Home security is more than just installing an alarm system and hoping for the best. It is a proactive approach to protect your home, your family and your valuables from potential threats. In this article, we will explore some of the benefits of home security, some of the options available, and some of the tips to avoid scams and choose the best system for your needs.
Benefits of Home Security
According to the FBI, there were an estimated 1.4 million burglaries in the United States in 2020, resulting in $3 billion in property losses.1 A home security system can help deter burglars, alert you and the authorities in case of a break-in, and reduce your losses and damages. Some of the benefits of home security include:
- Peace of mind: Knowing that your home is monitored and protected can give you a sense of security and comfort, especially when you are away or sleeping.
- Lower insurance premiums: Many insurance companies offer discounts for homeowners who have a security system installed, as it reduces the risk of claims and losses.
- Smart home integration: Many modern security systems can integrate with other smart devices, such as cameras, locks, lights, thermostats and voice assistants. This can allow you to control and automate your home from anywhere, as well as receive alerts and notifications on your smartphone.
- Energy savings: Some security systems can also help you save energy by adjusting your thermostat, turning off lights and managing appliances based on your schedule and preferences.
How to Choose a Home Security System
There are many options for home security systems, ranging from basic to advanced, from DIY to professional installation, and from self-monitoring to professional monitoring. Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a home security system:
- Budget: The cost of a home security system can vary depending on the features, equipment, installation and monitoring fees. You should compare different options and find one that fits your budget and needs.
- Features: The features of a home security system can include sensors, cameras, sirens, keypads, panic buttons, motion detectors, door/window contacts, glass break detectors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, flood sensors, etc. You should decide which features are essential for your home and which are optional or nice to have.
- Installation: Some security systems are easy to install by yourself, while others require professional installation by a technician. DIY installation can save you money and time, but it may also require more technical skills and troubleshooting. Professional installation can ensure that everything is set up correctly and securely, but it may also cost more and require scheduling an appointment.
- Monitoring: Some security systems allow you to monitor your home by yourself through an app or a web portal, while others require you to pay a monthly fee for professional monitoring by a central station. Self-monitoring can give you more control and flexibility over your system, but it may also require more attention and responsibility. Professional monitoring can provide you with 24/7 protection and assistance in case of an emergency, but it may also lock you into a contract and limit your customization options.
Tips to Avoid Scams
Unfortunately, not all security companies are trustworthy or reputable. Some may use deceptive or aggressive sales tactics to pressure you into buying products or services. Some may even pose as representatives of other companies or government agencies to trick you into signing contracts or giving them access to your home. Here are some tips to avoid scams and to choose a reliable security company:
- Do your research: Before you buy any security system or service, do some research on the company’s background, reputation, reviews, ratings, complaints, licenses, certifications, etc. You can use online resources such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Consumer Reports, PCMag, SafeWise, etc. to compare different options and find unbiased information.
- Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the security system or service you are interested in. You should ask about the features, equipment, installation, monitoring fees, contracts, warranties, cancellation policies, customer service, etc. You should also ask for references or testimonials from previous customers who have used their products or services.
- Read the fine print: Before you sign any contract or agreement, read it carefully and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. Don’t sign anything that you are not comfortable with or that you don’t fully comprehend. If something is unclear or confusing, ask for clarification or seek legal advice.
- Beware of unsolicited door-to-door salespeople. Most reputable home security companies do not send representatives to your home without an appointment or a prior contact. If someone knocks on your door claiming to be from a security company, ask for their identification and verification. You can also call the company directly to confirm their identity and legitimacy. Do not let them inside your home or sign anything without doing your research first.
- Watch out for scare tactics and false alarms. Some scammers may use fear-mongering techniques to pressure you into buying a home security system or upgrading your existing one. They may bring up local crime rates, recent burglaries or violent incidents that may or may not have happened. They may also claim that your current system is outdated, defective or incompatible with new technology. Do not fall for these claims without verifying them with reliable sources.
- Read the fine print before signing a contract. Some home security offers may seem too good to be true, such as free equipment, installation or monitoring. However, these offers may come with hidden fees, long-term commitments or cancellation penalties. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the contract before agreeing to anything. Compare different options and prices from different providers and look for reviews and ratings online.
- Protect your personal and financial information. Some scammers may pose as home security representatives to obtain your credit card number, social security number, bank account details, or other sensitive information. They may also ask you to fill out a survey, enter a sweepstakes or claim a prize that requires you to provide such information. Do not give out any information that is not necessary for the transaction or service. Use secure payment methods and check your statements regularly for any unauthorized charges.
Choosing the best home security system for your needs can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By following these tips and doing your homework, you can find a reliable and affordable home security system that meets your expectations and gives you peace of mind and safety for you and your loved ones. However, you should be careful and vigilant when choosing a provider and a system.
- United States. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Incident-Based Reporting System, 2020: Extract Files. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2022-11-22. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR38566.v2