Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to how much a security system costs. Because of the large variety of options available with home security systems, it can be difficult to know the price of a security system.
The good news is that in the last two years, the number of devices that can work with a security system has significantly increased. Due to this boost in options, security systems can now turn your house into a smart home while giving you the protection and peace of mind a security system provides. However, more options means more variance in the price of a system.
From local to national companies, there can be quite a large difference in price, including the amount of money down, monthly monitoring charges, length of contract, and installation and other charges.
Down Payment and Monthly Monitoring Charges
Most local companies will charge you a down payment with the purchase of a security system. This can range from around $100 to $1000, typically. Based on how much you put down, the amount of your monthly monitoring charge can change, but the average for basic monitoring tend to be around $20-$25 a month. Generally, the more money you put towards the system during the time of purchase, the less you'll pay for monitoring during the length of your contract. Keep in mind additions to your system, such as enabling smart home features, can drive up the cost of your monthly charges.
Some national brands throw out specials such as no down payment or offering a reward such as a gift card with the purchase of a system. You should be wary of these specials, as nothing is free - they'll have to recoup their funds somehow, generally with a higher monthly monitoring fee. National companies tend to have much higher monthly rates than their local counterparts, as their monthly fees generally range from $40-$50.
Length of Contract
Typically, you'll find monitoring contracts ranging between 2 and 5 years. Some companies will offer very short contracts, but you'll basically be paying for the entire system up front. A shorter contract can mean no monthly charges (and no monitoring), but monitoring provides the peace of mind by knowing that if an alarm is triggered, there will be a response center standing by 24/7 to notify the proper party or the authorities.
Installation and Other Charges
Some companies will charge you an installation fee, while others include a free installation as part of a security system package. You may also be able to receive a warranty for an additional monthly charge. Before you get a system, you'll also want to check out how much trip and service/labor charges are, as you can be charged if you need someone from the company to come out to work on the system.
When you're thinking about getting a security system, you'll have to decide if you want to go with a local company or a large national company. If you buy from a local company, you'll probably be looking at $1500-$2000 as the total cost of a home security system. With a local company, you may also be able to get certain kinds of discounts, such as employer discounts. You'll also be more likely to have people close by who can help should you run into issues with your system. Would you rather have a local monitoring center or end up talking to someone across the country when your alarm is tripped?
If you still want to consider a national company, make sure to read the fine print very carefully. Check the length of contract, whether the monthly service rate changes, and consider how much you'll be paying overall.
No matter what company you decide to go with, make sure you get the options you want at a price you can handle. You need to trust the company you choose and know that you're getting something of value. How much is peace of mind worth to you?