How To Choose An Alarm Company

If you are considering a home security system but have decided that you have neither the time nor the inclination for a do it yourself project then it's time to find a professional.

Here are some tips to consider when looking for an alarm company:

  • Call your insurance agent first, most insurance companies offer discounts ranging from 2% to 25% on homeowners' policies when a home is protected by a security system (that should tell you something). Ask how much you could save, which types of systems will qualify you for the greatest savings and see if the agent can offer any referrals.
  • Check with your state alarm association for referrals to companies in your area. Association members agree to abide by a Code of Ethics and provide quality services.
  • Ask neighbors, friends and relatives about their experiences and for referrals.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau regarding complaints that may have been filed against any of the companies.
  • Narrow your prospects to 3 or 4 companies; call them to schedule an appointment. Schedule at a time when all members of your household can be present, be sure to ask for the name of the person who will be calling on you and verify their identification upon their arrival.
  • Ask for an inspection of your premises, a demonstration and a quote in writing. Ask for references and check them later at your convenience.
  • Ask if the company has all licenses and permits required for your area. Are their technicians licensed and/or certificated? Ask if they screen their employees or conduct background checks before hiring.
  • Does the company maintain adequate insurance coverage? Do they carry Errors & Omissions?
  • Will you be given thorough training on the operation of the equipment? Everyone who will be using the system should be present during this training.
  • READ THE CONTRACT! Does it include everything that you were promised verbally? Does it include a 3-day right of rescission clause? Does it specify what equipment you will own, and what equipment, if any, will remain the property of the security company? Will you be provided with all system codes upon the expiration of the agreement or will they change them and provide you with the new codes? What will they charge for this service call?
  • Make sure that you understand the terms and conditions of the monitoring agreement. What is the total cost over the life of the contract? What Central Station will be monitoring your account? What are the provisions regarding early termination of the agreement? Is the agreement assignable?
  • Don't forget to check the references

Take the time to become an educated consumer. If you have questions at any point in the process don't hesitate to post them on the forum, after all, that's what we're all about.