Security Systems

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
truthseeker
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:19 pm

Security Systems

Post by truthseeker » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:30 pm

I wanted to touch upon the topic of security systems (CPI, ADT, etc. etc.) sold for houses/condos etc. Do we think they are really worth the money we spend on them annually? At least there is competition now, so the prices have reduced. Insurance also gives you the benefit in their pricing for home insurance, but nowadays these systems are getting fancier with each feature added to sell to our insecurities or fears, and you can add more and more with it soon exceeding your insurance itself. Keeping guns have its own risk, and you may not find them when you need it, or use them for wrong reasons... So what about these security systems? I wonder if people really find the security systems worth their salt. I have no experience to tell though I have one.

Do they help in the situations when it really mattered? Did it help mitigate the event(s) or you got faster help? Or I am just paying for nothing?

Sam I Am
Posts: 2062
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:58 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by Sam I Am » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:44 pm

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rupert
Posts: 3445
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by Rupert » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:04 pm

Personal anecdotes for whatever they're worth to you: My next-door neighbor owns the only house in my neighborhood without an alarm system (or, at least, the appearance of an alarm system - window stickers, signs, etc.), and his house is the only house in my neighborhood that has been burglarized in the 10+ years I've lived in it. And he's been burglarized twice. (My neighbor is just a curmudgeonly old guy who won't pay for central AC, let alone a new-fangled security system.) So I think the signs and window stickers deter intrusions. I think the monitoring, though, is really most valuable for fire detection. My house was struck by lightening once during an electrical storm, and the fire department was there and finished with their inspection before I could get home to check on the house. ADT's smoke/heat detectors are top of the line and they don't require annual battery checks and changes. The backup battery for the alarm system powers them when the electricity fails.

When you take my homeowner's insurance discount into account, I think I'm paying about $30/month for a little more peace of mind. That's cheaper than buying and maintaining a big dog, which would be my second choice for intrusion deterrence.

caseynshan
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:11 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by caseynshan » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:59 pm

I just switched to new competition Alarm Relay (can't say much as I just started w/ them, but they are about 1/2 to 1/3 price of ADT (and they can deal w/ ADT equipment)

HouseStark
Posts: 324
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:31 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Security Systems

Post by HouseStark » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:24 pm

I've maintained a monitored system (intrusion and fire) for the more than three years I've owned my house. It's provided by Protection One and has cost about $45/mo. including all fees and taxes. I know there is some discount on our HO insurance premium, but I couldn't say how much it is, so I'm not factoring that in. The cost is not an insignificant expense month after month, but I consider it worthwhile. Next time our contract is up I'll probably shop around to get some quotes from the competition.

You can never know what would have been without it, so I can't say what exact difference it has made. We have not had any genuine alarms. One factor in choosing to have the system is that we live in an urban neighborhood that has occasional house break-ins. Since not that many houses surrounding us have any visible evidence of a security system, I hope that the fact that our house does will provide a deterrent and make the bad guy decide some other house is a better target. Sorry, neighbor.
Last edited by HouseStark on Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sport
Posts: 7051
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Security Systems

Post by sport » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:29 pm

While some people prefer firearms, they will not help when no one is at home.

We live in a newer development with more than 100 homes all built by the same builder. All the houses have alarm systems, some are monitored and some are not. The development is about 10 years old. As far as I know, there have not been any break-ins in the developmnet. Apparently, the alarm systems are doing their job.

One feature is especially important to us. Our bedrooms are on the first floor, and we like to keep a window open at night when the weather is pleasant. Without an alarm, there would be nothing to keep someone from climbing in while we are asleep. The windows are alarmed in a way that permits the windows to be open only a few inches. If they are opened further, it sets off the alarm. The feeling of security is well worth the cost.

Jeff

truthseeker
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:19 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by truthseeker » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:03 am

Looks like everyone who has posted here has a positive thing to say about these systems. They seem to work as deterrence. Though in the past, I have heard some criticisms that they generate lot of false alarms, and 911/police at times don't give them priority. Also, if your insurance covers fire damages, than isn't double payment?

