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Home security – Which security system to install?

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Just having a yard sign announcing you have a security system is not enough.

In my previous Home Security article, I wrote about ways you could reduce the chances of a burglary without a security system.  Of course, I have followed all my own advice (especially after my wife read my article and made me do it), but we are seriously considering a security system to supplement my already undertaken measures.

Like you, I have seen all the yard signs that show everyone passing by that a home is protected by such and such a firm and system.  I wondered whether just having the sign would be enough, but thought that maybe I should continue my research into the entire system in case I was victim of an illiterate or near-sighted burglar.

To start with I looked at the following aspects of each firm:

  • Equipment and Installation Costs.  First and foremost, what is this going to cost and what do I get for my money?  Do I get sensors on each window and door? Is there a separate cost for installation?
  • Monitoring Service.  If there is a monitoring service, is it provided 24 hours, 7 days a week? Is there a living person that will quickly contact police when a break-in is detected? How quick is “quickly”? Is there a fee for false alarms?
  • Guarantee.  Do I get a money-back guarantee for my security system and its installation? Does it include a warranty for faulty equipment?
  • Licensing. Is the company licensed to do business in your area?

Armed with these questions I looked at the following companies and read others’ reviews of them and recommend you do your own research starting with these:

Frontpoint Security seems to offer one of the better home security systems on the market. It is a cellular system (so be sure you have cellular service available where you live), reasonably affordable, and has what appears to be a reliable 24-hour nationwide monitoring system. You install it yourself and if you have any questions, their customer service is helpful and patient and will walk you through any problems. You can tailor it to as simple or elaborate as you want and can afford. Angies List has rated this very highly.

Protect America also offers state-of-the-art systems at reasonable prices. Their systems include free equipment and monitoring packages. Like Frontpoint, their customer service is both knowledgeable and friendly. They offer five packages which range in price from $20 a month to $43 a month, the equipment is free.

GetSafe is a more recent all-wireless home security provider; customer reviews indicate an extremely high level of satisfaction with GetSafe’s easy installation, which comes with no contract. There is an upfront cost of $249 to purchase their Starter Kit, which comes with a 14-day return policy. Monthly monitoring is $29.

ADT has been in business for many years and most have seen their yard signs and television ads. They have a variety of plans available and will make one work for your needs. ADT is probably the most expensive of the plans I looked at and spend from a little to a lot on their security systems to make it custom to your needs and home. ADT offers their entry level home security package for a $99 customer installation charge plus a monitoring fee of $36.99 per month. The equipment in this package includes a wireless touchpad, 3 entry point sensors, a motion sensor, and a wireless keychain remote. In my case and perhaps yours, I wanted more than three entry point sensors which, of course, means additional cost to us.

Others I looked at that seemed to have reasonably good customer service and satisfaction and are worth your research included LifeShield, Vivint and Simplisafe.

As always, I remind you that I am not endorsing any product and strongly urge you to do your own research before making any purchase.

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About the Author: Dennis F.

Dennis has lived or traveled in Australia, the United States and Asia. He is an Army veteran with a PhD in Child and Developmental Psychology. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, USA, with his wife Nancy and two dogs. Dennis is keenly interested in antiques, particularly militaria and coins. He occupies his time researching and writing for The Silver Life and caretaking houses for the summer residents of the mountains. Dennis is a founding member of The Silver Life.

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