BBB Business Review

Equipping your home with a security system is really a no-brainer these days. Security, especially during these dangerous times, is a non-negotiable. But while we all agree that every home needs one, choosing the home security system that fits your lifestyle, preferences, and budget may be a little bit more difficult.

There’s a lot of security systems to choose from, all of them packed with features that promise to protect your home and family. So it is best to sit back and study your options. When you go to a security store, you’ll probably be asked whether you want a monitored or unmonitored alarm system. Relax, we got you covered.

Get to know the pros and cons of a monitored alarm system and an unmonitored alarm system, and see what makes them different from each other.

Monitored alarm system

monitoring alarm systems

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A monitored system is one that is being monitored by a professional home security company. It’s like your house’s “big brother” that receives notifications from your system 24/7. It will also be the one to call emergency responders should the need arise.


Comprehensive coverage

Once a monitored system is set up, it usually covers any signal that your alarm system can send, the central station can respond accordingly. Obviously the popular signals they routinely respond to are burglary, fire and medical. Modern alarm systems however offer many other options for what they can monitor. Just as important perhaps are temperature and water sensors.

Obviously the central station response for these will be different that an emergency signal, but notifications on these can certainly be important. While some central stations may charge additional fees to monitoring these types of signals, our monitoring service, includes them for no additional charge.


One of the major benefits of a monitored alarm system is that homeowners are not burdened with actually monitoring their properties. When the alarm is set off, you don’t have to worry about calling responders or authorities because the company will do it for you. This is particularly helpful if you are away for the holiday or out of phone range.

Reduced false alarms

This home alarm security system reduces the risk of false alarms because of the protocol it follows. If something unusual is recorded or if the sensor is tripped, notification will be sent to the monitoring center after alarm delay has passed. The monitoring company will try to contact the homeowner and if no response is given, depending on their assessment, emergency services are dispatched.

Lower insurance cost

Another advantage to a monitored alarm system is, often insurance companies provide some discounts on premiums for monitored alarms. If you find a low cost wholesale provider of these services (such as, the annual discount can sometimes be enough to even cover the annual service fee depending on your carrier making it a freebie.


Monitoring service is an ongoing fee

Perhaps, the most common argument against getting a monitored alarm system is the ongoing cost. You are usually tied to a fixed-term contract to avail of the service and you have to pay monthly fees. Cancelling the contract prematurely may also come with a penalty. In other words, you need to have a home security budget because expenses do not stop with buying a security equipment.

One way to mitigate the additional cost and long term contracts is to find an online provider. Not only will online providers typically be lower cost, but most offer very short term agreements. Just make sure your providers central stations is UL Approved so you can be sure certain minimum standards are being met. currently offers UL, 5 diamond certified alarm monitoring services starting at only $8.95 a month payable annually with no long term contract.

Possible permits required

Some cities require you to obtain an alarm permit in order to dispatch for an alarm condition. Many are simple forms that can be filled out online easily, but some bigger metros charge an small annual fee.

Unmonitored alarm system

unmonitored alarm systems

Photo Courtest of 5448208 via Pixabay

Unmonitored alarm systems are the basic security system designed to deter burglars. In short, it’s only an equipment that can be used as a local sounder or be monitored by the user themselves directly if they have the proper equipment to send them notifications of alarms. They typically include a control panel, motion sensors, door sensors, detectors, and sirens. Some models may be monitored through a smart phone, which enables you to not only receive event notifications to your phone, but also be able to control it remotely as well.


Practical and economical

The primary argument for an alarm system that isn’t monitored is the cost. Unlike monitored systems, the cost of unmonitored ones is basically on the equipment itself. And since most are wireless alarm systems, you can install them yourself easily.

There’s no monthly service fee, and you are in control of the features and accessories you put in your system.

It still adds a layer of security

If money is an issue and you don’t mind doing the monitoring yourself, an unmonitored alarm system is certainly better than no alarm at all. They offer a good level of protection and may be upgraded to have alarm monitoring later if you wish.


Need someone to report an emergency

Since the system is unmonitored, the process of reporting a security breach still follows a manual process. If an alarm is set off while you are away, you will need to just hope that burglars took off or that a neighbor would call the proper authorities.

Personal monitoring

While most home security systems these days could be linked to a smart phone, there would be times when you are unable to monitor it. If something goes wrong, you may not always be in the position to do anything about it because you are on vacation, at work, or in an area without phone reception.

Whether you end up choosing a monitored alarm or an unmonitored system, the point is you got an extra layer of protection for your home and property. If you don’t mind paying a monthly service fee, it is wise to go a monitored system. But if budget is an issue and you don’t mind the responsibility of having to watch over your property, an unmonitored alarm system is better than no alarm.

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