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. Home alarm 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.
Advantage – Constant Protection
If you install a monitored alarm system in your home, 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.
Advantage – 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.
Advantage – 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.
Disadvantage – 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.
Disadvantage – 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.
Disadvantage – 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.
Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.