Home Security—Safeguarding Your Home from Intruders At What Cost?

April 2014 View more

iStock_000022142857LargeI recall moving into our new home in 1989 and insisting that we install, what it turns out, was a rather rudimentary alarm system for close to $1,500 plus monthly fees. That was a good deal of money back in the day, considering that it covered only doors in the house, not windows, and no fire detection. We also had to install those ceiling contraptions from the local hardware store, which would constantly fall victim to a dead battery.

Modern Detection Systems

Today, my neighbor just installed a well-known, name brand alarm system on his sprawling ranch to the tune of $1,500 for installation, plus roughly $50 monthly fees. It includes many more features that I had years ago at nearly the same price. It can even detect broken glass from a window intrusion and it doesn’t go off when a bird inadvertently hits the window. In other words, the system is sensitive, but not ridiculously so. My neighbor even receives a text notifying him when someone enters the home and who that person is.

More Convenient, More Affordable

My neighbor says the security services this “A+” vendor provides are well worth the price. Judging from what I paid years ago, I’m thinking that many of us were sold a bill of goods back in the late ’80s. Or, more accurately, we’re living in a more competitive environment today, with many new vendors entering the field and vying for our business. There has also been a technology revolution that’s making high-tech home security more convenient and more affordable.

Choosing the Right Installation Company

I researched websites that rank companies specializing in home security systems. However, it pays to be aware of what these websites are reviewing. One website, in very small print, states that it receives compensation from reviewed companies in order to provide users with a free valuable service. Your best bet might be to visit the websites of individual security companies and compare those services and prices side by side according to your specific needs. However, you might be better off first checking with the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce to find a reputable home security installation company.

Security Needs and Your Budget

Phone/internet/cable service providers have morphed over the years, with many now offering home security systems as part of the bundle of services or as an additional monthly service fee. These services can provide you with basic home security protection at an affordable cost. For example, one provider offers a “Good” and “Better” plan starting at $99 and $399 respectively, for installation and varying monthly fees with a three-year agreement. Perhaps, you can try negotiating a better deal with your provider by suggesting that you could move all of your services to another provider. According to Consumer Reports, of almost 21,000 readers interviewed, only one out of three had negotiated with their provider. Close to half of those bargainers got a reduction in their monthly bill or more services for the same amount of money. The Internet has a slew of stories on how you can negotiate the best deal with your vendor.

Finally, according to Naperville Police Department Sergeant Bill Davis, there are some easy and inexpensive ways to safeguard your home and property from intruders. For example, Davis recommends you invest in good locks, including dead bolts, and metal striker plates that wrap around the door itself. It seems simple, but keep your main and screen doors locked at all times even when you’re outside in the backyard or on the patio. Don’t forget to lock the access door from your garage into your home, and close your windows at night. They are simple and inexpensive reminders that can keep your home and family safe and secure.