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Professionally Monitored Self-Install Home Security Options, USAGuide Started By b.n. on November 2013 Last Updated on August 2016 | 22 Contributions | Comments
At one point buying a professionally monitored security system was easy: a single company (ADT) controlled 80% of the market. Now you have more options, including self-installation. Reasons to self-install include lowering long term cost, flexibility, and ensuring the install meets your aesthetic needs. This guide covers self-installed security sytstems.
What's Wrong With Conventional Security Companies?
This is an industry with a well earned reputation for a "hard sell", with a history of abusive pricing practices. There are still companies that will:
- Lock you into a long term contract at a high price.
- Give you a low bid, then up-sell extra door or window sensors.
- Offer tempting special offers that are a poor long term value (e.g. "$500 discount" on a system that has a price inflated by $600).
By shopping carefully you can get a good system at a good price.
Don't count on an insurance discount
Nearly all vendors advertise something like 'save 20% on your home insurance'. Don't trust that without placing a call your insurance company first. For example: of March 2013 Farmer's insurance dropped security system discounts (citing lack of savings for the company in terms of claims).
Takeover is an option
If you're at the end of a contract on an older alarm, shop around! It may be possible to renew with a different vendor, and have them "take over" the old equipment.
What are the fancy new features on new systems these days?
- Central monitoring of flood or water sensors.
- Central monitoring of smoke detectors.
- Set unique codes for household help or guest.
- Set back heater or A/C on departure.
- Remote unlock of doors via smartphone.
- Remote self-monitoring (system status, security camera video feeds, latchkey kid arrival, etc.).
- Pocket "panic button".
Will a monitored system protect me?
There's no one answer to that question. Many burglaries are "smash and grab" where the entire event takes a minute or two. That said respectable studies show fewer burglaries in houses with a security system sign posted. Swap signs with a neighbour, so your burglar can't anticipate correctly what type of alarm you have.