Scan your local Yellow Pages and you’ll find dozens of home alarm companies advertising their security services. Where to begin? A recommendation from a trusted friend or family member is always a good start, but even in the case of a glowing review, you need to ask basic questions of any potential company.
1. Is the company a member of a recognized security association?
A reputable and trustworthy home alarm company will be affiliated with a local or national industry association, such as the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. For safety’s sake, call the organization to verify the company’s membership.
2. How long has the alarm company been in operation?
In the home alarm industry, time = experience. If you’re installing a very simple system, a new company might be acceptable, but complicated systems should be left to a company with years of experience in complex security systems.
3. Is the company fully licensed?
It is essential that any home alarm company be fully licensed for business by state and local governments. Don’t believe everything you’re told – call to double-check.
4. What security measures does the company take to ensure client safety?
Asking an open-ended question like this can tell you a lot about a home security company. They should rattle off a decent list of security measures, including:
- Background checks and security clearances for all employees
- Certified electricians to wire your system
- Fully bonded
- Liability and/or Errors and Omissions Insurance
- Written guarantee on your home alarm system
5. What is the company’s average response time to alarms?
A good company will respond to all alarm reports within 60 seconds.
6. Does the company’s home security equipment have a warranty?
All things electrical have a finite lifespan, and when they involve your family’s safety it’s important to have a warranty. Ask a potential home alarm company whether just the equipment has a warranty, and whether installation/repair is also covered. Additionally, a solid company will always schedule a repair visit within 24 hours of your complaint.
7. Can the alarm company provide proof of your alarm system to your homeowner’s insurance?
Your home security company should be able to supply official proof of your system, so that you can get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.
8. How often does the home alarm company test their systems?
Your house alarm should receive regular tests to ensure that it is working properly. At minimum, these tests should be conducted once per month.
9. Does the company offer systems with advanced safety features?
Thieves are unfortunately savvy to many basic security features, so an advanced system is the best way to keep your family safe. Ask a contender security company what kind of advanced features their systems have. Some features to seek out include:
- Cellular Monitoring: A wireless system that is connected via cell signal does not rely on your telephone line or broadband Internet connection, so it cannot be disabled by even a tech-savvy burglar.
- Remote Access: Access to and the option to arm/disarm your system from any Internet device.
- There’s an App for That: Access to your system via a smart phone or other portable device.
- Email/Text/Phone Notifications: Your system can send an automatic email, text or even phone call if an alarm is triggered (doors open, a window is broken, power goes out, etc.) when you’re not home.
- Video Services: While you’re out, you should be able to view your security feed from a smart phone or any web-enabled device.