Home security contracts can be an especially confusing topic when you’re researching which company to choose for security equipment and alarm monitoring to protect your home. The more you understand the motivation of the Home Security industry the better you can understand how to partner with them.
Trust is a big deal in the home security industry, so we aim to be transparent about the way we operate and help our customers make informed choices. We’d like to break down why home security companies use contracts and what to look for before signing one. The bottom line the more informed you can be the better positioned you will be to choose the right alarm system for you and your family.
The Myth of the Free Alarm System
A free alarm system is “free” in the same way a new phone from Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile is “free”: You agree to a monthly contract, which will cover the cost of the “free” equipment.
At Alarm New England, we’re running a business; if we gave out security systems for free, we couldn’t afford to protect the tens of thousands of customers who depend on us. We need to pay our employees, purchase alarm equipment, and cover the cost of installation and alarm monitoring.
Our customers have their own needs as well: Many prefer to pay for large purchases over smaller monthly payments rather than all at once.
That’s why a contract helps everyone.
Every alarm company hopes to build a reciprocal relationship with each customer. We invest in you by absorbing some of the initial cost of the security equipment and make buying a home security system as easy as possible. We also want to make home security accessible to a wide range of homeowners.
And in return, you invest your trust in us by signing a contract to pay a certain amount each month to cover your home security equipment and monitoring.
Read Your Home Security Contracts Carefully
Overall, contracts in the home security industry are a win-win. But some companies make contracts frustrating for their customers by not fully explaining the contents of the document.
To further complicate matters, customers don’t always read these contracts as closely as they should.
We know contracts are boring and tedious to get through, but you’ll feel more at ease knowing exactly what you’ve signed up for.
Some people sign home security contracts without realizing that the cost of their system will be split over the course of three years, which means that if they want to cancel early, they’ve got to pay off a percentage of the remaining balance.
That’s why we strongly encourage you to read your contract to make sure you know what to expect.
Especially the fine print.
3-Year Home Security Contracts Vs. Upfront Payment
While the contract is an industry standard, the requirements in contracts vary from company to company. Some alarm companies (Alarm New England included) provide the option to pay for all of the equipment upfront and not be on a three-year plan.
These month-to-month plans benefit people who move around more frequently and like having the added flexibility of being able to cancel or restart their alarm monitoring at will. The customer pays the full cost of the equipment and installation, so they only pay for monitoring each month.
Be careful when searching for month-to-month options, however, as the quality of equipment and monitoring can vary widely.
Research the home security company carefully, read as many customer reviews as you can, and don’t jump into a purchase unless you’re completely confident in what the company sells.
What Happens to Your Security System Contract When You Move
One essential thing you should check on in your contract is whether you can transfer the contract to your new home. Be sure that if you were to relocate, you would be able to easily transfer your alarm system to your new home.
Moving to a new home is expensive and stressful enough as it is. Ask your sales rep about this, and be on the lookout for the relevant clause in the contract.
If you’ve got a hardwired system like a Honeywell Vista, there will absolutely be an expense involved with moving that system to a new property. In fact, the cost may be so high that it’d be cheaper to buy a new system altogether.
To avoid those extra fees, consider a wireless security system that’s easy to set up and take down yourself without needing power tools.
If you do foresee yourself moving to a new house or apartment in the next three years, a wireless security system will make your life way easier. All you have to do is take your equipment off the walls, windows, ceiling, and doors, put everything in a box, bring those to your new home, and call us when you’ve re-mounted everything so we can reactivate the system.
If you’re moving into a larger home and need additional equipment, let us know and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of.
Researching Home Security Company Contracts
When you’re considering home security companies, look for a company that fits your needs. Know whether you’d prefer a wired or wireless system, and ensure the contract will work in your favor should you move to a new home. Finding the best alarm solution for your home can be intimidating but once you understand the basics on how these contracts work you will be that much closer to the best fit.
Regardless of what kind of system you ultimately go with, we hope that you do careful research on each alarm company and their contracts—and make sure you’ve read the fine print!