Your home is one of your most valuable assets. It’s so valuable, in fact, that your mortgage company requires you to have homeowners insurance to protect its collateral value in case of things like fire or theft. The decision to protect your home with a security system, however, is completely up to you. We’ve made a list of the reasons a security system could be a worthwhile investment and a list of features to consider before making your purchase.
Why get a home security system?
Today’s home security systems can protect you, your family and your property from physical and financial harm in more ways than you may realize. Take a look at how a comprehensive system can protect you:
- Deter intruders from entering your home thanks to an alarm: The FBI reports that more than 3.6 million burglaries occurred in the United States between 2018 and 2021. Crucially, a study by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that one of the best ways to deter a would-be burglar is with a security system, the presence of which would lead 60% of the convicted burglars surveyed to seek an alternative target.
- Stop porch pirates with camera security: This modern-day crime is growing right alongside the rise in online shopping. Recent research found that one in seven Americans in 2022 had their delivered packages stolen. Security cameras deter porch pirates just like they do other burglars.
- Detect smoke and carbon monoxide through sensors: FEMA reports that fire deaths have generally been rising since 2012, while the CDC notes that 420 people lose their lives annually in this country from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 100,000 people get treated yearly for exposure to this dangerous gas.
- Housesit your home when it’s unoccupied: Every year, police departments warn about the risk of intrusion to unoccupied homes, whether that’s for the day while you’re at work or during your vacation when you’re out of town. A security system acts as a virtual housesitter sounding the alarm at unwanted activity near or in your property.
- Monitor your kids and pets through camera feeds: Working, volunteering and otherwise occupied parents of tweens, teens and fur babies always worry about these loved ones when they’re home alone. Camera monitoring lets you easily see that they’re okay.
- Secure your prized personal possessions with an alarm: If you’re a collector of fine art, classic cars or some other unique item, you’d be financially and emotionally hurt if they were stolen or damaged by unwanted intruders in your home. An alarm is the easiest way to scare them off.
- Lower your energy bills through remote control of your thermostat: According to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA), the cost to heat your home in winter and to cool your home in summer has risen in recent years, increasing the need to program your thermostat to your advantage.
- Reduce your home insurance premium by telling your policy carrier you have a security system: Anything that helps protect your home from theft, damage and other risks can potentially reduce your homeowners premium.
What should you look for in a home security system?
Home security systems took a leap forward in the 1990s, becoming much more prevalent in homes across the United States. As cutting edge as those systems were at the time, they were also hard-wired, which made them difficult to install or move. By contrast, the latest home security systems are wireless, making it easy to customize, install, use and upgrade them as needed.
The most comprehensive systems come with features that fall into three crucial categories:
- Property Surveillance: The ability to have eyes on your property any time of day or night in any of the following ways:
- Motion sensing that trips lights and security cameras over a wide coverage area
- Intrusion detection through alarms installed on doors and windows
- Video cameras inside and outside your home
- Safety Measures: The protection from physical as well as digital threats:
- A panic button to call for immediate help when you’re threatened in your home
- 24/7 monitoring for continuous quick response to threats
- Carbon monoxide and smoke monitoring to detect these dangers
- Advanced encryption that safeguards your system from hacking
- Convenience Factors: The benefit of smart technology to make your everyday life easier while simultaneously making your home safer:
- Device integration that lets you connect to and control smart thermostats, lighting, locks, home platforms and other smart devices directly from your security system
- Automatic alerts so you’re always up-to-date on the status of your home’s security
- Remote control of your system and other integrated devices from an app on your phone
- Security fob to quickly arm or disarm your system without having to enter a code
As with any large purchase, be sure you’ve read the fine print and armed yourself with knowledge on how your security system works. Questions to ask ahead of time:
- Is the security system month-to-month, or is it for a set, contracted amount of time? (And are there cancellation penalties if I back out of the contract early?)
- Are there additional fees with the service? (Monthly monitoring fee, installation costs, add ons, etc – in short, be sure you know exactly what you are paying for.)
- How is the customer service? (Curious how long it will take to get someone on the phone? Call the company yourself prior to signing, and see how they handle your call.)
Now that you have all the details, you’re ready to make an informed decision about whether or not a home security system makes good financial sense for you.