With smart technology all around us, security systems are becoming even more intelligent and advanced. Unfortunately, so do burglars. Hence, installing a home security system can be a wise but pain-staking choice for every household. There are a myriad of companies who provide such services, but which one is worth your buck?
Before shaking hands with the safety agency and signing on the dotted line, research the market thoroughly. Learn the various system levels and equipment types. Our nifty tips will lead you through the process and help you find a less expensive alarm system to protect your property.
Table of Contents
- 1 Go For A ‘DIY’ Home Security System
- 2 Choose The Right Monitoring
- 3 Skip The Second Floor
- 4 Look For Coupons And Promotions
- 5 Ask For Discounts
- 6 There Are No “Free” Security System Offers
- 7 Beware of Auto-Renewing Contracts
- 8 Installation Charges
- 9 Dog Power
- 10 Planning To Move? Check Your Cancellation Policy
- 11 Monthly Maintenance Plans That Fit Your Budget
- 12 Save On Homeowners Insurance
- 13 Third Parties
- 14 Shop Around To Customize
- 15 Why invest in a home security system?
- 16 Final Words
- 17 FAQ
Go For A ‘DIY’ Home Security System
DIY security systems offer multiple benefits and are a viable alternative to professionally installed systems. By installing the system yourself, you’re able to choose which components suit your needs and save money upfront. This way, you avoid one-size-fits-all packages that may include parts you don’t need. Generally, your starter kit should consist of the following DIY home security essentials:
- Connect+ Panel ($300 on average)
- Local monitoring (about $10 a month)
- Smartphone app connectivity
- Yard sign ($10)
- Window and door decal stickers ($15 for eight stickers)
The extra equipment may include:
- Carbon monoxide detector
- Smoke detector
- Door and window sensors
- Glass break detector
- Home disaster sensor (detects water, moisture, and extreme temperatures)
- Indoor motion sensor
The price of sensors greatly varies from $15 up to over $70. As for home security cameras, mini versions cost about $55, while more sophisticated video doorbell cameras exceed $130. Finally, note that professional installation has reasonable prices at approximately $90 and typically includes a tutorial for use.
Next, we’ll give you a quick overlook of places to look for inexpensive kits. First, check out Frontpoint, as it is an excellent option for customers who prefer DIY installation. Their affordable systems are easy to install with features such as 24/7 monitoring and environmental monitoring.
Alternatively, SimpliSafe is a highly-ranked, prize-winning home security system. If you’re keen on DIY, their kits are straightforward to install (less than 20 minutes). The equipment features entry sensors, motion detectors, and panic buttons. Fire, smoke, environmental sensors, and monitoring are available, too.
Choose The Right Monitoring
First, determine whether you need a wired or unwired system. Monitored security systems connect to either a security company’s call center or the emergency personnel, like the fire and police departments. So, when someone tries to break into, the police will be right off to your place.
Conversely, unmonitored systems emit an alarm but don’t automatically alert authorities. Naturally, an unmonitored system costs less than the monitored one. Unwired warnings are acceptable if you rely on your neighbors to keep an ear out. Or if you reckon the noise alone will scare off potential intruders.
In case you’re ready to pay the monthly fee for a monitored service, go for a wired system. This initial investment will cover any loss or damage when a break-in occurs. It may seem quite expensive, but it’s incredibly cheap compared to the damage an actual break-in could cause. Meaning, while you think you can save a few bucks with a local (unmonitored) alarm system, you’re accruing a higher bill later.
Finding an efficient but also an affordable surveillance system is the first step toward protecting your home when you’re not around.
Skip The Second Floor
Some security agencies will recommend coverage on the second-floor windows. Honestly, this is a waste of money! The likelihood that a would-be burglar will climb up the side of your house to enter a second-story window is next to zero. Yet, if you have a covered patio off the back of your home, don’t exclude it from the coverage.
Arrange a deal with security agencies that count every door and window on the first floor to verify you get the correct price. Remember that the three major components are motion sensors, door/window alarms, and motion lights. It’s up to you to decide what detectors and alarms are enough to bring inner calm.
Look For Coupons And Promotions
Most safety agencies run frequent promotions and special offers for smart home security. It’s also worth checking the sales section of the provider you intend to hire. Signing up with the home safety company can also lend you a typical discount of 10%.
Moreover, never underestimate the power of couponing sites. For example, RetailMeNot abounds in deals for top-notch security companies like SimpliSafe, First Alert, and Kidde. Depending on your pursuit, you can find up to a 50% discount on alarms, lightning kits, and cameras.
Coupons.com and offers.com are also valuable sources of potential savings on home protection. Users can locate exceptional deals on hidden cameras, wireless security systems, and door sets and accessories. Ring, Brick House Security, and Armor Concepts are renowned names with discounted high-quality products available on coupon sites.
