Ask LH: Will Setting Up A 'Dummy' Security Camera Void My Insurance?

Home Insurance vs fake security camerasImage: iStock

Dear Lifehacker, I want to set up some security cameras to deter would be thieves but they cost an arm and a leg. I've checked out some dummy ones, and must say they look extremely convincing. My question is, if I install fake security cameras and get robbed, would it give my insurance company an excuse not to pay me? Plastic Pretender

Dear PP,

That would depend entirely on your insurance policy. If you received a reduced premium based on your home security system, it obviously needs to be in working order. Otherwise, your claim will definitely be questioned in the event of a robbery - just like a broken deadlock or faulty house alarm would be.

With that said, as long as you don't apply for a discount with your insurance provider, you shouldn't run into any trouble for erecting fake cameras. The only way this would become an issue is if you put too much trust in them and become lax in other areas (forgetting to lock your doors or windows, for example.)

Incidentally, if you don't want to fork out for a professional home surveillance system it's possible to build your own with a little technical know-how. This guide explains how to make a DIY four-camera security system viewable from any web browser. These seven tried-and-trusted home security measures are also worth a look. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Two thoughts come to mind.
    1. Fake or real cameras may indicate property of value that needs to be under surveillance. It may draw/entice undesirables from just having cameras, fake or real in place. Fake cameras usually look fake and are dispelled rather quickly.
    2. In my jurisdiction in Qld, Au it is illegal to perform surveillance outside your own property line.

      A few counterpoints - most break-ins aren't done by master cat burglars looking for high value art to fence. It is kids and iced up adults looking for the easiest way in for anything. I got broken into many years ago and they stole about two dollars in silver change and several pairs of socks among other stuff. The most thing of value they took was a heap of CD's. It's what they can grab quickly, transport out easily and sell off afterwards. So cameras can be enough to dissuade the opportunist burglar which would be the majority.
      Also fake cameras can look very convincing.

    A security company sticker is probably as convincing, and far cheaper and easier to "mount".

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