15 Oct 2017
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By some standards, home safety and security do not come cheap. But who can afford to lose the people and things that matter?
It is downright wrong to even debate on the importance of securing your home. Keeping your family safe outweighs any cost and should be a priority at all times. Remember that crimes and emergencies do not discriminate and having a home alarm system is a necessity these days.
According to data, however, only 15% of American homes have security systems installed. This is despite the fact that burglaries happen every 18 seconds or nearly 200 homes every hour. What could prevent this? According to a study by the University of North Carolina, 60% of self-confessed burglars would not go near a home with an alarm system.
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The cost of an alarm system may be discouraging homeowners. But the average cost of a home alarm system is way cheaper than the cost of belongings usually taken by a burglar. We’re not even talking about the cost of life yet, because clearly, it does not come with a price tag.
Home alarm systems cost around a thousand dollars to set up several years ago. But home security providers have found ways to bring down alarm system cost by reducing upfront costs and introducing DIY security systems. Upfront costs usually cover the equipment and installation. But for homeowners who can’t afford it, providers usually offer monthly monitoring service. DIY models also allow homeowners to install the equipment themselves and also take control of the device. They get to choose which features or accessories they feel will work best for them.
So how much does a home security system cost? We’ll break it down for you.
Equipment and installation
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Getting a security system now comes in different packages. Home security providers offer different options to fit every budget.
Starting with the equipment, the average cost would be somewhere between $600 and- $800. The most basic systems can go as low as $300 or even less, while the most modern and all-inclusive type can go up to $1,800. The cost of the equipment usually makes up the bulk of one-time, upfront charges.
There are some companies that collect alarm system installation cost. But with the advances in home security system these days, you won’t even need a professional to install your equipment. You can easily install the device yourself, most often with the help of a video tutorial. Modern alarms are also often wireless, which means there are no pesky and complicated cords and cables to work with. Chances are that you can even search YouTube for a step-by-step DIY installation video.
Now, you have to be very wise about activation fees. This may be a one-time charge but it can be hefty and can go up to around $200. Remember that installation and activation are two different things. If a sales agent tells you it is free, you better check your contract first.
Maintenance and monitoring
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Maintaining a home alarm system comes at a cost. One of the main costs is the monitoring fee. Is this necessary? If you want to be absolutely sure that this layer of defense and protection works, then it is necessary. There is a world of difference between a monitored and unmonitored security system. A monitored system is connected to a central system which guarantees that help will be dispatched if it seemed like your home is in danger. In an unmonitored system, you can buy time with the alarm, hope for the siren to scare away an intruder, or depend on the neighbors to call help.
Alarm companies offer different levels of monitoring at different prices. A security system monthly cost varies on the package or equipment. Basic monitoring can go around $9 to $30. But for homes that require a higher level of protection, monitoring fees can go up to up to $100. Contracts also vary but most have a 36-month lock up. This varies widely across the industry.
Self-monitoring can be a great way to save money. In many cases, you can self-monitor for free. But there are many services that allow for self-monitoring that do have a subscription fee. Those services tend to add additional features to your system such as remote arming and disarming.
It is best to evaluate what sort of protection your family needs. If your home is already in a community with roving guards round the clock, you might be able to settle for a lower monitoring package. But if your home is located in a community where crime rate is significantly higher, it pays to go for a more complete package.
Additional features = additional fees
Home alarm systems have gotten more sophisticated these days. The more features they have, the more expensive they become. Surveillance cameras and security lighting drive up the price, for example. They don’t only increase the cost of the equipment but also possibly the installation. Depending on the complexity of system components such as control panels, keypads, sensors, and alarms, the cost of an alarm system could go up or down.
There are so many accessories out there and the more modern your equipment is, the more accessories are available and compatible. Sales agents will try and sweet talk you into making you believe you need all of them even if you don’t. Educate yourself about what you really need and what works for you.
Beware of “free” advertising
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With the competition among alarm companies getting more and more intense, it is not a surprise that some will promise to give you so many free stuff. But remember, free is almost never free. Some companies will advertise free equipment upon purchase of this and that equipment, but is it really free? Many companies will lock you into a long term contract with a high fee that basically finances the equipment while still paying for the monitoring service. Do some research before heading out to an alarm system store so you don’t get blinded by false promises.
What we know with absolute certainty is that the cost of a home alarm system does not come close, not even a little, to the cost of life and property. Add to that your peace of mind, which is priceless.