Security System Contracts: Read the Fine Print

Posted by Alexa Sandbakken on Nov 3, 2017 11:22:44 AM

picture of one dollar bills and a twenty dollar bill

When you make a major purchase, such as a car, it's hard to know what additional expenses may come up. The car you saw for $12,000 may end up costing you more around $15,000 after all is said and done. At Heartland Security, we want your security system buying experience to be easy and the costs to be what you expect, so we'll let you know about some expenses that you may want to be prepared for when purchasing an alarm system.

1. The security system price

The average price of a basic security system is around $1500-$2000 and comes with a 3-5 year contract. You can pay for this in a few different ways:

  • All at once (with a 0-3 month contract),
  • A down payment of around 1/3 to 1/2 the total, or
  • A very small down payment.

After you make your initial payment when purchasing the system, you'll generally only have the monthly monitoring payment for the length of your contract (which will be higher if you paid less originally or will be lower if you paid a larger down payment).

Additional equipment

A basic system typically includes a control panel, keypad, motion detector, and 2-3 door/window sensors. Any equipment beyond that, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, freeze sensors, water sensors, more door/window sensors, or cameras, will have separate costs. This can quickly raise your overall cost, but having a customized system that best protects your house makes the most sense.

Installation fees

There may or may not be installation fees association with the purchase of your system. If there are, check carefully for any other fees and read the fine print closely. If there aren't installation fees, check how much the company charges for service fees. If something goes wrong or needs to be changed after the installation, you may find yourself paying a hefty fee for someone to come out again.

2. Monthly monitoring

Contracts are another important factor when it comes to paying for your security system. Most contracts are 3-5 years, but can be as little as 0-3 months. How much you pay each month during your contract will vary based on how much you pay upfront and what services you have. For example, you won't need to pay for a cellular communicator for your security system if you have a landline, but you will have the outside expense of the landline.

In our coverage area, alarm system monitoring can range from $13.95/month to $68.99/month. The average price of security system monitoring can vary because of optional services such as cellular communicators, interactive/smart home services, and cameras Basic monitoring is generally around $25/month with additional costs for optional services.

3. Service calls

While no one wants to think that there will be problems with their alarm system, every alarm system will probably need service at some point. How much a service call will cost can depend on your location, your availability, and the alarm system company you're working with. The cost for these calls can range from $40 to $80 for 30 minutes of service, with additional drivetime fees.

If you're worried about needing service after your installation, discuss your concerns with your sales rep and the installer. Make sure you have a number to call if you run into questions or if your alarm system won't stop beeping.

4. Regular system maintenance

Whether you have a wired or a wireless security system, you will still need to perform some types of regular system maintenance. Wireless sensors and detectors require new batteries every 3 years or so, while control panel (CPU) batteries need to be replaced every 5 years or so.

Other regular maintenance can include:

  • Cleaning cobwebs around motion detectors
  • Cleaning camera lenses (every 3-6 months)
  • Testing each sensor with your response center (once a year)
  • Using compressed air to clean the chamber in your smoke detector
  • Check doors to see if loose or sagging or if deadbolts are not lining up correctly

Another factor to check into is how much you'll save on your homeowner's insurance once you have a security system installed. Discounts can range from 5-20% off, which can help offset the monthly monitoring expense of an alarm system.

There's no average price for a security system and no average price for alarm system monitoring because systems vary so much based on the needs of the location and owner. If you're wondering how much a security system would cost for you, sign up for a free, no obligation security analysis. We'll have one of our Regional Sales Managers come to your location and walk through customizing a system to fit your specific needs and location.

Sign up for a FREE security analysis

Topics: home security systems

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