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You’re thinking about getting a home alarm system. You’ve looked at a few options and are wondering to yourself what kind should you get: one that comes with professional monitoring or a self-monitored system, where only you and a select contact list are notified if an alarm is triggered. How can you make a smart decision?

There is no shortage of options for a self-monitored alarm system and a monitored alarm system. Companies like ADT, AlarmForce, Simplisafe, CPI, and Ackerman offer a traditional monitored home alarm system, while companies like Canary and Dropcam have a self-monitored solution. What’s the difference between self-monitored and professionally monitored alarms?

When a professionally monitored home security system is tripped a signal is sent to the monitoring station who can then assess the situation and then contact the police if necessary. A self-monitored system only notifies the homeowner through a text, email or automated phone call.

If the homeowner is busy or doesn’t have their phone on them, then they can’t deal with whatever situation is occurring. Plus, if they are far from their home, they may know that the alarm was tripped but can’t get any information beyond that. Self-monitored systems rely solely on the homeowner to resolve the situation, which may not always be possible.

A professionally monitored system has the monitoring station involved in the assessing process and the dispatching of whatever first responder is needed. This provides unmatched peace of mind and a response regardless of the homeowner’s activities or location.

While a self-monitored system is better than nothing, it doesn’t come close to the value that a professionally monitored home alarm provides. The peace of mind and level of security is unparalleled, giving the homeowner a better response and ultimately better security.

Remember though that not all alarm systems are created equal, so do your research on what type of alarm monitoring they provide, if their central station is a 5-diamond certified central station if they have an alarm contract and also the monthly price should factor into your decision. Think Protection and make an informed choice.