That is why Integrity Security is committed to providing our area with the highest quality alarm and monitoring systems. We know even the presence of a system reduces the occurrence of crime and vastly increases the chances of catching perpetrators.
We are often asked about the pros and cons of self-monitoring systems. Do they work well? Since they are more affordable than monitored systems, are they a good solution? In this post, we are breaking down the pros and cons of self-monitored systems for foothills and piedmont homeowners.
What is a Self-Monitored or Unmonitored System?
If you have a monitored alarm system, it is constantly monitored by a professional security company. When your alarm sensors report fire or trespassers on your property, the security company is notified and, in some cases, emergency personnel is notified as well. Otherwise, your security monitoring team will alert first responders to your emergency.
Self-monitored systems are a little different. Instead of being connected to a command center, they are either monitored by the homeowner or used to simply record activity. Self-monitored systems can send alerts to your smartphone or tablet, at which point you can alert authorities. They will also sound an alarm meant to scare off potential intruders. Some systems do not send real-time updates, but just record data to aid in future investigations.
Since they do not require a 24-hour monitoring team abs command center, self-monitored systems are typically considerably more affordable. The question is whether they are worth it.
The Pros of Self-Monitored Systems
Self-monitoring systems are often more affordable than their counterparts. There are many companies that require only an initial equipment fee, assuming you will be doing the installation. There are others that have plans for tens of dollars that unlock additional coverage and upgrades. Monitored systems will have ongoing monthly costs and, typically, installation and maintenance fees.
Any System Is Better Than No System
Since they are affordable, some coverage is better than nothing. Homes protected by security systems are upwards of 60% less likely to experience burglaries. Would-be burglars are looking for the easiest house to steal from. They cannot afford to be caught. Combined with wise practices such as keeping your lawn and landscaping well-maintained, making sure mail and packages do not pile up outside and leaving some lights on can help significantly reduce your chances of being burglarized.
You Have Control
Self-monitoring systems give you the control and freedom to assess your situation. For the ones that alert your smartphone, they will typically allow you to get a view of what is going on at your property through the security cameras. If you find the “intruder” is actually your neighbor’s dog or family member, you can ensure no alert is sent to emergency personnel.
No False Alarm Fines
Some municipalities and cities have false-alarm penalties. Often after the second or third response to a situation that was not an emergency, you could be penalized financially. These fees and fines can add up, especially if you have kids, family, and neighbors who frequently activate the sensors.
You Can Take the System With You
Many alarm and security systems are difficult to uninstall and take with you to another location. If you need security but fear you will leave your current housing situation soon, you may be tempted to forego it until you reach a more permanent home. However, burglars do not know or care about how temporary your living situation is – they just want your stuff. Whether you rent or own your home, if it is unprotected, it is vulnerable. Self-monitored systems help you get some level of protection that you can fairly easily uninstall and take with you when you move.
The Cons of Self-Monitored Systems
Lack of Insurance Discounts
Since homes protected by security systems are much less likely to be burglarized, homeowners insurance companies often provide discounts for installing monitored systems. However, that discount might only be available for monitored security systems. The Insurance Information Institute recommends monitored security systems for reducing the cost of homeowners insurance.
While self-monitored systems do indeed give the homeowner more control over the response to alerts, in the case of an emergency, it may slow down the process. In the incredibly unfortunate event, there is a fire or break-in on your property, every second counts. If you are not at a place where you can respond immediately yourself, you may lose more than you would have if your security system was professionally monitored.
Added Stress in an Emergency
Emergencies are inherently stressful situations. Stress can cause anxiety and panic. Monitored alarm systems provide homeowners with professional support throughout a break-in or fire. If someone is attempting to enter your home, monitored systems often project the loud voice of a real person in a control center who is encouraging them to vacate your property. That voice or a phone call will help you stay safe and encourage you that additional support is on the way. It will not be up to you to ensure first responders get the memo.
Changing Costs with Less Support
While the initial investment in a self-monitored system will likely be lower than one that is professionally monitored, those companies have more flexibility to change prices. Furthermore, your price point will likely not include installation and maintenance support. That means you are on your own to ensure the system is properly installed and working to protect your property.
Your Cellular Service
One of the main concerns with your self-monitored system is that alerts come to your phone. If you miss an alert, you may miss the opportunity to respond. If you find yourself in an area that has spotty cellular coverage, you may miss the most vital moment to respond to an emergency at your home.
You Have No Fail-Safe
Unfortunately, some intruders are not deterred by the presence of your security system. In the most extreme cases, a burglar may enter a home and force a homeowner to quiet the alarm. Professionally monitored systems typically have a built-in fail-safe code that allows you to turn off the siren while still sending a signal of distress to the team monitoring your home. That means, in this unfortunate situation, help is still on the way. You can know that someone is with you, sending first responders to you.
While the chances of home invasion are much lower with even the presence of a security system, the most nefarious characters are still willing to take their chances. The fail-safe option is one of the most important components of a professionally monitored system, providing peace of mind for your entire family.
The Right Choice for Homeowners
The best choice for homeowners is to speak to experts who have the experience and expertise to help you make an informed decision regarding your security needs. You want to talk to a team that will not push you to one decision or the other without knowing your specific needs and putting your family first. While there are some decent self-monitoring systems available, Integrity Security is here to help you see the pros and cons of both systems so you can make the decision that is right for your family and your property.
With 50 years of combined experience in residential and commercial security, Johnny and Matt founded Integrity Security to help people protect what’s most important: families, homes, businesses, and possessions. Our core values are simple:
1. God First
3. Quality Installations
5. Positive Winning Attitude
Integrity Services specializes in fire alarms, burglar alarms, and camera systems. We provide free estimates, so home and business owners can do their homework before installing new equipment or upgrading their existing systems. We want to make sure your home, property, and most importantly, your family is protected. If you are ready to consider your home security options, give Integrity Security a call. We are located in North Wilkesboro, NC, but we serve areas throughout the piedmont, foothills, and mountains of northwestern North Carolina. We are your home security system experts. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone, so we can discuss the security needs for your property and home.