Deciding on which alarm system to get is a task of its own. But choosing between the many different home security companies can be harder. Here are the top 13 questions you should ask when interviewing potential home security companies:
- How many years has the home security company been in business for?
Home security companies that have been around for at least 3 years make a great choice for providing security for a home. While 3 years is certainly not a very long time, being around for at least that long assures the company has been around long enough to have some installations under their belts. This makes it easier to get feedback and referrals on the company from others who have used their services.
- Who will be coming out to install my new alarm system.
Oftentimes a representative will come out from one home security company, and an alarm installer will show up from another. This is standard practice for alarm companies that use sub-contractors for their alarm installations. Although some home security companies use subcontractors to do their installations, many don’t. Either way, it is always a good idea to ask.
- Does the home security company have their own monitoring center?
Alarm monitoring centers can be quite costly to run and operate. This is why some home security companies subcontract their alarm monitoring to other companies that do have their own monitoring centers. If you want the company that installed your alarm to do the monitoring, you need to ask upfront if they have their own monitoring center or not.
- Will the company that installed my alarm system be the one to provide the service too?
Some home security companies not only use their own personnel to sell alarms, but also install, monitor, service, and provide support to their customers. Ask your potential home security company if they use their own employees or if they subcontract their work out to other companies. This is an important question. Not only do you want to know who will be coming into your home to service your alarm—you want to know who will be watching out for your home at the monitoring center as well.
- What happens if I cancel my phone service and I have no back-up cellular radio installed on my alarm system?
Home security companies offer cellular radios to use as a back-up form of alarm transmission, and as a primary form. However, if you have no phone service and no cellular radio installed with your alarm system—your alarm system will be considered local. There is no way to have your alarm monitored without either one of these.
- Does the company offer leased alarm systems or do I own it after a certain amount of time?
There are pros and cons to both leasing and owning your new alarm system. Home security companies have different equipment and programs they offer to their customers. It is important to go over your options with a few home security companies to see what would be the best option for you.
- Can I have an alarm system installed, but not have it monitored?
There may be many home security companies that will install your alarm system without monitoring it. However, alarm monitoring is a very critical part of your home’s security. Besides, opting for alarm monitoring could save you money on your new home security system.
- Will I be provided with alarm yard signs and decals to put up around my home?
You may have seen all types of yard signs and decals around your neighborhood. Home security companies offer these to their customers to not only deter criminal activity ever further, but also to “mark” a home, so to speak. If an alarm signal is called in to the police, the dispatcher will usually ask for the alarm company name. When looking for your address, a police officer may be able to spot your home quicker by seeing the alarm company yard sign in front of it.
- What type of alarm installations does the home security company offer?
Many home security companies are offering only wireless installations to their new customers. This is because wireless alarm systems are faster, easier, and sometimes more cost-effective than installing a wired alarm system. If you don’t want a wireless alarm system, don’t get one. There are still several home security companies that will offer you a hardwired alarm installation.
- If I am not happy with the company after my installation, can another home security company take over my alarm monitoring?
Some home security companies install proprietary systems. This means the systems are exclusive to their company. Not only will other home security companies not be able to monitor your alarm system, you will not be able to add any upgrades to it through another company.
- Will the company offer me something to show proof that I had an alarm system installed to give to my homeowners insurance company?
Yes, many home security companies offer what they call a homeowner’s insurance certificate. When you have an alarm system installed in your home, take advantage of the savings you may be able to get by having it. Home security companies will be more than happy to provide this certificate to you.
- What happens after hours if I need help with my alarm system?
Home security is a 24-hour need, and you want to choose a company that will be there for you 24/7. The majority of home security companies in this day and age offer around-the-clock phone and technical support, but there are still some that do not. Try not to pick a company that turns their phones off at 5pm on the weekdays, and cannot be found on weekends and holidays. You need a company that will be there when you need them most. Sometimes that need does not come at convenient hours.
- What happens if I move out of my home?
If you are even considering moving within a few years after your alarm system installation, speak to home security companies upfront about it when obtaining quotes. You do not want to be stuck paying a multi-year alarm monitoring contract years after you moved out of your home. Things come up and people move all of the time; home security companies know this and can come up with an agreement that will benefit both you and the company.