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How Much Should Home Security Alarm System Monitoring Services Cost?

by Amy December 12, 2013

 

You’re considering a home security system when all of a sudden you start to compare the wide variety of pricing for alarm system monitoring services. If you are like most consumers, you’ll see home alarm monitoring pricing variances amongst companies that are wider than the Grand Canyon.

Although the peace of mind that comes from great home security monitoring is priceless, you’ll also want to make sure your money is well spent.

Here’s the bottom line on what it costs for home security alarm system monitoring services, as well as how to save wisely on those costs.

What is being monitored?

Home security systems today can monitor a variety of conditions within your home.  From intrusion alarms to fire detection, modern home security monitoring technology can assist you in many ways. The number of things being supervised by the alarm company will definitely impact your monthly monitoring fees.

What home alarm response do you need?

The type of home alarm response you need in part determines monitoring costs. Do you need the alarm monitoring center to simply contact you in the event of an emergency? Would you like them to dispatch the police upon alarm activation?

Some home security monitoring companies will send their own personnel to your home in the event of alarm activation. They do that because they oftentimes can respond quicker than the police. It’s also done as a way to prevent false alarm fines from local law enforcement agencies. Fines can be quiet expensive. In Philadelphia, false alarm fines and system registration violations can run up to $300 per occurrence. False alarm fees in Seattle range from $115 – $230 per event.

You can even have live video signals sent to the home alarm monitoring center from your home in the event of alarm activation.

The more detailed alarm response needed for your protection, the higher the cost of monitoring services.

What monitoring technologies are used?

There are a variety of ways to transmit alarm information from your home to the alarm monitoring center.

The Electronic Security Association, on their website for consumers, explains the pros and cons for the communication technologies available for use with wireless home alarm systems.

Each communication technology provides varying levels of security. The higher the level of security provided, the higher the fees for the monitoring services.  Some of these technologies are used in conjunction with one another for even greater levels of security.

What kind of company are you considering?

The right technologies and the right people make all the difference in the quality (and cost) of the home alarm monitoring service.

Home alarm monitoring companies with redundant monitoring systems (usually two or more monitoring locations) have higher overhead costs than those operating a single location. Thus, they charge more. Many alarm monitoring companies are certified by outside evaluation firms like Underwriter Laboratories (UL). These UL-certified Central Stations meet basic performance and security standards that others can’t or won’t.

Keep in mind that your wireless security system is only as good as the operator responding to the alert. The hiring and training practices of home alarm companies influence their monitoring fees. Companies hiring and training better employees need to charge more than those employing a lesser quality.

What other factors influence home alarm system monitoring rates?

The three major additional factors that determine home security monitoring fees are the size and location of the alarm monitoring center and the term of the monitoring agreement.

Alarm system companies with larger account bases can spread overhead costs amongst a wider range of customers, lowering the costs for each.

The location of the security system monitoring center is important, as cost-of-living and salary costs tend to run more in larger metropolitan areas like New York City and San Francisco.

Wireless home security alarm system monitoring contracts protect consumers in their dealings with monitoring companies. The longer the term of the contract (most agreements run 1-5 years), generally the lower the monthly alarm monitoring fees.

So, how much should home security alarm system monitoring cost?

It’s important to know what you want and to get all the facts when buying wireless home alarm monitoring services. Get an itemized list of monitoring charges from any company you are considering that clearly show the costs of every fee.

Expect to get what you pay for, just like buying a car. You’ll find monthly monitoring charges ranging from as low as $15 per month to charges in excess of $100 per month for higher-level wireless home security applications.