Check our ultimate guide on how to make the most out of coupons to learn more about this money-saving concept.
Ask For Discounts
When procuring security systems, most safety agencies are willing to offer a prepay discount to encourage customers to pay upfront. Others are ready to offer discounts to veterans, students, and single parents. Reduced amounts range from 5% to 20% off, so don’t refrain from asking the next time you strike a security deal.
- Prepayment discount. Customers get two months of free service if they pay for a year of monitoring upfront. Alternatively, the reduction can get applied to each month separately.
- Military discount. Ring offers military members and veterans a 20% discount on selected products to honor their service. Such products include security cameras for home, alarms, floodlights, and more, which can add up to a good deal of savings. Vector Security also offers 15% off equipment and 20% off their monthly monitoring fee.
- Disability discounts. Vivint offers discounts for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Their smart systems are high-end, and clients can control the entire robust network from a single app.
- Senior citizens discounts. Several home protection companies offer discounts to senior citizens. The most common home security features seniors prefer are alert buttons, security cameras, and two-way communication features.
There Are No “Free” Security System Offers
Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as free service, and sooner or later, you’ll foot the bill, often twice the value. On many occasions, consumers purchase a “free system” that is anything but free. More specifically, to get that system, you have to sign a fine print-laden, three-year contract for alarm monitoring services. The charge may reach $50 a month, which caps at $1,800 in total – far from free.
Those “free” safety solutions that seem so appealing on paper will end up costing you over the odds. A professional security company will be honest and tell you that there is a modest investment upfront. Reliable agencies do not hide behind the promise of “free” only to charge obscene monitoring fees.
Beware of Auto-Renewing Contracts
Some home protection companies ask clients to sign a two or three-year alarm monitoring contract. Even if they deny, ensure you read the fine print since such contracts might contain an auto-renew clause. In a nutshell, if you don’t instruct the company to cancel the contract after the contract period terminates, it will automatically renew. Once the arrangement gets renewed, you become obliged for another two or three years.
It may be smarter to opt for no-contract plans that also provide a 30 or 60-day money-back guarantee. SimpliSafe is one such instance that doesn’t oblige clients to conclude contracts but add or eliminate professional monitoring at will. Moreover, Cove offers some of the cheapest, feature-rich home security systems with wireless equipment and two affordable monitoring plans. Thanks to their no-contract deals, you are free to cancel at any time.
High-end sophisticated security systems require a professional to perform the installation. As an average informed customer, it may sound reasonable to you to pay that much for installation. However, some companies use this ignorance to tie you up in a long-term, expensive contract. Hence, be extremely wary of “low-cost installation” offers that serve to bait you into a never-ending cycle of expenses.
We urge you to always read the fine print before investing in a home security system. Also, ensure you examine all costs involved in the security network to protect yourself from unwanted rip-offs. Indeed, why would you need home security if the safety company drives you broke? Eventually, you’ll end up without a place to secure.
Thanks to their sharp ears and superior scent-ability, dogs are excellent home keepers. Similar to a security system, dogs alert owners right away if they notice an intruder on the property. The downside to canine security is that many everyday visitors count as intruders.
However, most burglars avoid attacking houses with a dog. If they spot a dog house in the yard or hear some muffled barking, the likelihood that they move along is huge. The issue arises when an experienced burglar is serious about breaking into your place. While a trained dog can hold its ground, most dogs will run for any treats they get. In some cases, outcomes have been much worse with abusive thieves.
If you have a dog or plan to get one, you will probably need pet insurance. Learn here whether pet insurance is worth it or not.
Planning To Move? Check Your Cancellation Policy
Be aware that the security equipment and accessories installed in your home may not be portable at all. Meaning, if you can’t take such items with you when you move, you have to seek viable alternatives.
Your first option is to convince the people moving into your place to take over your existing security contract. The second available option is to pay a hefty cancellation fee (last resort solution). Finally, you can choose to pay for monitoring services for a house you no longer own. Though the first option may be relieving, the other alternatives are ultimate money-drainers.
That’s why it’s essential to examine your security company’s cancellation policy before signing. In short, always read the fine print. If you believe there are chances for you to relocate, arrange a security system that allows you to transfer the equipment. Companies like SimpliSafe grant this benefit to their clients, so checking out their offer may be worthwhile.
Oh, if you’re planning to move, you can save money on that too. We have the ultimate guide on the cheapest ways to move across the country!
Monthly Maintenance Plans That Fit Your Budget
Almost any security company on the market offers a “quality assurance plan” for their services and equipment. In short, for an extra monthly fee, you’ll get covered if anything goes wrong with the kit. For instance, Ring’s cheapest monitoring stands at $10 a month, while their comprehensive plan reaches $25.
