ULC-Certified Monitoring Stations can
Reduce Your Home Insurance
Alarm monitoring is an essential component of an effective alarm system. When your alarm system is triggered, a signal is sent to the Central Monitoring Station within seconds. The monitoring station will call your premise, confirm the alarm and verify your password.
“Here’s the kicker, the monitoring company must be ULC certified in order to get the maximum insurance discounts.”
If there is no answer or the wrong password is given, the monitoring representative will notify the police or proper emergency personnel. After that, the monitoring company will usually call one of the key holders you provided when the alarm was initially installed.
In addition to added safety and peace of mind, smart home monitoring can also reduce your home insurance premiums by up to 20%. But here’s the kicker, the monitoring company must be ULC certified in order to get the maximum insurance discounts. Many consumers choose to have their home alarm system monitored without even knowing whether the monitoring station is ULC certified or not.
Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) is an independent product safety testing, certification and inspection organization. They have tested products for public safety for 90 years and are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.
So what are the main differences between monitoring stations that are ULC certified and those that are not? First of all, in order for a monitoring company to qualify for ULC certification they must agree to ongoing onsite inspections of their monitoring stations. The two main concerns of the ULC inspectors are the extent of physical protection and the communication signal from the residence to the monitoring station. During these inspections many facets of the facility are evaluated for ULC compliance. For example the monitoring equipment is inspected as is the general location and security of the building. For instance the room that supplies power to the station must have the proper back- ups in case of equipment failures, storms and of course power failures.
Extra security measures like computer supervised generators allow companies to continue monitoring, even during an extended blackout. Fully redundant telephone switches combined with software designed to make” switch-over’s in seconds are frequently seen in ULC listed stations.
ULC listed companies also require two staff members to be on duty at all times. These stations must not be located on the ground floor and must have at least two fire-rated security doors. Rooms used for monitoring with outside windows are definitely prohibited.
A ULC monitoring station must be committed to “alarm monitoring only”. These stations must not run any other part of the business from this location because the covenant requires staff members must not engage in distractions like phone answering duties.
Another advantage of having ULC certified monitoring is the assurance of knowing the required protection is in place and up to specification, working properly and under contract to keep working by ULC follow-ups of service audits. Also included in the overall specifications of the ULC certificate are the various communication levels that exist to transmit a signal to the monitoring station.
Line security levels vary between the property being protected and the monitoring station. Each level of communication has a relative amount of security from attempts to disable connections between the premises and the station.
The majority of transmissions are transmitted through the telephone network, with some systems transmitting by cellular or radio waves. There are different communication methods available ranging from a digital dialer to dedicated lines which provide the highest protection from line tampering.
In past years Central Monitoring Stations used to provide their own in house guard service to verify alarm calls. Today, most monitoring stations employ third party private guard companies to confirm whether a break and enter has actually occurred before the police are dispatched. These companies greatly reduce fines to homeowners because of unnecessary calls to police resulting in false alarms.
ULC has recognized this change in the industry and is allowing “guard companies” that obtain a ULC listing toward ULC Burglar Alarm Guard Service Certificates in conjunction with premises that currently have a ULC certified alarm installed.
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