Differences Between Passive and Active Alarm Systems

Installing a car alarm makes perfect sense.  It helps to prevent auto theft and break-ins, while generally easing the mind of the owner.  The only choice to make is whether to install a passive alarm or an active alarm.  Though both types will protect your vehicle, it is up to the individual to decide which alarm suits them best.

A passive alarm turns on automatically.  Once the key is removed from the ignition and all the doors to the vehicle are closed, the alarm turns itself on.  This function gives the alarm the name “passive,” as the driver does nothing to arm it.

An active alarm must be activated by the driver.  As with a passive alarm, this usually involves the vehicle being parked with all doors closed.  However, the driver must turn the system on, commonly done by clicking a button on a remote.  The active role played by the driver in arming this alarm results in this being called an “active” alarm.

Most alarm systems have the option of switching between passive and active.  A driver can choose to switch back and forth him/herself, or allow a professional to make the switch.  The particular setting of active or passive, however, is entirely the preference of the driver.

The choice of an active or passive alarm system comes down to a battle between convenience and protection.

A passive alarm may seem more convenient, yet it best serves the driver seeking overall protection.  Nothing is required of the driver to arm the alarm.  Thus, the driver can never “forget” to turn on the alarm.  This can, however, lead to the annoyance of accidentally setting off your own alarm by making a quick run back for a forgotten jacket in the back seat.

An active system will not result in any accidental “set-offs” of you own alarm, as the driver is in complete control of the alarm.  The driver is free to make as many trips to and from the car as needed, opening any door (as with bringing in groceries), without setting off the alarm.  This convenience factor, however, results in less overall protection.

An added bonus of installing either alarm system is a drop in insurance rates.  As a car with any alarm system is a theft deterrent, insurance companies see your car as less of a risk.  The passive system has a leg up on its active counterpart in this respect.  Since a passive system is always armed, the vehicle is always protected.  Less risk = lower rates.

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