Most home and property owners that make protecting their assets a priority have considered various types of alarm systems, surveillance options, and alarm monitoring services, in order to ensure the security of their homes and possessions. Although all of these security measures are popular and regularly sought after, they are not necessarily easy to sort through, especially for individuals with little or no prior experience. The following paragraphs will attempt to provide a guide of sorts, in order to help individuals new to the world of remote security monitoring to find the best deals and options on their contracts with alarm monitoring companies.
What Is Alarm Monitoring?
Before getting into the specifics about what to look for in an alarm monitoring service contract, a brief discussion on the basics of security alarm monitoring is in order. Essentially, it is the next step in home and property security, after the installation of an alarm or security system. While alarm systems work to deter home invasion and vandalism simply by being in place, and also by sounding in the event of an unexpected entry, if no responsible individual or group reacts to the initial alarm sounding, the home or property is still left vulnerable. In other words, an alarm system that is not maintained and monitored by an alarm monitoring company serves more as a deterrent for theft and vandalism, while subsequent wireless alarm monitoring serves as a means of actively responding to a triggered alarm. Most monitoring services offer installation, maintenance and monitoring as part of one package deal, while other companies may offer to provide monitoring on pre-existing setups. These and other details and distinctions are what will help you, the home or property owner, to determine the best type of contract for your needs.
Best Deals on Alarm Monitoring Contracts
It is easy to assume that the best deal on any type of contract or service is the lowest unit price. This misconception is a popular one, and can get individuals into trouble as they seek out the best alarm monitoring software and services. Instead of just looking at monthly service charges, clients should measure each company’s services against a detailed checklist that takes into account not only costs of services, but also the following: specific terms of contract length and stipulations; the nature of the services offered; response types and times; warranties and service quality; and reputation among clients both past and present. These factors will be discussed in more detail below.
As with any service that entails regular payments, either monthly or otherwise, these fees will be partially dependent upon the length of the given contract. Many service providers, including those for cellular phones, internet services, and security alarm monitoring, will offer deeper discounts to customers if they agree to a longer term of service, thereby ensuring customer loyalty and securing clientele for longer periods of time. When evaluating contract terms, be sure that the length of the given agreement is clearly stated, to avoid being stuck in an unsatisfactory arrangement, or having to pay expensive early termination fees.
Not every alarm monitoring company offers the same types of services to clients. While some specialize only in security monitoring related to burglaries and home invasions, others cover different types of alarms as well, including smoke and fire detectors, heat and low temperature sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, emergency alarm triggers within the home, and even paging systems set up to notify parents when their children have returned home from school. Clearly a contract that provides all of the services listed above will cost more than one that only deals in one or two aspects of home security. Finding the contract that covers the services you need or want, and that does not charge for additional unnecessary services will help keep monthly service charges to a minimum, and will obviously depend upon your own needs and those of your household members.
Response Methods and Average Response Times
When an alarm is triggered within a monitored home, the job of the alarm monitoring company is to investigate the cause of the trigger and then to respond appropriately. The ways in which the given company investigates and the amount of time it takes for said company to respond are both crucial factors in determining how effective an alarm monitoring service will be. For instance, most companies will offer clients a quote on their average response time. This response time should not be over one minute in length. Similarly, some services state that they have a team of responders working around the clock to personally investigate any disturbances, while others may use automated systems to contact individuals within the home or on emergency contact numbers. Investigating triggered alarms should be a comprehensive and yet efficient process, allowing the monitoring company to determine whether or not the necessary emergency response units should be deployed to investigate further.
Warranties and Service Quality
When comparing alarm monitoring services, always be sure to ask whether the company provides warranties on equipment installed, and how often they conduct maintenance tests on homes being monitored. Often clients opt for the lowest monthly fee, but are then left to deal with equipment malfunctions, depleted batteries, or some other oversight, and are forced to pay premium prices to have that same monitoring company come out and fix the problem. In other words, paying slightly more per month may save clients money in the long run, as long as the service provider offers guarantees on their products and services.
Once you have covered all of the key points listed above, you will be much better equipped to determine what is truly the best alarm monitoring service contract for your needs. You may also wish to talk with friends and neighbors about their past experiences, or even visit an online forum offering testimonials from previous clients of specific companies. Although it may be tempting to only look at the overall price tag when making your decision, by taking a more detailed approach to contract negotiation, you will likely be able to find the perfect contract for all of your needs, as well as your pocketbook.