It's easy to review the recommendations for security companies on Angie's List. And, with the many choices in Indianapolis, it's key that you find one that fits your needs and protects your family.
So, how do you choose the right security company for your home? Here are 10 questions to ask your home alarm company to guide you through the process.
1. What qualifications and ratings do you have?
Monitoring companies differ in the quality of service they provide. You'll want one that is a Five Diamond Rated monitoring company. These companies are rated within the industry for working to minimize false alarms, having highly trained emergency response, and the highest level of customer service.
Whether they're listed on their site or relayed to you in person, membership in the Electronic Security Association and the National Fire Protection Agency is a sure sign your alarm company's safety priorities align with yours.
2. How can I be sure that the service technicians you send to my house are not convicted felons?
When you hire a security system company, they could potentially will have your name, date of birth, social security number, address, and payment information on record. This makes you susceptible to fraud and identity theft. So, you would want to make sure that the service technician that is coming to your home to install your system does not have any issues with drug use, credit problems, or a criminal record. The security company should screen all technicians and be able to provide you with background information.
3. Is your company a member of the Better Business Bureau?
A company must maintain a high level of customer service to be a member of the Better Business Bureau. Less than 20% of security companies are part of the Better Business Bureau.
4. What type of warranty or guarantees does the system come with, and who is providing them?
When your family's safety is on the line, it's important to have a warranty on the electrical things that have a finite lifespan. The manufacturer of the equipment and the monitoring company should provide the available guarantees or warranties. You might want to ask if just the equipment has a warranty or if the installation and repair is also covered. Some security companies offer affordable monthly service plans to cover more costly time and material options, depending on how complex your system is.
5. What is the company's monitoring center's average response time?
A reliable security company will respond within 60 seconds to all alarm reports.
6. Can you provide proof of the alarm system to my homeowner's insurance?
Your homeowner's insurance company discounts your premium if there's a security system installed. Your home security company should be able to supply official proof of your system.
7. How often do you test your systems?
To ensure that your house alarm is working properly, it should receive regular tests. These tests should be conducted once per month at minimum.
8. Do I own the equipment or is this a lease agreement?
When a security company offers you a 'free system' with low cost installation, they are usually leasing you the equipment. The equipment stays with the premises if you move. If you drop the service, the company will remove the equipment. If you own the equipment, you can continue your monitoring agreement at the new location by simply moving the equipment.
At Guardhouse, we typically don't lease. We believe that you should have full ownership of the equipment. Leasing is an option only in temporary, short term monitoring situations.
9. Does the system include all of the necessary features and points of protection for my premises?
Since security systems use technology to detect and protect your premises, it's important to have new equipment with the most up to date software and firmware versions. Each residence is unique, and you have specific needs and concerns. You want to make sure that the security company you're doing business with provides you with information and options for the best security solution possible, not just a pre-packaged deal.
If someone tries to sell you a system over the phone, this is a red flag. A service technician needs to consider the backup interior protection necessary, every entry point to your home, and any additional unique factors. These can only be inspected on the premises. So, make sure your alarm system provider comes on site and maps out a custom design.
10. What other technologies should I be considering besides a basic alarm system?
photo credit: Daniel Kulinski via photopin ccSince thieves know their way around many basic security features, an advanced system is the best way to protect your family. Some features to seek out include: cellular monitoring with email/text/phone notifications, video services, remote access, and home automation. To make the best recommendations, your security company should take the time to assess your property and your lifestyle.
If you want to find out you home security needs, take this quick assessment. Looking for more security tips? Follow us on Facebook.