I'm not a fan of buying anything that requires a reoccurring monthly fee. It seems these things can nickel-and-dime you to death. If you have a home security system and use a monitoring service, you may be able to save up to 75% by shopping around.
If you had your system installed, you likely signed a multi-year monitoring contract and may need to wait until your contract ends before looking at alternatives.
If you're ready, let's get started.
Although not normally a problem, verify the monitoring service will support your brand and model security system. I've heard from a couple folks that some of the monitoring companies will press to get you to update your system for additional features (and cost). I did not include these companies in the links below.
Since this article was written in the spirit of saving money, make sure you understand what you NEED vs. what they would LIKE you to have.
There may be additional monthly fees for carbon monoxide, fire/smoke or water sensors. Be clear about the sensors you have and whether or not there are additional fees involved for monitoring them.
If you currently use or plan to use a VoIP home phone, verify the monitoring company can receive alarms without a landline phone (most now can). There is a broadband alarm adapter available for this purpose. Cellular or radio monitoring might be another option (as the primary notification or as a backup).
Check into convenient features like email notification and control of your system via a cell phone or the Internet. These are typically free offerings.
Tips & Warnings
- Many alarm service companies do not require long-term contracts and do not have cancellation fees. Be sure to ask about these account features.
- If you just installed your security system, use it for a while before signing up for a monitoring service. This will lessen the chance of false alarms while you're learning the intricacies of your new system.
- If you're planning to use broadband for alarm notification, keep in mind if your broadband connection goes down (communication problems, power failure, etc.), your monitoring company will NOT be notified of an alarm condition.
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