What Is Home Security Monitoring?Updated August 15, 2022 Home Security
An important component of any home security system is the professional monitoring that often is available to accompany the alarm system hardware. With this added service, you can make sure that the security of your home is constantly monitored to protect you, your family, and your belongings. If you’re wondering whether this additional service is right for you, we’ll walk you through all the ways professional home security alarm monitoring can provide you with peace of mind and convenience when it comes to assuring your home’s safety.
7 Benefits of Home Security Monitoring
- 24/7 Home Protection
- Peace of Mind
- Save Time
- Criminal Deterrence
- Discount on Homeowners Insurance
- Medical Assistance
- Faster Response Times
Are you considering purchasing or have already purchased a new home security system? One of the key decisions to make is whether to add the optional professional monitoring service that many security companies offer.
While most alarm systems include video monitoring devices and capabilities that can give you the option of self-monitoring your home’s safety, there are some distinct advantages to having a professional service monitor your alarm system. A dedicated monitoring center on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week adds a vital layer of protection to your home security system.
How Does Home Security Monitoring Work?
Home security monitoring is an added feature you can purchase as part of your entire security system package. Your home security system controls several devices, which may include a security camera or doorbell camera, motion sensors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, and more. When you add professional monitoring, these individual devices are then connected to a central monitoring center that can respond to alerts at any time of day. The connection can be wired or wireless.
With this kind of setup, the central monitoring center receives an alert if one of the devices associated with your alarm system picks up a disturbance. This can be anything from entry into your home to a broken window, fire, or water leak. Customer service staff then reach out to you or your emergency contacts to verify that the alarm is warranted.
The professional monitoring staff also reaches out to local law enforcement and other local authorities, depending on the specifics of the situation. If the alarm monitoring team calls you and your emergency contacts multiple times with no answer, they will call 911 to report your emergency.
What’s the difference between DIY monitoring and professional monitoring?
The key difference is that with an unmonitored or DIY home security system, an intruder will hear a loud alarm noise, but local authorities will not be called, nor will you. You may, however, receive a notification via a mobile app alerting you that the alarm system has been tripped. The same is true in the event of a fire, water leak, or other type of alert.
It may be more helpful to explore what professional monitoring is NOT – it is not a team of professionals who sit and watch security camera footage of your home at all times. It is not a breach of your privacy when you’re enjoying your home. It simply means that a monitoring team is notified when there’s a breach of your home security system and can take action on your behalf if you’re unavailable.
6 Best Home Security Monitoring Services
If you want to make sure your home security monitoring service is up for the challenge of a crisis, Vivint is a good choice. This home security monitoring company consistently rates high for emergency response. With all of its system components seamlessly integrated, Vivint offers a fast response from garage door monitors, smart locks, cameras, and more.
Protection extends outside your home to porches and yards, and Vivint agents are well-trained. Vivint offers three different pricing plans, which you have to call to get details about, and each plan requires professional installation. Vivint’s lowest plan starts at $29.99 per month. Just be aware: Vivint currently boasts fairly low customer satisfaction ratings, so make sure to read online reviews and even talk with current Vivint customers if you can before signing up.
SimpliSafe is a newer, but well-respected and trusted name in home security monitoring. It’s an outstanding option for customers who want to blend DIY or professional installation with high-quality security monitoring. SimpliSafe also is a good choice for customers who are looking for flexibility. With SimpliSafe, you can enjoy a trial period of 60 days, which is much longer than most options in the industry. In addition, there’s no contract with SimpliSafe – you can cancel your service at any time.
SimpliSafe also offers customers the choice between DIY or professional installation, and you can pick and choose components to design a customized home security monitoring system, rather than being forced to choose a particular package. If you’re worried about false alarms, you always have the option to choose SimpliSafe’s self-monitoring plan, which means that a tripped alarm will contact you but not local authorities. SimpliSafe home security monitoring plans range from no cost for self-monitoring to $24.99 for professional monitoring.
SimpliSafe is well known for its stellar customer service. If you choose this system, you can feel confident that you’re in good hands with people who are knowledgeable, responsive, and eager to help with any issues you may have.
