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Home Security Monitoring Companies: Pros and Cons

Tuesday, July 27th

Home Security Monitoring Companies: Pros and Cons

Whether you've installed your security system yourself or had it installed professionally, you may be considering what to do about monitoring the system. When choosing how to monitor your security system, you have more choices to make: self-monitoring or a professional monitoring company. Both self-monitoring and hiring a professional monitoring company offer advantages and disadvantages. This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a professional monitoring company.

Advantages of hiring a professional monitoring company:

  • Reliability. With a professional monitoring company, your home security system is monitored 24/7. They will contact the police if they believe a break-in is in progress. Similarly, if the system detects smoke or heat, the security monitoring company will contact the fire department.
  • Customer service. The professional monitoring company will handle, address and troubleshoot any problems with the security system. They can resolve issues and repair systems.
  • Added features. Professional monitoring companies can offer an integrated security system that includes integrated alarms, surveillance cameras and other components.
  • Free equipment. Many professional monitoring companies will offer free equipment for signing a monitoring contract.
  • Signage. Professional monitoring companies will provide clients with yard signs and decals indicating that company is monitoring the house. Some research indicates that signage alone can deter crime.
  • Installation. When you purchase an alarm system and the monitoring service, the security system will install your alarm system. This ensures that a professional installs the system correctly.
  • Maintenance. By signing a contract for security system monitoring, you will also receive regular maintenance and updates to your system to ensure that it's working correctly.

Disadvantages of hiring a professional monitoring company:

  • Cost. A professionally monitored system can be costly. The cost begins with installation fees. Plus, the monthly fee of a professional monitoring company can vary depending on the company and the features of the security system. However, whether it's ten dollars a month or twenty dollars a month, those monthly fees add up at the end of each year to quite a bit of money.
  • Control. With a self-monitored system, the homeowner is responsible for making the decision on whether or not to call for professional help such as police. This can save money in fines or other costs incurred when a monitoring service sends the police or fire department when it's a false alarm.
  • More choices. There are many do-it yourself alarm systems that allow for self-monitoring available at a number of price points. Go online to find the system that suits your needs.

A security system can protect you, your family and your property. Be sure to compare security systems and security monitoring systems online before making a decision. Compare equipment, features and prices. A little research can help you find the security system, monitoring company and price that suits your family's needs and budget.

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Home Security System FAQ

There are more than 2 million break-ins every year in the United States alone. Home security systems are the most logical way to give yourself the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you, your loved ones and your property are being watched over.
The most important feature is 24/7 monitoring, which most services offer as part of your monthly fees. At a minimum, you'll want to have sensors for all of the exterior doors in your residence.
There are many add-ons that can offer additional security and protection. Your home security system could have smoke and CO2 detectors, flooding sensors, motion detectors, night vision cameras, and much more.
You'll find plans both with and without required service contracts. The tradeoff is usually in the price of the equipment vs. the monthly service fees. (See the next question for more on that.)
That depends. You should expect two costs: equipment and monthly service charges. Some providers of home security systems give you the equipment "for free", as long as you sign a contract (usually 2-5 years). Others have you pay for the equipment upfront as a one-time charge, but their monthly fees tend to be lower. And, with most services, you'll pay more for monthly monitoring if your system has all of the bells and whistles.
One of the most customer-friendly aspects of today's home security systems is DIY installation. While there are still a handful of companies that require you to sit down with a sales rep and then wait for a professional to come and set up your system, the vast majority are designed to be easy and fast for you to install yourself. You'll have ample support via phone or online chat if you need extra guidance during the process.
Yes, most of the time. You'll typically have a 30-day window to use your home security system and decide if it provides the protection and service you need. Terms vary, however: you may get a full refund for all fees paid, or you may only be allowed to break your contract without getting any money back. Be sure to understand the details of any plan you select, before you sign up.
Usually, yes. Because of the do-it-yourself nature of most of today's systems, you can uninstall and move your equipment just as easily as you set it up the first time. You'll just need to update the company with your current address, so that emergency responders have the right location in the event of an alarm.
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