By Tom Moor, Angie’s List

Cheap, reliable insurance.

That’s what highly rated locksmith Bill Hollman tells his customers about deadbolt locks.

“The deadbolt adds a big level of protection to the door,” says Hollman, owner of highly rated Bill’s Lock & Key in Seattle. “Without it, the entrance lock is pretty vulnerable to being compromised. I would not recommend anyone skipping the deadbolt on an exterior door.”

How do deadbolts work?

Deadbolts operate separately from the pin tumbler lock in the doorknob. Deadbolts have single or double steel bolts that lock into place inside a strike plate in the door jamb. Single bolts require a key to open from the outside and can be locked and unlocked from the inside with a twist knob. Double bolts require keys to open both sides of the door.

Experts say it’s important to keep in mind that glass window panes in doors can be broken to manually access the twist knob from inside. A double deadbolt lock will prevent easy entry, but it can also make it more difficult to quickly leave the home in the case of an emergency.

Deadbolt locks provide layer of safety

According to the FBI’s 2012 burglary statistics — the most recent available — about 2.1 million burglaries were reported in the United States, a 4 percent drop from the year before. About 60 percent of those burglaries were the result of forced entry, while 6 percent were attempted forced entry, according to the statistics.

Hollman says deadbolts are effective against forced entry because they make it harder for burglars to kick in doors. Locksmiths use 3-inch screws to secure the metal strike plate into the door frame. For maximum security, the deadbolt extends into the strike plate.

Deadbolts are worth the costs

Locksmiths say deadbolts are relatively cheap considering the level of protection they provide.

Depending on the type and class you buy, a deadbolt and installation typically cost $100 to $250. The majority of Angie’s List members, though, reported paying less than $200.

David Helms, owner of highly rated E & S Security and Locksmith in Charlotte, N.C., says it costs $55 for the trip, $35 for the deadbolt and $45 to drill and install the deadbolt on a wood door, or $50 to install it on a metal door. He says a typical job costs $135 to $145.

Helms says he tells customers to buy the deadbolt at a big box home improvement store because it typically costs 50 percent less than what he can sell them for. “The price there is generally what I pay at the wholesalers,” he says.

Hollman, meanwhile, says he charges $105 to $115 for the deadbolt, which includes the lock and installation.

You might be able to recoup some of the installation costs through lower insurance payments. Ranj Puthran of highly rated Allstate Agency Ranj Puthran in Carmel, Ind., says his agency offers discounts for having deadbolts. However, they do not deny claims in the cases where doors do not have deadbolts.

Don’t be an easy target! Infographic: How Secure is Your Home?

Written by Angie's List

Angie's List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than 2.8 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly-rated service providers in 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. They are sharing their knowledge about safety to help our community of readers. Learn more

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