Four Questions to Consider About Home Security

What Is the Advantage of Monitored Alarm Systems?

The main difference between monitored and unmonitored solutions is whether or not a monitoring station is alerted when an alarm is tripped. With unmonitored systems, you’ll be notified if something happens, but you’ll have to call the authorities for help. With monitored alarm systems, the monitoring station will notify you and the authorities when an alarm is tripped, so you can rest assured that help is on the way.

The main purpose of a home security alarm system is to keep you safe, and in a dangerous situation or an emergency, you might not have time to contact the police. The only advantage to an unmonitored system is that there’s no monthly monitoring fee, but there are a lot of affordable options out there—and at the end of the day, it’s a small price to pay for safety.

What Should You Look For in an Alarm System if You Own or Rent?

If you own a home, you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to choosing an alarm system. You can go with a wired or wireless option, long or short contract, and pretty much anything else you can think of. There are really no limitations if you’re a homeowner. You’ll still want to consider what makes sense for your home, like how many sensors you need and what type of automation features you want to add. Either way, having a security system can help prevent robberies. According to the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation, 83% of burglars try to determine if a house has an alarm system before attempting a burglary.

On the other hand, if you’re a renter, you’ll be more limited in your choices. Drilling holes in the walls might not be allowed, so you'll want to consider a wireless solution.

Most systems leverage your broadband Internet connection for central station monitoring. If you have unreliable broadband, or it can easily be cut from outside, you should look for a system with cellular connectivity as a backup.

Can You Move with a Home Alarm System?

If you’re planning a move, you can definitely take your security system with you. But it might cost you, depending on the company. Some companies will charge you a fee for reactivation and reinstalling equipment, and they might even restart your contract length. Others will offer moving programs that allow you to transfer your service for free. Make sure to read the fine print and ask a lot of questions before making a final decision.

If you have a wireless system, you should be able to remove the sensors and reinstall them in your new place with very little effort.

Do You Need Home Automation with Your Alarm System?

Home Automation gives you the ability to remotely and automatically control various aspects of your home. Make your home look lived in by programming your lights to go on and off at different times. Have all your lights come on automatically when you open your garage door, or if your alarm is triggered. Disarm the system and unlock the door for the maid while you're at work.

Even if you're not ready to convert your whole house to a Smart Home, look for a system that supports home automation so you can continue to expand your capabilities in the future. Look for a system that supports an open standard, such as Z-wave, which gives you the most options for smart home devices.

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