The hidden costs of a home alarm system

Alarm

A home alarm system can have a multitude of hidden costs. Image: Flickr / homejobsbymom.com/ CC-BY

Having an alarm system can feel like an important step for your security. One thing you should take into account, however, are the additional hidden costs of a home security system.

Subscribing to a service

Many home security systems come with some kind of monitoring service. This monitoring service generally costs between $5 and $50 per month, depending on the type of service you choose. This means over the course of a year, home monitoring could cost you as much as $600, plus the installation costs for the system. Some of these monitoring services also come with a yearly contract that will require you to pay the full amount for a year at the time of installation. You should consider carefully those additional costs before you sign on the dotted line.

False alarm fees

Somewhere between 95 and 99 percent of all calls from home alarm systems are false alarms. These false alarms are everything from homeowners entering the alarm key incorrectly to someone who was invited into the home but may not necessarily know the alarm code. Many cities, counties and municipalities charge $20 to $150 for a false alarm call. These fees are intended to help cover the costs incurred when first responders come out for these calls, even though they are not “real” alarm calls. False alarm fees may be charged directly to you or may be charged through your alarm company. No matter how it is charged, you should look into what your city may charge for false alarm calls and figure that cost into your budget, because it is much, much more likely that you will be paying for a false alarm than a “real” alarm call.

The municipal cost of alarms

Even if your city does not directly charge citizens for false alarm calls, you will end up paying additional for these false alarms. Having a police officer come by your house costs the city between $50 and $300. Some police departments consider these calls to be an opportunity to reach out to citizens and make connections. Other police departments and emergency responders, however, consider these false alarms to be a drain on resources and unequally allocate resources to areas that do not necessarily need the additional policing and emergency services. These expenses do not show up as a bill in your mailbox, but these expenses will add up to increase the cost of living in your area.

Sources

City of Bradenton
Seattle.gov
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