Installing a home security system can be a wise but daunting choice for any family. There are a number of companies who provide such services, but where does one begin? And how can you get the most bang for your buck?
Before signing on the dotted line with any security company, there are a few steps to research regarding your home. Understanding the various levels of systems can save your family a boatload of cash.
Wired or unwired?
First, determine whether you want a monitored or unmonitored system. Monitored security systems are connected to either a security company’s call center or directly to emergency personnel, such as the fire and police departments. Such a service carries a monthly fee, as well.
An unmonitored system emits an alarm, but does not automatically alert authorities. Obviously, an unmonitored system costs less than the monitored one. Can you rely on your neighbors to keep an ear out should your alarm sound? Or perhaps the noise alone will scare any potential intruder.
What do you want to protect?
Different areas of a home can be protected by an alarm. The three main components are motion sensors, motion lights, and door/window alarms. The more bells and whistles, the higher the price climbs.
Perhaps sensors on the front and back doors can do the trick, or maybe a motion sensor is enough to bring peace of mind. And keep in mind that even if you have any four-legged friends living in your home, you can set your alarm to bypass the sensors if they’re running about.
Customize, customize, customize
When choosing an alarm company, be sure to look into how you can alter the existing programs they have in place.
Creating a plan to fit your needs is paramount to keeping the costs down. If a security company has a one-size-fits-all approach, keep looking.
Try the pound
Don’t overestimate the power of a dog. He or she can be the perfect deterrent, although the furry friend needs more care and attention than a security system. Dogs are considered to be a great deterrent for most would-be intruders. Not only can they bite, but they are also noisy. The barking draws attention to the house, which usually causes the would-be intruder to flee the scene quickly.
Save money on insurance
Some insurance companies offer discounts to homes that have security systems. Before proceeding with installation, check with your agent to see if there are any cost savings. That could factor into which plan you choose.
Another idea would be to put a sign in the garden or near the steps signifying that an alarm system protects this house, even if you don’t have one.
written by: Laura Burkey
Laura Burkey is a freelancer who blogs on various topics such as personal finance, online safety, and gardening.