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Is a Home Security System Worth It?

Posted By melissa On 09/05/2012 @ 2:10 pm In Devil's Advocate | 11 Comments

A security system is a waste of money, many people say. And they may be right, it is a waste of money, until a burglar tries to break into your home and steal your valuables. In that case, a security system can save you tens of thousands of dollars as well emotional turmoil and fear.

Sure, there are ways that you can protect your home [3] that don’t involve paying a company monthly, and you should implement those strategies, but I would also urge you to consider buying a home security system. Jeanne M. Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institue suggests ways to protect your home.  “Key measures include making sure outside areas are well-lit, doors and windows are protected with locks or grates, and alarm systems are in place to scare off home invaders or trigger a response by a security firm” (USA Today [4]).

How a Home Security System Works

A home security system has sensors on your windows and doors; some also have cameras. If someone tries to enter your home, there is a 30 second delay before the alarm sounds. If you are the homeowner, this is the time to enter your security code to turn off the alarm. If you are a burglar, this is your warning to leave. After 30 seconds, the alarm will blare and the security system will call you to see if you are alright. If you are not, police will be sent.

How Much Does a Home Security System Cost?

A home security system usually costs $500 to $1,000 to install, and then there are annual monitoring costs. Of course, this price will vary based on the company you choose, where you live and how many windows and doors your house has, so shop around.

My mom had a security system installed after her home was burglarized twice in less than two years; she pays less than $200 per year for monitoring, or $16 a month. She found it was cheaper to go with a reputable local home security company rather than one of the national chains you see advertised on television.

Why Pay for a Home Security System?

While a home security system is not cheap, there are many benefits to having one.

Peace of Mind—There is no describing the sense of violation you feel after someone has been in your home, ransacked your belongings, and stolen all of your valuables. Feeling safe in your home after a burglary is difficult once you know how easily someone can come in. A security system can make you feel safe again.

Saves You Money—This sounds contrary, but spending money for a security system can save you money on your homeowner’s insurance policy. It can also help you keep your homeowner’s policy. My mom’s insurance had a rule that she couldn’t have more than three claims in five years. She had already had a prior claim, and then she claimed each of the burglaries. Her insurance was ready to drop her unless she got a security system. Since then, there was one more attempted break in when she was not home (a large foot sized dent in the basement door was the evidence), but the alarm went off and scared the burglar away.

Saves Your Family Heirlooms—Often, it is not the monetary loss that it so difficult, but the loss of objects that represent important times in your life or are family heirlooms. My mom has the pearls that I wore on my wedding day that were a gift from my in-laws stored at her home. Luckily, she stored them in an odd location, and the burglars didn’t find them either time. I hope to give those pearls to my daughter one day, and losing them would have been emotionally difficult.

My mom had her wedding ring and all of her other jewelry stolen. Yes, you can replace the objects, but you know they are not the originals and the emotion attached to them is no longer there. Instead, the replacement items can remind you of the burglary every day.

Yes, security systems do require you to dig into your wallet, and hopefully you will never even need a home security system. However, I prefer not to take that chance. I plan to install a security system when we move into our home.

You buy car insurance with the hope of never using it, but you usually do. Perhaps a home security system should be the same.

Do you have a home security system? Would you consider buying one?


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[3] protect your home: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/frugal-home-security-tips.html

[4] USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2007-06-21-3826415043_x.htm

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