Alarm System Monitoring

With the rise in fees for alarm system monitoring, I was wondering the other day what my money was really paying for each month for my security system. When you sign up for alarm system monitoring, you are typically charged monthly fees. Some of those fees are to pay for equipment that your purchase. What does it cost to have different companies monitor your alarm system?  You may be suprised to know this, but you can have someone else monitor your alarm system instead of the company that installed your alarm system.  Did you just purchase a new home with a security system already in it?  If so, and you don’t want to pay the up front cost of signing an ADT or Brinks contract, then consider getting an indpendent alarm company to monitor your system. Benefits include:

  • No early termination fee (or ETF)
  • You can use do it yourself hardware that you install yourself
  • You can use some of the money you save to provide better security for your family

Let’s review some of these important options starting at the first one of no early termination fee. An early termination fee is charged by your security company for you ending your contract before the time is up. Early termination fees for alarm systems are high. ADT charges 75% of what they would have made had you continued out your contract. That can be a significant amount of money.  And ADT can be very demanding on making you pay that ETF. It doesn’t matter if you have lost your job and your house is going into forclosure, they want to make up their money that they spent on you for the hardware installed in your house.  This is where an alarm system monitoring contract becomes a financial burden. Once you commit to it, you are committing to pay that system monitoring fee every month until the end of your contract. This is just like a cell phone contract and the company that gives it to you does not care that you are having financial difficulties at the time.

Another benefit of using an indpendent alarm system monitoring company is that you can use hardware that you install yourself. Now, you may be asking, why would I want to try to secure my own home. It’s really not as difficult as you would think. It used to be that you had to run alarm wires through your home and connect them all to a security panel. This involved going into your basement, crawlspace, or attic and running wires. However, newer systems use wireless sensors to communicate with the security panel. This means that you don’t have to find a way to snake wires through your house. Setting up your alarm system can be as simple as placing the sensors in the right areas of your house and configuring your security system. You pay an upfront cost for the security system hardware. However, you are not signing a contract.  Those upfront costs start at around $150 dollars and go up depending on what type of system you purchase.

Lastly, if you don’t pay a monthly alarm system monitoring fee, then you can spend the money that you saved on making your home more secure. Consider that an average alarm system fee by one of the larger alarm system companies (ADT, Brinks, etc.) will cost you about $30 dollars per month. That’s $360 dollars per year. Some of the indpendent companies will only charge you $9 dollars per month. That’s a savings of $21 per month or $242 per year. That $242 could be put towards a better alarm system.  You could spend the money to purchase integrated smoke alarms in with your security system. You could spend the money on security cameras.

Ok, so you have read this far, how about some details on who to contact next you say.  There is a company called Smarthome which charges $8.95 / month for monitoring fees. They also tack on a one time setup fee of $35 dollars. However, another thing they do as well, which I don’t actually prefer is that they charge you that $8.95 x 12 for the whole year in one payment of $107. Add on the $35 and you have one bill of $142.  I’m paying my alarm company right now $75 / quarter though, so it’s really still a cost savings. You just have to decide if you want to pay that one up front bill of that much and also purchase the alarm equipment.  The company is called Alarm Relay.

Here is a big question for you that you have to decide. How much of your security do you want to put into one of these independent companies. On one hand you can save some money but does saving the money get you the same quality of monitoring as you would get with ADT or Brinks for example? I can’t find any good quality comparisons out there for those companies with others, however I do see some negative reviews of these companies:

Alarm Force

I have read positive reviews of these companies:

Alarm Relay – reviewers commented on how professional the company was. For me, that’s a plus and the people on the phone said that they talked to a real person. As long as they can tell me that they can get the alarm dispatched, have multiple alarm system monitoring centers, that is enough for me.

Alarm Next – reviewers said that they have a good sales experience with them. I’m tracking down how they are on performance. – Priced at $12.95 per month includes options for cellular alarm monitoring (however, that’s with you paying a fee for the cellular option, but does include VOIP monitoring as well). No contracts and works with any alarm system.