We love Portland MaineIf you buy insurance from one of these companies, their pricing and terms remain reasonable; and they don’t non-renew your policy after payment or claims trouble, you may have a long relationship with their agent. They can advise you of appropriate changes in your insurance as things change. But if anything goes wrong, or you want to shop your insurance, you’ll have to find a new agent.

Progressive is different. They also sell through Independent Agents (IAs). These are local business owners who represent more than one insurer. Most independents represent at least 4 or 5 companies (Noyes Hall & Allen represents more than a dozen insurers). If you use an Independent Agent, and your insurance company is no longer the best fit for you, an IA can help you move to another insurance company – without losing your relationship with the agent who knows you and your needs.

Related Post: When Should You Change Insurance Companies?

What Else Do You Need to Insure?

Insuring two things (home and auto, auto and boat, etc.) with the same company earns you a discount and “preferred customer” status.

State Farm and Allstate are top-10 home insurers of homes as well as autos. Geico and Progressive are not. If you get a home insurance quote from Geico, it’s underwritten by a non-affiliated company like American Modern, Foremost or Travelers. That dilutes the benefits of insuring two things with one company. Progressive recently purchased ASI, a Florida-based home insurance company (ASI doesn’t currently do business in Maine).

Even jumbo insurers like State Farm and Allstate can’t handle every type of property. If you find yourself with a square peg insurance situation that doesn’t fit the round hole, you’ll need to find a new agent – probably an Independent Agent. That agent can almost always find the best deal if they have all your insurance – the round peg, to go with the square – to tempt an insurance company.

Maybe An Insurance Company You’ve Never Heard Of is Better?

Let’s face it: the Maine market is a drop in the bucket for these insurance giants. But there are lots of New England based insurance companies that only write policies in our corner of the country. Sometimes, a smaller regional insurer is better at understanding Maine’s quirks. They’re more willing to be flexible on insuring coastal property or a home heated with wood; or a “beater” truck that you drive only in the winter, when you mothball your “summer ride”. Many people prefer the service of a regional insurer over the jumbo national outfits.

Some of the best insurance companies in America are ones you’ve never heard of.

Why have you never heard of them? Because instead of spending billions on TV advertising and sports sponsorships, they rely on local Independent Agents to recommend them to their clients. Companies like MMG, Hanover, Concord Group, Vermont Mutual and Cambridge Mutual are not household names. But, they’re cult favorites in northern New England.

Let Us Help You Decide

As an Independent Agent, Noyes Hall & Allen offers a choice or many top insurers and personalized service from a trusted advisor. We live and work where you do, and we know the Greater Portland Maine insurance market. We’re locally owned and part of the community. It costs no more to work with an Independent Agent than a call center or the internet. And, we have access to flexible options you may need throughout your life.

For more information, call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent at 207.799.5541. We’re independent and committed to you.