One of the disturbing realities of twenty-first century living is that home security systems have become a necessity for everyone, not just a luxury for the uber-wealthy. Break-ins and home invasions can happen anywhere, from crowded urban centers to peaceful family suburbs.
Many homes today are equipped with a basic alarm system but there are still a good number that rely on a “Beware-of-the-Dog” sign and lady luck. Home security systems can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind, as well as helping to protect both your family and your property. Should you be looking to install a security system in your home, here are some factors to consider before taking the plunge.
Types of home security systems available:
- Home security systems are available at all price points; there will be a system to fit your budget. You just need to shop around to find a plan and system that suits your budget.
- Unmonitored home security systems rely on sensors that set off a loud alarm when tripped. The protection provided by an unmonitored system is limited but they are the most economical available.
- A monitored home security system means just that. The system connects to a security company giving round-the-clock monitoring, all day, every day, for 365 days a year and will contact the police immediately a break-in occurs.
- There are wired security systems that will need some drilling and construction work to install.
- A cellular system is battery-powered and doesn’t require any drilling or building to install.
- A do-it-yourself home security system can be cost effective but often doesn’t provide the same level of security as other systems. DIY home systems can be purchased pre-programmed for easy installation.
Before you choose a home security company
- Do they provide a consultation service to determine the type of home security system to fit your needs?
- Will you have access to ongoing customer service?
- Is carbon monoxide, fire and smoke monitoring included in the price? What about flooding and medical emergencies or will these incur an extra cost?
- Before you sign on the dotted line, check out the company’s reputation on review sites such as Angie’s List.
- This is one time when negotiation can pay off. Often home security companies will be willing to look at reducing or jettisoning initial installation and equipment costs.
Questions to ask a home security company
- The company should provide a contract or written statement laying out all the costs related to installation and equipment as well as the monthly payment.
- Does the company give a rate-lock-in option that will guarantee your costs won’t go up?
- Ask if the company doesn’t offer free installation upfront, along with a free trial of service option.
- Some good home security companies offer a theft protection guarantee – an assurance of $500 or more to select clients.
- What are the charges for false alarms?
Having settled on a great home security company, signed on the dotted line and had your new system installed, don’t forget to put out the signs that advertise to the neighborhood what you’ve just done. Prominently displayed, security company signs on your property send out a clear message to the bad guys and act as a deterrent to any break-in