How much does a home security system cost?

Written by carolyn williams
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It can be difficult to assess the cost of a home security system, as there are so many variables, such as whether you should install it yourself or use a professional. You need to determine the type of technology you'll be using. Cost is calculated by the number of sensors and entry points. And, of course, once the system is installed, service costs vary based on services you need.

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Function

Home security systems provide peace of mind. Whether you're at home or out of town, the idea behind a security system is that it prevents intrusion by notifying potential criminals that an alarm system is in use while alerting you and the security company when the security system is breached. Costs for such a system vary depending on a number of factors, from the type of security system installed to the services provided.

Types

The type of alarm system and the number of sensors typically drives the initial installation cost. There are two types of home security systems: wireless and hard-wired. Wireless costs significantly less, but is much more vulnerable. Many free security system installations offer wireless systems. Hard-wired systems are more expensive to install, but are much more reliable. They typically cost about £58 to £84 for every entry point (doorway or window) and £71 to £84 for each motion sensor. In sum, that can total thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your home. You can install one yourself (see Resources below) and simply pay a company for monitoring. Services that most security companies offer cost extra. To find a good company, use one that is locally owned and operated and is full-service. That is, it not only installs and maintains your system, but also monitors the system. Avoid companies that contract out the monitoring. You want 24-hour service, not simply nights and weekends.

Effects

Installing a home security system means that not only will you be alerted to any intrusion, but your alarm company can and will respond, if you've selected that service. Some choose not to include monitoring, believing that the shrill of the alarm itself will dissuade criminals. But monitoring costs can be quite inexpensive, typically about £13 to £32 a month. Much of this cost can be recovered from rebates offered by your homeowner's insurance policy. Remember also that even if an alarm is sounded the opened entrance is vulnerable. A thief can return later and enter your home through a shattered window unless a monitoring company has checked the alarm.

Considerations

Many alarm companies will install a low-cost system composed of wireless units. It requires little skill or training, so installation costs to the company are minimised. It may seem like a good deal, but wireless units are a relatively poor option. Hard-wired security systems may cost more, but they are considered to be more reliable as well as invulnerable to battery issues. Hard-wired systems also do not experience interference from cellular technology, wireless components or other technology you may be using.

Warning

Be wary of so-called "free" systems. These systems are often extremely limited--offering an alarm panel and only one or two sensors. You will have to pay a significant fee if you request that the company provide sensors for comprehensive coverage of your home's entry points. And often these free systems require a renewable contract, with only the initial year free. The renewal can continue for up to four years on many of these contracts. And, finally, calls to the toll-free number may be charged to your account.

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