When it comes to securing your equipment, the cost rises proportionally. Suppose you avoid that monthly fee; you’ll save hundreds of dollars to use for costly repairs later if the kit fails. This way, you can keep paying the basic monthly monitoring fees and fix any non-functional equipment from the emergency fund.
Having a smartphone is a great way to protect your home. Smart apps will inform you of movement, glass breaking, or alarms 24/7.
Save On Homeowners Insurance
Most insurance companies will land you a discount when you install a security system. Depending on the insurance type, you may qualify for up to 15% off your homeowners’ insurance premium with 24/7 professional monitoring. When you’re looking for the best home security system, get a certificate to present it to your home insurance company after installation.
Remember, not all home safety systems offer a discount on home insurance. If you opt for a DIY brand (self-install) that doesn’t include professional monitoring, you are out of luck. That said, considering how cheap DIY systems are these days, you probably won’t miss the 10% to 20% insurance savings. Remember, professional monitoring requires a monthly fee (typically $25-$45 a month), and monitoring is a must for the insurance cost savings.
You may also want to be careful when it comes to middlemen in the process. Often, home security companies consist of a long chain of intermediaries between the product and the end-user. Such entities may include the manufacturer, the supplier, the dealer, the salesmen, and the installer. Bear this in mind when comparing monthly fees as each mediator earns money on you.
Shop Around To Customize
Never give the first offer you receive from an alarm company a whirl. Make sure you search the market for several well-proven companies in the field and compare their offers. Then, go for the security agency that gives clients the chance to customize the package.
Once you’ve set your aims on a particular deal, negotiate a plan that caters to your needs. Creating such a program is paramount to stay within budget and keep monthly costs down. Never settle for companies that have only one-size-fits-all solutions. In this case, keep looking for a package you can customize to fit your ultimate goal – decent protection at a lower price.
Why invest in a home security system?
Home protection systems have become more connected as smart home security rocketed in popularity. We’re no longer restricted to elementary motion detectors and window sensors. Modern safety systems include smart thermostats, smoke detectors, and outlets. Even better, providers offer user-friendly controls with app access from a remote location. As a result of these advances, the provided services are more comprehensive.
That said, many people don’t realize all the ways a home security system can help them economize. Indeed, installing a safety system on your property brings several financial benefits. Apart from protecting you from vandalism and theft, it’ll also save you money. Here are six ways a home security system can save you money:
- Lower homeowner insurance rates.
- Reduce energy bills.
- Reduce wear and tear on household items.
- Prevent fraud claims.
- Protection against theft or damage to property.
- Save on security personnel for your business.
Hiring a reliable safety agency and setting money aside is viable if you look at the right places. Before anything, you need to dedicate some time and gain essential knowledge. Hence, we compiled this ultimate security system guide for you to use when looking for a trusted security service provider.
Do you have any useful suggestions that help you save on home security? What companies and monitoring systems do you find most efficient when it comes to protecting your home? Share your thoughts in the comments below. For further advice on cutting the cost around your place, register for our ProMoneySavings Newsletter.
Does a security system add value to a home?
People install security systems to protect their beloved ones and their assets and valuables. These things are something no one can put a price tag on, and when it comes to personal safety, nothing is too much. Yet, besides protecting yourself, home alarms also increase the value of your place. So, next time you arrange homeowners’ insurance or advertise your house for sale, consider the safety feature, too. It may increase the selling price of your home to a significant level.
How can I save money on ADT?
Several hacks can help you save some cash on ADT. First, never strike a deal on the initial offer, but try to negotiate a lower price. Then, check out if you are eligible for any discounts that the security agency is offering. Last, make sure what you’re protecting and customize the package to suit your needs. You don’t need a one-size-fits-all solution to waste money on items or floors that don’t need any protection at all.
What is the most cost-effective home security system?
Undoubtedly, Ring has become one of the leading players in home security. They offer reliable, professional monitoring, and superb equipment at affordable prices. SimpliSafe is another company that takes pride in easy to install, fundamental tools for no-contact monitoring systems. On the negative side, SimpliSafe lacks some serious automation options. Other reasonably-priced products are those of Cove, Wyze, and Kangaroo.
Is it worth having an alarm system?
There’s no dispute against installing a home alarm system with acceptable quality. Security systems discourage break-ins and deter crime from houses that invest in monitoring. Even if you become a victim of a crime, evidence shows that alarm-protected homes suffer lower losses than those who aren’t. Overall, any security system will give you peace of mind knowing that your family and assets are safe.
Does a home security system lower insurance?
Yes, it does, and often to a significant amount well above your expectations. Installing a home alarm may reduce the insurance policy on your home by up to 20%. Of course, this percentage depends on the equipment you install and whether the place undergoes monitoring. In case you decide to install smoke detectors and deadbolts, expect more savings on your next insurance policy.