April 12

What You Need to Know About Modern Home Protection Systems


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What You Need to Know About Modern Home Protection Systems

The Federal Bureau of Investigations reported that almost 1.6 million home burglaries occurred in the United States in 2015, with a total of $3.6 billion in property losses. That translates to an average loss of $2,316 per incident. While that might not sound like an exorbitant amount of money to some individuals, for others it can start a destructive domino effect on their home finances.

Even if you’re covered by homeowner or renter insurance, a break-in can disrupt your life in other ways. You might be forced to take time away from your job to file a police report and submit insurance claims as well as deal with clean-up long after the thieves have left. These consequences are reasons enough to invest in a home protection system. However, it can be difficult to decide which one to install. Understanding the types of security systems available along with some smart shopping can help you choose the best one for your home.

Home Protection Systems, Then and Now

Home protection products have a come a long way from their earlier versions. Just a few decades ago, homeowners usually chose a system of alarms and sensors relaying information to a central monitoring station. Depending on where one lived, systems were sold and serviced by a few national vendors as well as smaller, regional companies. It was very rare for apartment dwellers to choose home security, so homeowners made up the vast majority of residential protection services customers.

Since those days, innovations in communications, data relay and video have paved the way for savvier systems easily tailored to your needs and budget. While the classic model still exists, many providers now offer do-it-yourself options scalable to the size of your residence. Additionally, visual monitoring is now a feature with many home protection products on the market today. Your choices may depend largely on the size and layout of your residence, your unique needs and your budget.

Classic Full-Service Security and DIY Options

The standard model of security system still exists today, albeit with better technology. In the past, such assemblies could include alarm control panels, door and window sensors, panic buttons, fire alarms and professional monitoring. Today’s products come with the same features, but in more advanced iterations along with the addition of video cameras and other sophisticated devices. A guide to security systems published by CNET in 2015 described some of the options you can select, noting that they also now employ mobile and web apps that permit users remote access to set up and manage their systems.

These home protection products can be accurately called “full-service,” as they also typically feature installation by technicians as well as a contract for ongoing monitoring services. These offer the convenience of a solution that's almost entirely hands-off, with setup handled by professionals and a contact center to dispatch local emergency services in case of threats. However, one major drawback is the early cancellation fee charged by some providers if you choose to end services before their contract periods end.

In contrast, DIY home protection products are installed and configured by the user. Frequently, these consist of small, wireless cameras that transmit footage over a home broadband internet network, along with other types of sensors. These options come with smarter motion sensing technology, precision-tooled to tell the difference between Fluffy jumping up onto a counter looking for cat treats and a burglar rummaging through your drawers. Typically, these systems also come with mobile phone or tablet apps to monitor alarms, watch recorded footage and make use of services such as two-way audio transmission.

DIY security products offer flexibility, as many of these do not require a contract. In most cases, you’ll just have to pay upfront for equipment and activation. These are great options, especially for apartment dwellers needing robust, short-term residential protection services. Additionally, many also come with lower monthly fees than their traditional full-service cousins.

Do Your Homework

Researching your options is a crucial part of choosing the right home protection service. It’s important to understand what each provider offers, as well as read security system reviews to comprehend the pros and cons of each product. Knowing how each system works to protect your residence, as well as evaluating their costs, will help you determine which one is best for you.


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