The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Home Alarm System

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A home alarm system can be costly, but some homeowners find the peace of mind worth it.
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Home security is a concern for many homeowners and, in some cases, double locks on the doors or security windows do not provide adequate peace of mind. The best home security systems offer extensive security services that may allow you to feel safer and more protected in your home. However, depending on your situation, an alarm system may also present several disadvantages. Understanding both the positives and negatives can help you determine whether a home alarm system is a good fit for your home and family.

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Advantages

Constant Protection

If you install a monitored alarm system in your home (whether it's DIY or professionally installed), you and your family have round-the-clock the protection against break-ins. Some systems also have fire alarms built in, which provides additional reassurance. The constant protection of an alarm system is particularly comforting when you may be away from your home for an extended period or you must leave your children home alone for an evening. It also means that your home is protected while you are sleeping so you can have peace of mind about your family's safety and get a good night's sleep.

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Deterrent to Criminals

Most home alarm systems provide small lawn signs or placards for your window that indicate that your home is protected by a security company. In many cases, the presence of this type of sign alone may persuade burglars and other criminals to pass over your home and move on to a dwelling that is not protected by a security system. Be sure to clearly display the decals and signs from your monitoring company to fully advertise your home's security.

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Lower Insurance Rates

While there is a significant cost to install a home alarm system, it can mean a financial advantage as well. Your insurance company may actually adjust the rate on your homeowners insurance policy if you have a system installed in your home. Because your home is protected from theft — and in many cases, fire — costly incidences that might require you to make a claim are less likely to occur in your home. As a result, your insurance company can lower your rate.

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Disadvantages

Cut Phone Line

If your alarm system is connected to your security company by phone line only, you can run into problems. A burglar may cut your phone line before entering your home and all monitoring and communication with your alarm company is terminated. As a result, it is a good idea to have a cellular radio installed with your system, which will allow communication with the security company even if the phone line is cut.

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False Alarms

While a home alarm system can provide security and peace of mind, it has the potential to become fairly annoying as well. It is not uncommon for false alarms to occur with your system. In some cases, the police or fire department may be dispatched to your home before you have a chance to explain the mistake to your security company. Some police departments may charge you if they are repeatedly called to your home without reason. To avoid false alarms, consult with your alarm company to determine what might be causing them so you can make adjustments.

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Expense

The primary disadvantage of a home alarm system may be its expense. It is costly to have the system installed in the first place, but security companies charge a daily or monthly fee to provide monitoring services as well. These fees can quickly add up, so if you are on a budget, it may put a strain on your finances.

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Best Home Security Brands

SimpliSafe is a no-frills, DIY home security system that's great for beginners. It only takes 30 minutes to set up and, on top of 24/7 security, there are even more add-ons to protect you and your home from leaks, floods, carbon monoxide, fires, and more.

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Our pick:SimpliSafe The Essentials Home Security System, $274.95

Vivint is a smart home security system that offers not only alarms, sensors, cameras, and locks but also has a selection of smart gadgets that you can hook up to your home, too. It's home automation makes managing your home a breeze, and it also requires professional installation, so you don't have to do the work yourself.

Our pick:Vivint Smart Home Security System, $599+

Arlo is stocked with home security systems designed for both indoors and outdoors. And the best part? These cameras are wireless and don't need direct access to any outlets.

Our pick:Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera (set of 3), $399.99

If you've got your eye on a doorbell security camera, Ring is the brand for you. These high-tech doorbells offer night vision video, motion alerts, two-way talk, and works with Alexa-enabled devices. The brand also has regular security cameras, security systems, smart lighting, and more. Additionally, Ring devices can be set up by the pros.

Our pick:Ring Video Doorbell Pro, $169.99

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