Professional monitoring in the home security industry is like the battery for a toy car: it’s often sold separately, but without it the toy won’t function properly. The purpose of the monitoring service is to ensure that there is someone to actually react to activated alarms, otherwise burglars will make a noisy escape with their loot. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that the monthly monitoring fees can bleed your wallet dry, especially if you sign a contract lasting multiple years. Fortunately there are some tricks for having your cake and eating it too, but only if you know the ins and outs of the monitoring world.
If you wish to avoid paying for professional monitoring altogether, then opt for self-monitoring. However, while this is the best way to save on costs, this move implies less security. Without the round-the clock monitoring provided by the operators, it’s entirely up to you to supervise the alarm systems. Fortunately, the current generation of alarms and IP cameras are capable of sending push notifications via a smartphone app, making it possible to keep an eye on your home while at work or on vacation.
On the downside, not every home security company allows self-monitoring, and even if it’s an option you must always compensate this by paying more for the alarm package. You see, by agreeing to the contract the equipment is provided for free. Plus, there is also the biggest issue with self-monitoring, which is to say that missing just one alert on your smartphone can have catastrophic consequences.
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No Contract Monitoring Services
There is some level of flexibility when it comes to monitoring plans. Home security companies usually offer quarterly, semi-annual or annual contracts, and if you decide not to sign one of these then the service agreement is renewed on a monthly basis. Doing so offers a higher level of freedom since it can be cancelled it anytime. In the contrary, the monitoring fee of a longer plan must be paid in advance, and if you opt out of an annual plan after a few months then only a small fragment of your money will be returned.
Still, signing a long-term contract is not without benefits. Generally speaking, the longer the plan, the lower the monthly fee is. Companies often charge double the amount more than if you preferred to avoid the long-term contract and go for a month-by-month plan, not to mention that perks such as free shipping is typically only available if you choose the longer plans.
Every home security provider has their own stance on monitoring. Some offer self-monitoring, while others give the option to skip the contract. The following three options are attractive options for homeowners who wish to save some money.
GetSafe: Self-Monitoring & No Contract Pro Monitoring
The company offers three kinds of monitoring plans. One is comes without a contract, effectively the month-to-month subscription. Then there is an annual plan and a lengthy three-year option for those who are really dedicated. No-contract subscriptions are rare, and so your freedom comes for a price. In this case GetSafe charges you for the device, while the other two plans provide the alarms for free.
SimpliSafe: No Monthly Fees
What makes SimpliSafe stand out from the competition is that they don’t force customers into subscription submission. Choosing a monitoring service is optional, meaning it’s possible to roll with self-monitoring if you wish. Bonuses such as free shipping and a money back guarantee aren’t tied to overly long payment plans either. There are two monitoring plans with fixed prices, and customers are free to cancel at any time or even switch package.
Local Companies: Personalized Solutions
Local security companies in general are more customer-friendly and willing to tailor their services to fit the homeowner’s needs. National companies like Frontpoint Security only offer a handful of choices, and you can’t really negotiate on the deal. As a start, request a quote to quickly learn about the available deals and compare them.
There are some factors that must be checked though. Be sure to research the quality of the local provider’s headquarters. If they are UL certified or rated highly by the BBB, then it’s a sign that they take their job seriously and put customers first. You should also give them a call and inquire about whether they support the type of alarm system you own.
Standalone Security Monitoring Services
Bear in mind that you don’t actually need to accept the monitoring service from the same home security company that you purchase the equipment from. There are other sources, like AlarmRelay, who offers the same level of supervision but for a more affordable price. In short, the alarms are bought separately and then connected to the monitoring service offered by the company (or any other with a similar business model).
Standalone security monitoring is a great way to save on your expenses. The monthly fee they offer is a fragment of what other big-name companies might charge. Additionally, AlarmRelay operators are also able and willing to respond to non-security issues as well, such as fire, CO leaking or a medical emergency.
Lowering Monitoring Services Costs
There are multiple ways to reduce your expenses by choosing the monitoring service cleverly. For example, if you are confident enough in your vigilance then just opt for self-monitoring, then purchase temporary professional supervision from a standalone monitoring service while heading on vacation.
It’s also a worthwhile effort to be on a lookout for limited time offers and coupons on home security websites. If you make a purchase at the right time, you can receive a free month of monitoring service or cut the base monthly fee in half. On the same note, be sure to only choose a monitoring plan that caters to your needs; removing camera monitoring from the list is a great way to reduce costs.
We also recommend making the most out of the company’s trial period. Typically it is possible to cancel the service within the first and receive a full refund in return.