The Pros, Cons, and Economics of Home Security Systems
If you don’t have any sort of home security or alarm system set up, you are far from alone. Only 15 percent of U.S. homes have some sort of security system in place, according to a 2018 study by Statistic Brain.
I don’t tell you this to make you feel insecure. But if you haven’t thought about getting a security system, it’s probably because it simply never occurred to you. Especially if you rent, you might consider it a landlord’s responsibility to protect your home.
What Are Home Security Systems?
The name says a lot: A home security system secures your home and belongings. Many companies offer home security systems, and the types of alarms and systems available vary widely.
There is a property crime every 3.9 seconds in the United States, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting website. The site defines property crimes as “the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.”
So is a security system necessary? The answer, of course, depends on who you ask. Let’s look at the pros and cons of home security systems.
Say you have a young child, work from home, and collect antiques.
In this case, your house is not only the home you’re raising your child in, but also the place in which you run your business and keep valuable items.
For someone in this situation, a home alarm system might be a necessity. It provides a layer of protection for both the person as well as the business that’s run out of the house.
1. Peace of Mind for Your Valuables and Your Loved Ones
The most important thing a security system can offer you is peace of mind. Not only is your home secured, but many come equipped with ways for the homeowner to contact 911 in case of a medical emergency. For the disabled, elderly, chronically ill, or anyone who lives alone and worries about a medical emergency, a security system could literally be a lifeline to the outside world.
Your belongings are worth something, but your life is worth everything. Instead of worrying about the dangers of property crime (or worse), people who have a home security system can rest easy knowing that they are safeguarded. Plus, their home is protected even when they’re away, so they don’t have to fret about returning to a house emptied of its contents.
3. DIY Home Security Systems
If you don’t have enough money to pay installation and monthly monitoring fees, you don’t have to go without. If you’re handy around the house, there are a lot of DIY options to protect your home. And many of them can be upgraded, even when you move to a bigger place or start acquiring more things of value. You can also customize systems to get exactly what you’re looking for, like an all-in-one setup or one that gives you locks for windows.
4. Remote Viewing
Want to be able to view your home on the go? You can! With many home security installations, you’ll have access to cameras that you can position to view your home via your phone or laptop. Even better, many of them can record, as well. So should anything like a break-in ever happen, you’ll have evidence to share with the authorities.
5. Cheaper Home Insurance
You may be able to lower your home insurance premium by installing a security system. If you are in an area that has high crime rates, the cost of your home insurance may drop even more. This could mean that the cost of monitoring becomes worth it, even for those skeptical about such security systems.
Despite the benefits, home security systems come with their share of cons, too. Let’s look at some of them:
1. Easy to Forget
It can become so easy to get comfortable with using your home security system that you forget to activate it. For instance, if you’re in a rush or are running out for a quick minute, you may forget to arm the system as you’re leaving.
There are a few ways around this, though. For example, you can choose a system that you can turn on remotely. Or you may choose to leave a note by the door as a reminder to set the alarm before you go out.
2. Difficult Setup
If you choose the professional route, installing a home security system can take time and be a little difficult, depending on your house. There may be wiring and routing problems that arise, or you may have an inexperienced technician doing the work. These possibilities aren’t guaranteed, but they’ve been known to happen.
3. False Alarms
If you forget your code, accidentally trip an alarm, or even just take too long to get to your alarm once it’s been set off, you may have to deal with a lot of calls. Law enforcement might even show up at your doorstep. This can be especially difficult for older people who need help getting to their system, or people who are absent-minded (or who always carry in a ton of items).
Some companies will charge you a fee after the first “accident.” So if you move slowly or are forgetful, it may be hard to find a home security system that works well for you.
The average costs of home security systems range from $250 to $1,500 for installation and $30 a month for monitoring, though it ranges depending on your area and which system you choose. If you opt for a DIY home security system, you may be looking at anywhere from $100 to $750 for a new one.
Research your options to make sure that each company is worth the price. For example, Brinks Home Security is trusted in over 1 million homes across America. It’s a fast, reliable service with an easy-to-manage, on-the-go app. So wherever you are, you can be in control of your home’s security.
If Brinks isn’t the right fit for you, check out other options in CentSai‘s Best Home Security Systems Buyer’s Guide.
Other Ways to Secure Your Home
If you want to secure your home in a cheaper way, here are a few ideas:
- Purchase cameras you can manually install in or around your home. Most devices will allow you to watch a live stream through an app.
- Make sure you keep all windows and doors locked at all times.
- Make sure you secure sliding doors and windows by putting a pipe or board in their tracks when not in use.
- Keep valuables out of sight.
- Avoid doors with glass near the doorknob so vandals can’t smash the glass and open your door from the inside.
- Don’t provide places for burglars to hide. Avoid having shrubs around windows and concealed areas near doors.
- Don’t put a specific security system sticker in your window, but do put a generic sticker saying you’re protected. That way burglars can’t figure out how to disable your real — or imaginary — system.
Pros and Cons of Home Security Systems: The Bottom Line
Your need for a home security system will depend on your desire to feel safe and protected in your home. You may find that having one makes you feel safer. But you may also find that one just doesn’t fit in your budget. Do your research and make sure it’s something that you need to feel at home in your home.