According to FBI statistics, a home is burglarized every 14 seconds in the United States, and homes without an alarm system are three times more likely to be broken into.
Those are pretty compelling reasons to consider installing an alarm system. But what should you know before choosing one-and the company to install it?
With hundreds of companies and plans available, interview several different companies before deciding, and follow this checklist from the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association:
-Contact your insurance agent or the crime prevention unit of your local police department for a list of reputable security system companies.
-Make sure the company is state licensed and ask if they do background checks on their employees before hiring them.
-Ask for a free security inspection and system recommendations, and get a written estimate including the monthly monitoring fees.
-Compare similar systems and pricing.
-Determine whether you will own the system or lease if from the alarm company.
-Make sure the system you choose is equipped with a battery for backup power and that it will be monitored by a central system around the clock.
-Negotiate. Most companies, especially in today’s economic climate, will negotiate on providing system add-ons such as a free motion detector, additional keypads or even one month’s free monitoring service.
-Once your system is installed, choose a user-friendly code that every member of the family can remember and let your insurance company know that your home is being monitored. It may net you some new insurance discounts.
-Last but not least, check back with your city to see if homeowners with security alarms must register with the local police department.