Thinking about getting a DIY home alarm system. Not all systems or companies are the same. With Think Protection, Simplisafe, Frontpoint, Livewatch and Protect America, there are so many choices. How do you know which DIY alarm company is best? When choosing a DIY alarm system, here are some things to think about and questions to ask.
Professionally Monitored vs. Self Monitored
What’s the difference between professional monitoring and self monitoring? Self monitoring means that when your alarm is triggered you get notified. You then have to respond. If you don’t have your phone, then you won’t know you had an alarm event. Professional monitoring means a 24/7 professional response. Your alarm gets triggered and you get notified. Then a signal is sent to a professional monitoring centre. A professional representative can then respond. They’ll notify emergency contacts. After they’ll contact police if necessary. When choosing a DIY alarm system, get it professionally monitored. Self monitored alarms provide limited peace of mind. Only a professional monitored alarm will truly protect your home.
What’s The Price?
Now that you’ve decided to get a professionally monitored DIY alarm, it’s important to look at price. How much is the monitoring? Some companies charge as much as $50/month. Others as low as $12.99/month (Think Protection). Understand that most people stay with an alarm company for 9 years. This means that $37/month difference will add up to over $3500 in savings! Think long term and go with a company with great rates.
Some alarm companies will force you to agree to a long term contract. Others go month to month. Never sign a long term alarm contract. Contracts only benefit the company, never the customer. With there being so many DIY alarm choices, go with the best value. And by not having a contract, if you’re unhappy you can cancel anytime.
Money Back Guarantee
Some DIY alarm companies have a money back guarantee period. Some go from 7 days and others go for longer. Avoid DIY security companies that don’t have a money back guarantee. A guarantee gives you a period you can return if you’re unhappy. If you have cold feet or they don’t live up to promises. Peace of mind comes with a money back guarantee. Make sure your DIY company has one.
Technology has come a long way over the past few years. DIY alarms are now easy to set up. Ask on your purchase call what the steps to installation are. Look at online reviews. See what other customers are saying. Do your research. Most should be easy to install. Some panels are harder than others. Check if the DIY company has a money back guarantee. If they do, then most likely the installation is easier. If it wasn’t they wouldn’t have the guarantee!
Check online reviews before purchasing. Trustpilot and Homestars are two online review sites. Both show actual customer reviews. They both eliminate fake reviews. Read about the quality of product. How good is the service? Was the DIY installation easy? How are the prices? You can learn alot from these review sites. It will help you choose with DIY company is best for you.
Protect America is a home alarm company offering services throughout North America. They sell a self-installed DIY home alarm, where they ship it to their customers through the mail. Protect America has had great success with this model and have over 130,000 customers.
Protect America advertises significantly online. Customers reach out through internet and phone and order a system. The lowest cost plan is $19.99/monthly for a self-monitored system with a three-year contract. In regards to monitored home alarms, plans begin at $35.99/month with a three-year contract to $42.99/month also with a three-year contract.
There is no cost for equipment (as it is worked into the inflated monthly monitoring rates).
The self-monitored system sends a signal to the homeowners in the event of an alarm trigger. The monitored systems connect with Protect America’s central station, who then handle the break-in accordingly. Protect America does not offer live two-way voice monitoring.
Similar to other DIY self-installed home alarms, the system is easy to install, with no need for a trained installer.
While we believe self-installed systems are 100% the way to go with today’s technological capabilities, the two knocks on Protect America is the inflated monthly monitoring rates and the three-year contract. The services being offered should cost customers no more than $20/month. This inflated price is old school thinking, charge high prices simply because we can. Protect America is locked into these high prices due to a rebound effect from their current customers if they were to lower them for new accounts. Protect America is an expensive option for a self-installed home alarm.
A three-year contract, or any contract for that matter, is completely unnecessary in today’s world of home security. Contracts encourage subpar service, as you are unable to switch to another company if you are unhappy, thus allowing the company you’ve signed the contract with to rest on their laurels. Beyond that, there is no real value given during the time of the contract. They may try to fool you into believing the value is in a warranty, but the truth is alarm equipment is now made so well there will most likely be no problems with the system not only during the course of the 3 years but far beyond that.
Stay away from any company that makes you sign a contract.
Self-installed home alarms are the way to go, however, Protect America is not the best choice in this space. There are other companies that offer lower monitoring rates, no upfront fees, and no contract. It’s important to think protection when getting a home alarm system, and think value and remember that if the company is $20/month and you plan on having your alarm system for say 6 years that’s $1440 more you’ll be paying!
Protect America can be found at protectamerica.com
Simplisafe, a self-install home security company based in Boston, just announced increased offerings in regards to the peripherals they sell on their website. These new motion detectors, glass breaks and also a new app available on your smartphone where a Simplisafe user can be notified of events that have occurred in the home.
Techcrunch wrote about the new peripherals here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/13/simplisafe-adds-new-sensors-services-to-their-diy-home-security-system/
Simplisafe sells their product direct to users through the internet or over the phone and then sends it through the mail for the user to install themselves. Packages range from $229 to $540 for the system (each package has increased equipment).
Simplisafe operates through a cellular connection between their unit and the Simplisafe central station. The systems do not have two-way voice or a dual backup network through digital phone lines or the internet.
Monitoring rates range from $14.99 for their basic monitoring to $24.99 for multiple features, which include Simplisafe’s app which allows you to remotely turn on and off the system and “secret alerts” – a gimmick where you place a sensor somewhere in your home for text alerts that someone has done an activity (such as opening a medicine cabinet, etc).
Simplisafe does not require a contract, which differs from other home alarm companies in the self-install space, such as Protect America, Frontpoint, and Lifeshield.
Simplisafe is a good option for a DIY self-install home alarm system, far lower in price than other self-install home alarms, however, the fact they do not offer live two-way voice is a detriment. Perhaps they will at some point, however currently they only offer traditional monitoring.
The other knock on Simplisafe is the high upfront cost of the system. The quality of the hardware is on par with others in the space, however, the upfront cost seems higher than it should be. Perhaps the company wants to limit their risk since they don’t require a contract between them and the customer.
Regardless, Simplisafe is a better value than most companies in the self-install space, and definitely a far better value than traditional home alarm systems, which require an installer, contract, and high monthly fees.
If a Simplisafe customer cancels their monitoring and wants to switch to another company, can another company monitor a Simplisafe system? I’m not sure. This is definitely something potential Simplisafe customers should be asking before they sign up for a system.
Think protection when buying or leasing a home security system. Make an informed decision and remember to spend your money wisely.