Choosing a Home Security Company
By TC Thorn
It seems like robberies and break-ins are in the paper or on the news all the time. You're smart to be concerned about your own welfare and that of your family. You also want to protect your house and your belongings. For this reason, you may be considering buying a home security system or a burglar alarm.
There are do-it-yourself systems and there are professionally installed systems. Most DIY systems aren't worth a lot, because they're easy for burglars to thwart, and they aren't monitored (if someone breaks in, you won't know until after all your stuff is gone). Oh, you can install timers for your lights, motion sensors for your yard, and upgraded locks for your doors and windows, but if you want to feel truly secure, you may feel safest investing in a monitored home security system.
Monitored systems are installed and watched by professional security companies. When the alarm is tripped they'll send someone over to investigate or call the police, depending on the plan you sign up for. They'll also help you maintain your system year in and year out.
As you might have guessed, they're going to charge you for this. Expect to pay an installation fee, which will cover the cost of the equipment and the labor to set it all up. You will also have to pay monthly fees as long as you want them to monitor your home. (One bonus is that this expenditure can actually lower your homeowner's insurance, since many insurers will discount their premiums for more secure homes.)
Because installing a monitored alarm systems represents an ongoing investment, you want to make sure to find an alarm company you'll be happy with. Let's take a look at some tips:
--Choose a security system that will accommodate your lifestyle and protect your valuables.
--Ask friends, relatives, and neighbors for recommendations. You can also ask your insurance company for suggestions of reputable companies.
--Buy from a company that offers good customer service and technical support.
--Choose a company that is a member of the Better Business Bureau.
--Get written estimates from at least three companies before you decide on one (but keep in mind prices for security systems vary dependent on equipment features and the level of monitoring offered--compare systems to like systems).
--Find out whether or not the company screens employees before hiring them. You want trusted people installing your system, since they'll have access to your passwords and security codes.
--Check to see if the company is licensed and is a member of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.
--Ask about guarantees and warrantees to see what's available. Make sure you're protected in case a piece of equipment malfunctions.
--Ask if the alarm systems have backups, including batteries in case the power goes out or radio in case the telephone lines are cut.
--Lastly, make sure to read the fine print of the contract. Find out if there is a cancellation policy (it's not a good idea to get locked into a years-long contract--you may decide you'd be happier with another company after it's too late to change without amassing fees).
For more information on Home Security Systems, visit the author's site of Home Security Tips.
About the Author
TC Thorn is a freelance writer who specializes in home improvement and home security.
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