Who’s Liable When Your Home Security System Fails?

February 14, 2011 in Home Security System,Security improvements

Most homeowners install a home security system to get peace of mind. After all, if your home is protected by cameras, motion detectors, glass-break sensors, and other forms of burglar alarms, you can be sure that you’ll be alerted to any breach of your home security system… right?

In most cases, this is right, but there are always instances in which a home security system can fail. An alarm can be faulty or incorrectly installed, and trigger for no reason, costing you, the homeowner, hundreds of dollars in false alarm fees. Or a smoke detector or glass-break sensor can fail to connect to the alarm, causing you to remain unaware of a life-threatening situation until it’s upon you. But devices aren’t the only part of a home security system that can fail.

Even if you live in an apartment complex with live security personnel, your safety isn’t guaranteed. Guards can easily be fooled by people they recognize and assume are legitimate visitors, or they can be distracted, and an intruder can just slip by. Either way, your security is not one hundred percent guaranteed. And that’s exactly where the heart of the matter lies: who is liable when your home security system fails? If you deal with multiple false alarms and get exorbitant fees as a result, should you pay? Or if your smoke detector fails and the next thing you know, you’re in hospital with third degree burns, who’s liable for your injuries? Or if you return home from work one evening, only to find your apartment’s been burgled because the guard thought the burglar was your brother and let him in – who is responsible for reimbursing you?

In most cases, homeowners have homeowners insurance or health insurance to cover the costs of incidents like these. But it is also important to know that the company responsible for your security can be held liable for failing to provide that service. In other words, if faulty home security system equipment is running up fines on your tab and the manufacturer is unwilling to take responsibility, it might be time to talk to a lawyer. If bodily injury occurs, the police or fire department will most likely start an investigation, and your insurance carrier will probably look into the case in order to have the security company cover the costs.  The same goes for a break-in. Whatever the scenario, be sure to read the fine print on your home security system warrantees and contracts so you know exactly what you can expect from a product or service.

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