Written by: Aaron Hall | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: July 29th, 2020
Purchasing a contract for a home security system can feel like a big step. Maybe you're currently on the fence, wondering if it's really worth the cost of installation and a recurring monitoring fee. It's obvious that a home security system helps protect your valuables, but there are many benefits of a home security system that might surprise you. In the following, we'll break down the important aspects of purchasing a home security system. But first, here's why it's important.
Did you know that a burglary happens in the US approximately every thirteen seconds? That's no joke, and it's one of the main reasons why the home security industry is growing so rapidly right now. For the most part, bolting your doors and locking your windows will help you keep your home pretty safe, but sometimes it isn't enough. No one is without risk when it comes to a break-in. Here are some things you may not know:
- Approximately 2 million burglaries are reported in the United States every year
- 66% of burglaries are residential break-ins
- Homes without security systems are 3x as likely to be burglarized
- 33% of residential assaults are the product of burglaries
- Despite all this, only 17% of US homes have a security system
You might find the numbers surprising. Thinking a little harder about joining that seventeen percent? Well, here's what a home security system can do for you if you choose to opt-in.
Burglars Will Pass You By
According to the Electronic Security Association, nine out of ten burglars will pass up a home if they know the home is armed with a security system. A study by Rutgers in 2009 also showed that home security systems help protect other homes in your neighborhood. That's right! If multiple homes in a neighborhood have home security systems, that neighborhood as a whole is less likely to be targeted by thieves and burglars.
Some ways that burglars can tell if you have a home security system include video surveillance cameras and security company signs outside your home. Many home security companies will give you a small sign you can place in your yard to indicate that your home is monitored twenty-four seven. Cameras placed by doors and windows will also be a deterrent for nosey crooks taking a closer look at your property.
Burglars want an easy target. The quicker they can get in and grab a couple thousand dollars worth of merchandise, the more likely they are to strike your property. They'll rarely attack at home that's fortified with multiple security measures. In the rare case that an intruder is brave enough to force entry into your home, alarms will sound on your security system to deter them. Within seconds, police will be notified of the break-in. This is when the would-be robbers will peel out.
Reduced Homeowners Insurance Cost
On average, a home security system can help you save approximately 20 percent on your homeowner's insurance because it makes you less likely to file a claim with your insurance company. Homeowner's insurance typically costs about $35/month for every $100,000 that your home is worth, so if your home is worth $300,000 you might be saving over $250/year. In some cases, that covers the cost of the home security system itself. What this means is that your home security system isn't costing you any more money than you're used to and your home is fortified against burglaries, fires, water damage, carbon monoxide poisoning, and so on.
The cost of your homeowner's insurance will vary depending on your coverage, payment options, location and so on, so the above mentioned is a generalization. It's safe to infer, however, that your homeowner's insurance will decrease when you install a home security system. The best course of action is to find a home security system that you're interested in and contact your insurance agent to see what it will do to decrease your premiums.
Helps You Regulate Your Home
Some home security systems come equipped with features such as smart thermostats that will help you maintain steady energy use. This is done by regulating things like your home's temperature without the need of getting up to change the thermostat. When you have your home's temperature regulated, you can save up to 33% on your heating and cooling costs! This is great to know if you are trying to decrease their carbon footprint.
Smart thermostats will also allow you to adjust your home's temperature remotely. Most systems will have an app you can download to your smartphone so you can control the temperature even when you're not home. This is helpful in situations such as spontaneous parties or dinners where you'll want to make the house comfortable for guests, or maybe when you forget to turn off the air conditioning before you leave on vacation. Both are just small benefits of having an automatic, remotely controlled system.
Aside from temperature controls, a home security system is also great for video surveillance. Most home security companies will offer wireless video surveillance that you can access from your phone. For example, Protect America currently offers an HD wireless video camera that produces images at 720p and 30 frames per second, all accessible remotely from your smartphone. The system also includes night vision and audio. Not only is this good for monitoring your home for things like burglaries, but also for simple things like seeing if the kids are home.
Lastly, home security systems are beginning to become compatible with devices such as the Google Home and Amazon Echo. With these devices, you can lock your doors, turn on lights, or arm your system with as little as a vocal command.
Small Scale Deterrents
There are some things you can do now to help you fortify your home against burglars, and they might be easier than you think.
- Install large window and door locks in plain sight.
- Install deadbolts on all your exterior doors.
- Call your local police officer and ask them to do a home security check for you. They can point out the weak spots in your home's defenses so you can improve them. More often than not, this service is free.
- Get motion-activated lights that turn on and off based on infrared signals. These can usually be installed anywhere outside your home and can be purchased at any major hardware store.
- Install thick doors. Approximately 70% of burglars enter your home through a door, so installing a door that's harder to break through will increase the security of your home. Don't forget the deadbolt lock to match.
It should be noted that some of these measures will cost as much if not more than a home security system. For example, a steel entry door can cost over $300, which could cover the cost of installation and several months of monitoring. Both options are good measures to deter burglars, but home security systems definitely offer more variety and options.
The Next Step
There it is. You've got the basics. There are a plethora of things you can do to protect your home without subscribing to a monthly fee, but with home security systems as readily available and affordable as they are, it's likely not out of your budget. If you're serious about obtaining a home security system, there are dozens of home security companies that are ready to help.
Websites like BestCompany.com have done the research in determining who are the best home security system providers on the grounds of price, equipment, and customer satisfaction. A list of the best providers in your state can be found here. Most companies offer plans for as low as $30/month, but some companies such as top-rated Protect America offer basic plans for as little as $20/month.