As if buying a house wasn’t expensive enough, once you move into your dream home, you have to spend even more money on furnishing, maintenance and home security costs. Wait. Home security?
Well, yes. With nearly 8 million property crimes committed every year in the United States, dipping into your savings to boost your home security is a good way to protect your investment.
Good news: You don’t have to build stone walls and a moat to keep your home safe from the creeps in the neighborhood. Most burglars will check for a home security system, and as much as 60% say it would send them running just seeing that one is installed at your home.
Home security costs
These days buying a home security system can set you back anywhere from $320 to more than $1,000, according to the folks at Home Advisor. Your personal home security costs are going to depend on the equipment you choose for installation and whether you do the job yourself or hire professional installers.
Home security shopping may not sound as fun as picking out furniture. There’s no flopping on comfy couches or fake napping on mattresses. But if you can harness your inner James Bond for a few hours, you might live through it!
A basic home alarm system includes a control panel, window and door sensors, motion detectors, and, of course, a siren to warn off intruders. But you don’t have to stop there. Some questions to consider:
- Do you have windows that are low to the ground that could benefit from shattered glass sensors?
- Do you want smoke detectors that can be monitored from outside the house?
- Do you want to add security cameras?
- Do you want smart home additions such as a garage door opener you can check remotely from your cell phone?
These add-ons will increase your costs, but they could go a long way in protecting your home in the long run.
Installation fees for the average home system range from as little as $85 to as much as $1800, according to the estimators at Home Advisor. There are two different types of home security installation and which one you choose will affect the overall installation costs.
- Hardwired: Adding a system that’s hard-wired into your home is going to amp up your costs, with hardwired systems typically averaging between $800 and $1600 for installation. Don’t let the terminology fool you, either. Hardwiring does mean the installers drill holes in your walls and run wires, but the systems are high tech and can be linked to cell phone communications rather than old-fashioned landlines.
- Wireless: If you’re looking to cut some of your home security costs, a wireless home security system could reduce your installation fees. Easy to DIY, wireless systems don’t require running wires and there’s not a lot of drilling through the walls—a bonus if you’re renting. They can also be linked directly to your cellphone for easy monitoring.
We’ve compared wired vs. wireless security systems in this guide.
If you’ve DIY’d your security system and plan to monitor it all on your own, you could save a bundle. After all, the responsibility of responding to any alarms that sound will be on your shoulders, whether it’s a smoke detector going off or there’s a signal that someone’s opened your backdoor when you’re not home.
If that sounds like a major burden, you might want to call that professional home security company. You can still DIY — they’ll have suggestions on what you’ll need to install so they can set up monitoring from their offices — or you can hire them to install it all plus take on monitoring for all those signals and sirens. With the pros you’ll have to pay a monthly fee, but you’ll also get:
- Round-the-clock off-site monitoring
- Staff that will call the police or fire department for you
- A back-up to call if you forget your alarm code or run into trouble on your own
Professional home security system contracts
If you’re thinking about calling in the pros, you’ve got plenty of price, equipment and monitoring options to choose from:
|Home Security Company||Equipment||Installation/Activation||Monitoring|
|Vivint.SmartHome||Starts at $599||$0||$29.99 to $49.99/mo.|
|ADT||Starts at $99||$25||$27.99 to $59.99/mo.|
|Simpli Safe||Starts at $199||$0||$14.99 to $24.99/mo.|
|Frontpoint||Starts at $130||$0||$34.99 to $49.99/mo.|
Month-to-month contracts with the pros are definitely more flexible, but will tend to be pricier than signing on for a long term contract. If you take on a long term contract, you’ll be paying less overall, but will be required to pay cancellation fees if you decide to break the contract early. This could include moving to a new area that your current security company does not service. Consider your situation and whether or not moving any time soon is in the cards. If you don’t plan on moving in the next 1-2 years, a long term contract is going to save you more money.
Home security savings
The numbers can be daunting when you’re adding up all of those home security costs, but savvy spenders can cut those costs:
- Ask for a discount: Many home security companies will offer free installation if you sign a contract for a certain length of time, but it never hurts to ask if they have any extra deals going on! Remember, they want to get your business, so don’t be afraid to push for ways to save.
- DIY it: The more installation you do on your own, the less you spend out of pocket.
- Call your insurance agent: Many homeowners’ insurance companies offer premium discounts for adding a home security system. Ask your agent if you qualify, and it may offset that monthly monitoring fee!
Home security costs: The bottom line
Despite the best efforts of police, when it comes to burglaries in the United States, plenty go unsolved every day, forcing homeowners to file insurance claims to recoup their losses. But even insurance payments can’t make up for the loss of priceless family heirlooms or the discomfort that comes with knowing your home was violated.
Take a look at the list above and see where you can pinpoint ways to save. Whether you can DIY or take on a long term contract — the spots where you can cut costs will depend entirely on your own situation. While home security costs can add up, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is safe can be invaluable.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.