Wyze Home Monitoring offers affordable home security monitoring. You can sign a contract for 12 months at a time or subscribe on a month-to-month basis. Wyze is a solid budget-friendly option, with the annual plan priced at $39.99 and the monthly option starting at $4.99.
Wyze’s base system, which includes a hub with a built-in siren, two door and window sensors, a keypad, and a motion detector, costs just $20. The system can be augmented with a three-pack of door and window sensors for $20, a motion detector for $8, and a selection of Wyze cameras for as little as $24. The selection of accessories is more limited than you might see with other providers, but all the basic bases are covered. If you sign a year contract, you also will receive your starter kit for free.
Wyze is a no-frills, reliable home security monitoring service that offers tremendous flexibility. With Wyze, you won’t get cellular backup or third-party smart home compatibility, but many homeowners consider that a worthwhile tradeoff for monitoring services that cost less each month than many of their streaming services.
Frontpoint is the ideal home security monitoring option for customers who want to install everything associated with the system themselves. Equipment costs are a bit higher than some other systems, but that’s balanced with the complete control you have by installing everything yourself. In addition, Frontpoint offers a 30-day trial period, with a money-back guarantee for all its plans.
Frontpoint offers two monitoring options: one for $44 per month and a second for $49 per month. The company has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Easy DIY is the hallmark of the Frontpoint experience, and all system components are simple to install. You also can get assistance through the Frontpoint app if you need any help during installation.
When it comes to name recognition and brand equity, it’s hard to beat ADT Security. The company has provided home security monitoring for decades and is a trusted name in the business. Their setup is professional, and ADT offers several different levels of service to meet your needs. ADT also offers robust mobile options that allow you to control your alarm system from the ADT app on your smartphone.
ADT boasts a wide network of trusted agents and monitoring services can be added to your system for as low as $40 per month.
Brinks is a longstanding powerhouse of a national home security brand that can go a long way toward dissuading potential burglars from trying to enter your home.
Brinks has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. With Brinks, your highest costs are the up-front costs associated with getting the system set up, while monthly monitoring charges range from $29 to $39. With Brinks, you can choose either professional or DIY system installation, and you can enjoy a 30-day trial period.
How Much Does Home Security Monitoring Cost?
Home security monitoring costs are typically in the form of a monthly subscription fee. Depending on the monitoring service, you may need to enter into a contract for a specified period. The specific costs depend largely on the security company, but generally speaking, professional monitoring fees range anywhere from $20-100 per month. In addition to these monthly costs, you should consider the up-front costs of purchasing all of the devices, and other elements associated with your alarm system, like a motion sensor package, smart locks, doorbell camera, alarm panel, home security cameras, and more.
Your home security monitoring monthly payment is made up of several components. In some cases, you may be able to finance the up-front costs for your system devices and sensors, which then becomes a piece of your monthly payment. This can account for anywhere from $10-70 of your monthly bill.
In addition to the equipment costs is the cost of the monitoring itself, which typically ranges from $20-60 per month. Some of the factors that influence this amount include the size of your home, whether your connection is wired or wireless, and how many environmental and entry sensors you have in your home. Examples can include motion sensors, audio sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, smoke detectors, and more.
7 Benefits of Home Security Monitoring
Here are some key benefits of having your home securely monitored by a professional monitoring service.
24/7 Home Protection
Having a professional team monitor your home’s safety means that you have coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is unlikely to be the case if you’re monitoring your system by yourself. This constant monitoring means that no details are missed, and the proper authorities can be notified as soon as possible if something happens. Plus, having an outside party monitoring your home’s security means that help is on the way when you’re away from home or on vacation. The best home security system in the world won’t do you any good if you’re unable to pay attention to it.
Keep in mind that many home burglaries happen during the day, so if you’re at work, you may be unable to monitor your home system. While the loud noise associated with tripping an alarm may scare off some burglars – but without professional alarm monitoring, burglars can simply disarm your system and carry on with stealing your belongings.
Peace of Mind
Most homeowners are not trained security professionals. So, when something suspicious happens and you’re the only one monitoring your house, things can get stressful. But you can avoid the anxiety associated with this responsibility with a professional monitoring service.
