Smart Home Blog

Alarm.com Review: The Unexpected Value of Video Monitoring

Jun 12 2015
Video monitoring has many benefits. It can help you see what's going on at home, review important events, and even catch an intruder. It can also provide some unexpected value when you need it most.

"Your life can turn upside down in one second," says Boris, an Alarm.com user in New Jersey.  "You're driving home from work, everything's fine – and then you get a call saying your house is burning down."

Six weeks ago, Boris's home caught fire in an accident. His family was unhurt but his property was largely destroyed. In the aftermath, Boris would likely have faced a long, stressful struggle with insurance companies to recover his losses, had it not been for his Alarm.com video monitoring.

"I've been an Alarm.com customer since 2005," Boris says. "I wanted to be able to see what's happening around the house, so I had three video cameras and two image sensors, with one camera on the front steps. My system recorded exactly how the fire started."

Image Sensor Firefighters

While renovating Boris' home, some contractors had set up a dumpster against the side of the house.  As they finished work and locked up the house that day, one worker paused to smoke a cigarette, and threw the butt into the dumpster which was full of old flooring.  The blaze started in just a few minutes.

"The camera recorded the guy throwing the cigarette," says Boris. "It recorded smoke rising from the dumpster. It recorded the police and fire arriving. My image sensor in the house even took pictures of the firemen as they went inside. The power was out and the home in flames, but it still captured the images. I was receiving them on my smartphone as I stood in the front yard."

Alarm.com's video monitoring uses intelligent recording that is automatically saved to cloud-based storage. Boris's footage was safe from the fire, and was easy to download and share from the cloud.

"I showed the video footage to the police detective that had arrived and he recognized immediately what had happened. He was very concerned about losing the footage, but he needn't have worried – I was able to download it easily from Alarm.com and send it to him. He immediately interviewed the contractors, and the guy admitted that he'd thrown the cigarette."

Video footage from Alarm.com proved instrumental in determining the precise cause of the fire.  This led to an easy determination of responsibility and a quick response from the insurance company.

"The next day, fire investigators arrived from my own and my contractors' insurers. My insurance didn't cover the value of everything in the house. But, as soon as they reviewed the video clips, they agreed that there was no question of how the fire started, and the contractor's insurance would pay for everything that mine didn't."

Without Boris's Alarm.com video clips, it would have been hard to prove who started the fire.

"It could have gone on for a long time," says Boris. "The contractor could have denied it. But instead, the video removed all doubt. It made everything black and white. Case closed, they said."

"And it was easy to access the footage," Boris says. "I was also nervous that it would disappear, but it was simple to save it right from my phone. It's so easy to use. I would absolutely recommend this to other people. Accidents happen! But now, I can look forward to rebuilding and moving on." We thank Boris for sharing his story. To find out more about our video monitoring solutions, click here.