Cape Town - Power outages do affect burglar alarms, confirms John Tyson from Alexander Forbes Personal Services, leaving residents vulnerable.
Most alarms nowadays have a battery backup, he says. When there is a power failure the battery will support the alarm system for between six and 12 hours depending on its age and condition.
When the power comes on again the battery recharges. If the battery is old, or has had a hard life through excessive power outages, it will eventually fail to take a charge. "This is when you are vulnerable to an attack by burglars."
Tyson says you can extend protection when power outages are expected.
"A prudent person should take the following steps," he advises:
- Check when last the battery was replaced. Most batteries have a lifespan of two to four years and should be replaced in this period, though you should replace every two years.
- Add an additional battery to the alarm system. (Ask your alarm company if your system accommodates this and ask them to arrange it for you.)
- Test the system thoroughly before going on holiday.
Even more alarming, he says, is the possibility that some insurers may not cover clients when their alarm fails during a power failure.
Tyson said: "This will depend on who your insurer is. Some insurers will be sympathetic if you can show that you have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that your alarm is in working order."
Other insurers, however, may not be as sympathetic. Your broker knows which insurers are more likely to be flexible in a situation like this.
"Check to see if you can arrange to have your insurer the alarm warranty from your policy. If you have other protection in place such as burglar bars they may be prepared to do this for you," reassures Tyson.