Is Buying a Car Alarm System Worth it?

New Ford - Needs Alarm

Car alarm systems come in all shapes and price ranges. You can get a car alarm that will go off if someone opens the door or breaks a window, or you can spring for the kind of alarm that will send out a loud scream to everyone within earshot at the mere detection of motion. There are security systems that include keyless entry, remote start, and even GPS-enabled tracking software to help the police locate it if it’s stolen. How do you know which – if any – is right for you? Here’s some advice to help you determine that.

The Average Cost of a Car Alarm System

As you can imagine, the cost of a car security system can vary greatly depending on the technology used and the labor involved. Assuming that you’re going to have someone else professionally install it, you can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $1500. That’s a wide price range, but it all depends on the kind of setup you choose. Basic car alarms that can be turned on and off by keychain remote average on the low end, while high-tech security systems that are capable of disabling your car’s engine and sending out a call to the police can cost you a pretty penny. Check out this recently published chart which provides a comparison of some of the most popular mid-range car alarm security systems.

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Car Alarm System: Worth the Cost?

The true value of a car security system depends on a lot of things. Namely, the book value of your car. If you’re driving around a 15-year-old beater that’s not worth much, sinking a few hundred dollars into an anti-theft alarm could be overkill. That all changes if you own a $75,000 car and suddenly become the envy of every potential car thief in the city. A solid insurance policy will cover you for theft, but having a security system installed can also lower your premium significantly because it makes you less of a risk in the eyes of your insurance provider.

Where you live can also play an important role in deciding if a car alarm is an absolute necessity or a superfluous expense. Auto theft rates are significantly higher in more densely populated areas than they are in lightly populated areas. This doesn’t mean car theft doesn’t happen everywhere, it just means it’s statistically less likely to happen if you live in a remote area. You can check car theft statistics for your area by reading the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s report which identifies the “hottest spots” by state. Always exercise common sense to protect your vehicle from theft. For some more tips, check out this educational video from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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The Effectiveness of Car Alarm Systems

Depending whom you talk to, car alarms are either an effective deterrent or a complete waste of money. The reality is, a motivated individual with all the right skills can disable the average car alarm in seconds. But this doesn’t mean it’s not a deterrent. In this ABC News report, an ex-car thief reveals that kill switches and alarms are among some of the chief deterrents to auto theft, so having an operational alarm can be enough to give a would-be car thief reason to bug off and leave you alone. In that case, it’s certainly money well spent.