You can never be too safe. Home invasions and break-ins can happen no matter where you live, from the most crowded urban street to the loneliest stretch of remote farmland.

Home security systems can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind, as well as helping to protect both the people you love and your property. Of course, if your goal is to avoid getting robbed by burglars, the last thing you want is to instead get fleeced by an over-charging home security company.

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Here are some tips to take note of before you install a security system.

  • Home security systems range in price, so no matter your budget, you shouldn’t have to go into debt in order to safeguard your home.
  • Decide between a monitored or unmonitored system. Unmonitored systems rely on sensors that set off a loud alarm when tripped. These are the most affordable systems available but only provide limited protection. Monitored systems are connected to a home-security company which provides 24/7 uninterrupted monitoring 365 days per year and are poised to contact the police within minutes if a break-in is confirmed.
  • Decide between a cellular or wired security system. Wired security systems require a light amount of drilling and construction work for installation. Cellular systems are battery-powered and require no drilling. Ask if a second battery pack is included in the system price.
  • You can also opt for a cost-effective do-it-yourself home security system. These can be purchased pre-programmed for easy installation, but may not offer as many features or as much security as some other systems. If you do opt to go the do-it-yourself route, ask about free shipping prior to purchase.
  • When working with a home security company, get a contract or written statement which simply states the upfront payment costs you will be required to make as well as your monthly fee.
  • Ask if there is a rate lock feature, ensuring that your costs will not go up.
  • Request free installation if it is not offered upfront as well as a three- or six-month trial of service option.
  • Is a theft protection guarantee offered? Many good companies offer a guarantee of $500 or more to new and returning clients.
  • Ask if there is a charge for false alarms.
  • Ask if they offer a consultation service to help you determine what type of system will best serve your needs as well as ongoing customer service.
  • Find out if there is an extra cost to monitor for carbon monoxide, fire, smoke, flooding and medical emergencies or if these are included in the price.
  • Ask if smartphone and tablet apps are included for remote surveillance.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many home security companies will be willing to work with you on reducing or eliminating upfront installation and equipment costs.
  • No matter what type of system you decide upon, put out a sign announcing your system. This alone can be a deterrent to a break-in.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to let your insurance company know you’ve installed a monitored alarm system, which may result in a reduction of around 20 percent in your homeowner’s insurance premium.
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Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at

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