Shopping for a Home Security System
Keeping your family safe is always a priority, so you may be wondering if you should buy a home security system. These systems offer peace of mind for your family’s protection and can even save you money on your homeowners policy. Here are common security features and why they might be a good choice for your family and home.
Selecting a security system
Basic do-it-yourself security systems are becoming more popular due to their affordability, convenience and ease of installation.1 These systems may offer simple features such as:
- Motion-activated lights or alarms
- A Wi-Fi-connected camera on the front porch
- Door and window sensors
- A yard or window sign, which 83% of burglars look for before a break-in1
These basic preventive measures can be extremely cost-effective, often starting at as little as $199 for the equipment.2 Basic defenses can help bolster your home’s security, but if you want extra peace of mind, a centrally monitored security system is the way to go.
For an additional cost, some DIY systems can be connected to a monitoring service.
A centrally monitored security system – often equipped with cameras, motion sensors, door and window sensors, glass-break sensors and fire alarms – is connected to a monitoring firm. When the alarm is tripped, the monitoring company will contact you and dispatch police or firefighters to your home, if needed.1
Having an extra set of eyes on your home has several advantages:
- It can help reduce how much fire damage or theft you experience because responders will handle the situation, even if you’re not home.1
- Some monitoring companies offer other perks, such as carbon monoxide monitoring and smartphone apps that allow you to access your system from anywhere.1
- Various systems can be integrated with smart home devices to respond to voice commands.
A central monitoring system will cost more than a simple DIY security system. However, that cost may be somewhat offset by insurance savings for this kind of system.3
If you opt for a centrally monitored system, choose your company wisely. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests you:4
- Choose a reputable business and check if it’s on BBB.
- Contact at least three companies before picking one.
- Ask about all charges, including system installation and monthly service fees.
- Talk to your insurance agent so you know whether the system you’re considering qualifies for an insurance discount, such as Amica’s safety discounts.
- Read the contract carefully to understand the duration of the agreement and how the system will be monitored.
Wired and wireless options
Most home security systems on the market use both hardwired and wireless technology to function. What does that mean? Many home systems:
- Need to be connected to the home in a wired capacity – for example, a keypad that must be plugged into an outlet5
- Also use wireless solutions, such as the internet and/or cellular backup, which offer protection in the event of a power outage, to enable communication
It’s recommended to avoid systems that use an analog phone line to enable communication, as they’ll be obsolete soon. When choosing a system with wireless capability, look for one that uses the home internet for communication and your cellular network as a backup.1
Security bells and whistles
Look for a system that offers more than just sensors. You might also consider:
- A security camera that you can monitor through an app on your phone when you’re not home2
- An intercom connected to your system so that if someone is at your door, you can talk to the person via a mobile app6
- A smoke or fire detection system that, when activated, shuts off your HVAC to mitigate further damage while notifying local authorities
Do your research and chat with home security companies to determine how to buy a home security system that meets your needs.
Any step you take to make your home more secure is a good choice. When considering home security systems, pick one that fits your lifestyle and budget. Amica offers discounts on homeowners insurance policies for properties with burglar alarms.7 Talk to your insurance company to learn which systems may qualify for homeowners insurance discounts.
1 Why Get a Home Security System, U.S. News and World Report, 2022.
2 How Much Does A Security System Cost?, Forbes, 2022.
3 Terms and conditions apply, must qualify for each discount. Not all discounts are available in all states.
4 BBB Tip: 4 tips on buying a home security system – and 4 red flags to avoid, Better Business Bureau, 2021.
5 Your security system might not work in a power outage. Here’s how to plan ahead, cnet.com, 2021.
6 15 Best Wireless Home Intercom Systems in 2022 Review, BetterHomeGuides.com, 2022.
7 Discounts may vary.