In 2016, there were over 1.5 million burglaries in the U.S., according to the FBI, resulting in an estimated $3.6 billion in property loss. That’s an average of $2,361 per burglary. With burglary numbers so high, the notion that “it could never happen to me” simply isn’t reasonable anymore for many homeowners. But traditionally, the costs involved with the installation, upkeep, and monitoring of a home security system aren’t reasonable either. So what do you do? How can you keep your family and property safe even when you don’t have thousands to spend on home security?
Good news: advancements in modern technology have made it easy to monitor and protect your home for a fraction of the cost. Follow these tips and you’ll soon be sleeping easy in a safe, secured home.
Customize your security equipment
Take a walk around your home. How many entrances are there? How many first floor windows? Where might someone be likely to break in? What do you want or need to protect? Just your front and back doors? The window to a child’s room? Certain valuables? Really get to know your space. Think like a burglar if you have to. In doing so, you’ll avoid spending money on equipment that you don’t need.
A lot of home security systems these days offer different packages depending on the size and parameters of your home. This way, you can choose how many door and window monitors, cameras, and motion detectors you need. Take, for example, Simplisafe, which gives you the selection of five different packages and a “Create your own” option. Or home security mainstay ADT, which offers three packages and the option to purchase additional equipment.
You’ll also need to decide if you want monitoring included. Your security system can alert the emergency personnel automatically upon break-in, but this is going to cost you anywhere between $15 and $100 per month. Some companies, like ADT, require monitoring with all their systems, but others, like Simplisafe, give you the option.
Similarly, you can…
Do It Yourself
In the past, home security systems have required installation, wiring, and repair by a professional, accruing all kinds of extra fees. Now, with affordable security cameras and smartphone apps, DIY-ing your security is easier than ever.
Cameras like this one from Nest offer a video feed along with motion and sound alerts, all sent straight to a smartphone app, so you can monitor your home while you’re out. You’ll save money on equipment, installation, and monitoring.
Of course, the downside here is that the system doesn’t automatically alert the police in the case of a break-in, but will alert you to the activity in your home.
But with the market trending in the DIY direction, more and more home security companies are offering a DIY option, where you choose your equipment, level of monitoring, etc. and install the system yourself. Abode is a recently popular hybrid option that provides professional-grade equipment that you can easily install and monitor (or choose one of their monitoring options). Here’s a great ranking of other popular DIY systems.
Again, you’ll need to know your home and how much equipment you need, because DIY cameras, sensors, and monitors can add up quickly if you need a lot of them. In cases like these, packages from existing security companies can sometimes cost less. It’s important that you…
It’s easy to make rash decisions when you’re scared or worried. Don’t. This is good advice when purchasing any big ticket item, but especially so for home security systems, which vary greatly depending on brand, equipment, monitoring, and other features.
To start your research, check out this chart from Consumer Reports that shows the average five-year costs for several top systems.
Make sure you’re getting exactly which equipment and features you need. Many systems come with the option to sync smart home features like temperature and lighting control. If you don’t need or want these features, make sure you’re not paying for them.
But do the math on smart home benefits.
Sometimes, those smart home features like temperature and lighting control that seem frivolous or unnecessary can actually save you money in the long run.
Are you good about turning lights off when you leave the room? How about adjusting the thermostat depending on the time of day and who’s in the house? If not, you’re unnecessarily running up your electric and gas bills.
A study by Nest reported that a smart thermostat feature can save 10-12% on heating and 15% on air conditioning if used correctly. If you’re okay with paying a little more now for these features, you’ll see the savings add up in the future.
Check with your insurance company.
Once you’ve made your decision and installed your home security system, call your homeowner’s insurance provider. Many insurance companies offer discounts on homeowner’s insurance if you have a security system installed, savings of up to 20%! This discount alone is enough to justify the purchase. If you have a security system installed, notify your insurance company right away so you can start reaping those rewards.
In the end, you can’t put a price on your home and family’s safety, but in today’s market, there are ways to get top notch home security without spending a fortune. There are options out there for every budget. If you commit to protecting your home, commit to protecting your finances as well.