Alerting trained professionals ensures that the right kind of help is called. You can relax and sleep soundly, knowing that the security of your home and family are in knowledgeable, professional hands.
A monitored security system typically features periodic maintenance testing, which can help you feel extra confident that your alarm system is always working as it should.
Every second matters in an emergency. By having your alarm system professionally monitored, you don’t have to make critical decisions when you may not be thinking clearly. The rapid response of a monitoring service when smoke is detected could potentially save your home, your belongings, and the lives of those you love.
You can deter many criminals by simply having a security sign in your window or by the front door. In one recent study, more than 50% of criminals reported that they would cancel a burglary plan if the home was being monitored. These days, burglars actively look for signs of a home security monitoring system before breaking into a home. And for criminals who ignore the monitoring sign and enter your home anyway, the quick response of your alarm monitoring team allows law enforcement to capture the thieves before they finish robbing your home.
Discount on Homeowners Insurance
Most homeowners insurance policies will feature a discount for homeowners who have home security monitoring in place. A homeowner using a security monitoring service is less of a risk to the insurance company, which translates into lower monthly premiums for the homeowner. Discounts can range from 5% to 20%, with the highest discounts reserved for systems that not only monitor for burglary, but also environmental hazards like water leaks, fire, and smoke.
Monitored home security systems aren’t just for burglaries and fires. Monitoring services can also help if someone in the home needs medical assistance. For example, elderly homeowners living alone can connect a medical alert device to the monitoring service. In the event of a fall or other medical emergency, you can simply press a button on your medical pendant and the monitoring service company will send an ambulance to your home and contact your family members.
Faster Response Times
Professional monitor service companies are in direct contact with emergency responders and law enforcement agencies. Studies suggest that law enforcement can respond more quickly when an incident is reported by a reputable third-party monitoring system. Authorities are more likely to respond to triggered alarms if they have been verified by the professional monitoring center.
What Happens If It’s a False Alarm?
Many homeowners are hesitant to sign up for home security monitoring because they are afraid of false alarms being reported to law enforcement. It’s no secret that homeowners and their guests often trip the security system by mistake
Unfortunately, this can lead to law enforcement being dispatched to your home when unnecessary. Police and fire departments deal with many false alarms. Some cities will charge a fine once you reach a certain number of false alarms. You can avoid these kinds of situations, though, by following a few home security tips.
First, set your emergency contacts such that the security company calls you to verify an emergency before calling local authorities. That way you can confirm a false alarm before the police are called. You also can help prevent false alarms by making sure that anyone using your home security system is properly trained. Household members need to know how to arm and disarm the system, along with how to interpret error codes and bypass malfunctioning parts of the system if necessary. You may also need to educate contractors, housekeepers, dog sitters, visiting family or friends, or any other person who may be called upon to use your system.
Be sure to work with a reputable security company that offers professional installation, which reduces the risk of a false alarm associated with faulty installation. Some of the most trusted names in home security installation are ADT Security, Brinks Home Security, Vivint Smart Home, and Wyze Home Monitoring. These companies will ensure that your home security system is installed properly.
If you prefer the DIY route, companies that offer off-site installation support include Scout Security, Ring Alarm, Nest Cam, and SimpliSafe Home Security.
False Alarms Caused by Low Batteries
Make sure the batteries associated with your system devices are checked regularly. Some false alarms are caused by a device with a low battery.
False Alarms Caused by Pets
Pets are well-known sources of false alarms, so let your security company know if you have any. Security system installers can configure the sensors in your home to be pet-friendly. This way, a dog or cat won’t trigger a false alarm as it moves throughout your home.
Is Professional Home Security Monitoring Right for Me?
Having a home security system with professional monitoring is the best way to protect your home and family. Security experts typically recommend that homeowners enroll in professional monitoring rather than trying to monitor their home security on their own. It’s usually just too big a job for the homeowner to tackle alone – especially if you frequently travel or leave your home empty during the day, or if your home is large with multiple entrances.
In recent years, burglaries have cost homeowners an average of $2,800 per incident. The majority of fires occur in the home, and most house fire injuries occur when the household is asleep. When you also consider water leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, and medical emergencies, you can get a lot of peace of mind using a professional security monitoring service.