Have you made the decision to secure your new or existing home or property, but been unable to determine what your best options are? Companies everywhere have capitalized on the popularity of home security systems, resulting in a very saturated market. Although a saturated market means more variety and choice for consumers, it may also be a source of confusion for someone new to said market. When considering an alarm system, one should always also consider home alarm monitoring simultaneously, since alarm installation and home alarm monitoring services often go hand in hand. The following paragraphs will take a closer look at what distinguishes the leading alarm monitoring companies from the rest, to help consumers identify how they might find the best companies and services in their vicinity.
Remote security monitoring is a complicated business. It involves cooperation between multiple parties and guaranteed, round-the-clock service. Individuals that pay to have their homes or properties remotely monitored have to have complete trust in the home alarm monitoring service they employ, and although they may take an active role in regularly ensuring that the alarm monitoring software is functioning properly, they are ultimately leaving the safety of their homes and belongings in the hands of that monitoring company. Complete trust in a company can only be attained when every potential issue has been addressed, and the best companies will make this process as simple and comprehensive as possible.
Some of the issues that should immediately be addressed, when negotiating a new security alarm monitoring system contract, include the following: Monthly service fees, and precisely which services those fees cover; compatibility of pre-existing equipment (including phone service specifications) with the wireless alarm monitoring equipment used by the service provider; precise description of procedures and responses in the event an alarm is triggered; discussion of equipment warranty, providing the home alarm monitoring system has been installed by the same company; and a contract that clearly states the responsibilities of all parties regarding the proper maintenance of equipment and services. Some of these issues warrant more discussion, and will be addressed in more detail below.
Monthly Service Fees
Most alarm monitoring companies charge a monthly fee for the services they provide. When researching different companies, consumers will likely find that there are considerable price variances. Before immediately opting for the service with the lowest monthly charges, consider what those charges are actually covering. For instance, some companies will offer to monitor pre-existing alarm systems, as a means of enticing clients to switch over to their services. In these cases however, the monitoring company will generally not assume any responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the equipment, which means that repair and/or maintenance costs are unaccounted for. On the other hand, a company that provides the equipment as well as the monitoring service may charge a higher monthly rate, but offer guarantees for regular servicing of said equipment, and charge little to nothing for installation and activation.
A good service provider will offer a detailed account of how it proceeds when one of the home alarm monitoring systems under its surveillance is triggered. This account should not only address the specific means the company takes to contact the appropriate parties; it should also provide average response times, backed up by data, as well as customer testimonials. A company that uses generalizations when it comes to its ability to handle a potentially critical situation is likely not on par with its competitors.
Delineation of Responsibilities
Every home alarm monitoring contract should clearly delineate the responsibilities of all parties, with regards to the optimal functioning of the home alarm system. Although the monitoring company will clearly take on the brunt of the responsibility, individuals must also ensure that they are doing everything necessary to ensure the alarm system being monitored is kept up to date within the home. The following is a list of responsibilities divided up between the service provider and the client. Clients considering a new contract may use this as a form of checklist, to evaluate their various contract options:
Responsibilities of the Alarm Monitoring Company
- Continuous, round-the-clock monitoring;
- Immediate response to a triggered alarm within the home;
- Proper protocol for contacting primary and emergency numbers, as provided by client;
- Prompt dispatch of information to emergency response teams, should the need arise;
- Transparency with regards to monthly and one-time fees for services;
- Transparency with regards to system requirements for new contracts;
- Notification of client when the alarm system is compromised in any way (including, but not limited to, low batteries, system malfunction, etc…);
- Timely notification of any changes in procedure and/or protocol;
- Customer service availability (to assist in regular system testing and address any additional questions or concerns).
Responsibilities of Client
- Prompt payment of all monthly and one-time fees for services;
- Inform all authorized users of proper system activation and de-activation procedures;
- Provide pass code or card to any and all authorized users, in the event that an alarm is triggered accidentally;
- Inform alarm monitoring company of any and all changes to emergency contact numbers;
- Regularly test alarm monitoring system, in cooperation with monitoring company.
In addition to the issues discussed above, finding the best home alarm monitoring company for your needs will depend upon your geographical location and the availability of services in your region. Some home and property owners prefer to go with smaller, local companies, because they feel they will be better served in their particular vicinity. Individuals residing in larger cities or regions may have access to bigger companies, with broader service areas. Advantages of larger companies include a more easily documented track record and a long-term reliability that is less dependent upon the local economy.
As clearly illustrated above, finding the top alarm monitoring company requires a considerable amount of investigation on the part of the client. Instead of being overwhelmed by the number of companies providing alarm monitoring services, use the saturated market to your advantage. By carefully considering every aspect of potential contracts, you will be most likely to find the top company for your security needs.