The security of your family is definitely a big priority, but is paying for a home security system worth it? If you do decide to pay for a burglar alarm, what should you pay attention to in order to protect your family and your budget?
Over 80% of homes in the U.S. do not have a security system. There are a few reports that show that the presence of a residential burglar alarm systems actually decreases crime. We also know that installing and paying a monthly monitoring fee can cost you an arm and a leg, and if you are not careful, can get you entangled in multi-year contracts that are hard to get out of.
So here is your quick guide to shopping and budgeting for a home security system:
– Shop for no-contract monitoring security systems. If someone tries to sell you on a long-term contract, run! Nowadays there are plenty of reliable companies that will offer you a no-contract monthly fee service.
– Consider “self install” systems where you can purchase and install a system yourself, and then pay a low monthly fee for monitoring. This way, you can save big bucks on the equipment install fee and, your monitoring fee will be around $10 – $15 a month.
– Monitoring used to be very pricey, but that’s no longer the case. If you are paying more than $25-$30 a month, you are probably overpaying!
– Be sure you are ready to cover your equipment installation cost. It will run you anywhere from $100 to over $1000, depending on your home.
– Make sure you ask your provider if their monitoring station is UL certified. Do not pay for a system that does not comply with all of the certification requirements.
– As soon as you get your system installed, call your home insurance company. You will often get a 15% or 20% discount on your insurance for having an alarm system. This is one way to offset at least a fraction of the cost of the alarm system.
– Security systems tend to have a high “false alarm” rate so ask your company about their false alarm rates and how they work with their clients in those instances.
– Police departments may charge a fee for responding to a false alarm, so get yourself familiar with the way your city or county police department treats false alarms.
If you decide not to get an alarm system, there are a few things you can do to deter potential burglars.
– Talk to your neighbors and agree to watch for any suspicious activities.
– Having a dog is always a great burglar deterrent.
– Keep your doors and windows locked.
– Pay special attention to who does your yard work or home improvements. Be weary of “walk-ups” who show up to offer to cut your lawn or spread your mulch.
– Do not store your valuables and important documents in obvious places. Getting a safety deposit box at your local bank may be worth it.
Finally, as you consider paying for a home security system, keep in mind that they are not foolproof. Decide how much a month your budget can handle without being stretched too thin, then simply use Mvelopes to help you pre-fund your Security Envelope each month so that you are prepared and ready for the expense within your current income! If you are short on cash for your install fee, Mvelopes can help you budget for and save cash for that expense, so that you don’t have to use your credit card.