We want the reassurance of knowing that our homes are secure when we’re away and that we’re safe while we are at home. We also want to make sure that we have quick access to help if it should be needed.
At one time or another, most people think about home security but they don’t take action. They wait until a burglary forces them to react. By requesting this brochure, you are taking the initiative and preparing to protect your home and family with a home security system. Our goal is to help you buy the right system, and these 12 questions can assist you in making that decision.
The 12 essential questions to ask before buying a security system on the Internet!
- Will the company perform a thorough initial security survey? Do not be dazzled by the electronic equipment’s “bells and whistles.” While the hardware is important, a company’s commitment to home security is fundamental to getting the right protection. The place to begin is with the home security survey. While you expect the salesperson to lay out a proper system, you should also expect him or her to conduct a total security survey of your home, neighborhood conditions, exterior lighting, shrubbery, possible intrusion locations, quality of door and window locks, fire protection and an evaluation of personal lifestyle needs. Any company can sell you a system, but only a qualified, committed firm can provide you with total home protection.
- Does the company make it too easy to buy a system? It may seem easy or convenient to buy over the telephone or through the mail, but this only saved the company money. The cost to you may be an improperly designed system. Beware of anyone who tries to sell you a system without seeing where you live. How can you expect to be properly protected when no one has surveyed your home?
- Are you getting an over-the-counter product or a proper home security system? You can buy a home security system off-the-shelf at various home improvement and retail electronics stores. Without question, the price will be attractive. Even if the store will have it installed for you, are you really getting a proper system or is the store interested in simply selling you something with little concern for how it will perform in your home? The answers should be obvious. No two homes are alike and lifestyles differ. A home security system should be designed by an expert, not a sales clerk.
- Will you be charged for so-called ‘extras’? This is a very good test. Will you be charged for having a telephone connection in order to hook up the monitoring? Many companies tack on a substantial fee (up to $75) for this connection which should be part of the package. Will you be charged extra for fire and medical emergency monitoring? If these are not included you may want to look elsewhere.
- Does the company sell price or protection? While price is always a major issue when making a purchase, a security company with an overall commitment to home protection will take seriously the responsibility of designing the right system for your home. If it isn’t appropriate to install a full system at one time, the company should offer a phased-in approach. On the other hand, if the goal is simply to “get the job”, you may be buying a system that is inadequate to protect your home.
- Is the company dedicated to home security? This may seem like a strange question but there are companies in totally unrelated fields that are now venturing into home security in order to support their other operations. This can include oil dealers, utility and telephone companies and even retail stores. The security of your home should not be a sideline business. You want a security company that has in-depth security experience to protect your home.
- Is the company’s monitoring center UL-certified? Chances are you will never see the company’s monitoring center, although you may be shown brochure photographs. There are sophisticated monitoring operations with backup systems to make sure the center provides uninterrupted service even in an emergency. Unfortunately, many centers are not up to these standards. It is prudent to make sure the security company’s monitoring center has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories.
- Who will be coming into your home to install and service your system? Remember, installation and service personnel are guests in your home with access to the entire premises. You want to make certain the service people are reliable. Ask for references in your immediate area and then check them out. Contact your local police department and Better Business Bureau.
- Will the company give you the service you expect? While it is easy to talk about service, it is often more difficult to deliver it. Look carefully at the size of the security company. Many firms (even those with big Yellow Page ads) are often one person operations. Will the company be around when you need them? There are also the big national companies where you will be known only by your account number. In between are companies that have a community commitment and a local presence.
- Will you receive thorough instruction on operating the system? While most home security systems are easy to use, you deserve to be completely educated in order to take full advantage of the system. Ask for full instructional information. If you are not satisfied with the explanation, you may want to consider talking to other security firms. Understanding how to use the system properly is key to proper home security.
- Will the company sell your monitoring to someone else? It can and does happen every day. You think the company that installed your system is handling the monitoring and you discover that your account has been sold to an unknown “monitoring center.” You have no way to investigate the quality and dependability of the service. You want to make sure your security company has a continuing interest in the protection of your home and family.
- Does the company offer total home protection? As you learn more about the home security industry, you will discover that there are differences in companies. Some are small while others are large; some are totally sales-driven while others are customer-committed. There is another important distinction. There are a few security companies that respond to your individual lifestyle. Look for one with this total home approach. The monthly monitoring you pay should give you total home protection. While the answers to these 12 questions cannot cover every aspect of buying a home security system, they can serve as a guide to help you make an informed decision.