Will be great if others could add their negative experiences, if any, to keep it in balance.

Sam I Am
Posts: 2062
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:58 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by Sam I Am » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:27 am

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sport
Posts: 7051
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Security Systems

Post by sport » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:46 am

Sam I Am wrote: Even an unmonitored system would rouse the neighbors to stick their heads out of their doors to see what is going on.
This will work only if you have an outside bell or other alarm. In my experience, this is not normally installed, but certainly should be available if desired.
Jeff

stoptothink
Posts: 4301
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Security Systems

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:53 am

I don't necessarily know whether or not they are worth it, I have never had one in my residence. I do personally know pretty well the founder of one of the largest "security system" companies in the nation who has now ventured into home automation, in his late 30's he happens to be one of the wealthiest individuals in the state of Utah. To say he is a shady businessman would be the understatement of the century, their business model is unbelievably predatory. If it brings you some piece of mind it is worth it, I just know that I'd never even consider letting one of the representatives of the companies which sell them into my home.

truthseeker
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:19 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by truthseeker » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:09 pm

stoptothink wrote:I do personally know pretty well the founder of one of the largest "security system" companies in the nation who has now ventured into home automation, in his late 30's he happens to be one of the wealthiest individuals in the state of Utah. To say he is a shady businessman would be the understatement of the century, their business model is unbelievably predatory.
Can you name the company?? :wink:

Sam I Am
Posts: 2062
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:58 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by Sam I Am » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:12 pm

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stoptothink
Posts: 4301
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Security Systems

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:35 pm

truthseeker wrote:
stoptothink wrote:I do personally know pretty well the founder of one of the largest "security system" companies in the nation who has now ventured into home automation, in his late 30's he happens to be one of the wealthiest individuals in the state of Utah. To say he is a shady businessman would be the understatement of the century, their business model is unbelievably predatory.
Can you name the company?? :wink:
Not difficult to track down the name, one of the largest businesses centered in Utah and they were recently purchased by Blackstone. They have had a few names, I'm sure one of the name changes was spurred by a 20/20 expose a few years ago. The founder is a very charitable guy, does great things for the community, I just do not agree in any way with their business practices.

User avatar
DiscoBunny1979
Posts: 2007
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:59 am

Re: Security Systems

Post by DiscoBunny1979 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:39 pm

I use to have ADT, I don't any more.

1) Dogs are a much better alarm system. Dogs don't require a backup battery - they are 24/7.
2) Cameras attached to a DVR are much better than just an alarm system because they capture the actual intruder on camera. An alarm system only sends a signal of an intruder alert to the Police Station and by the time the Police Arrive, the intruder may be gone with no way to identify.
3) An alarm system can be disabled by the same people that installed them - making ex employees of the installation company a concern.
4) Putting a sticker or sign outside your house indicating what system you have informs a burglar what system you have and if they know that particular system by how its installed, its flaws, characteristics, then you inviting trouble rather than protecting yourself
5) A sticker or sign indicating what system you have does not prevent someone breaking in because many have them just to put them outside and most know that they are just an illusion.
6) The motion sensor often given somtimes has to be shut off if you 1) have pets, 2) have children, 3) sleep walk, 4) like to get up in the middle of the night for something out of the frig, need to use the bathroom that takes you through a living space.
7) The window alarms often needs to be disabled if you like to sleep with the windows open or french doors/sliding doors open.
8) I found the only time an alarm system worked well was if I went on vacation for a few days - locking up the entire house. Therefore the only reason to have alarm system (for me) would be if I took vacations often enough to warrant an alarm system.
9) False alarms do occur. In my area, you are allowed one false alarm. After that first first false alarm, the fire and ambulance service if they come out will charge you.
10) I finally decided to live my life accordingly with Dog, Cameras, and Good fencing. If an intruder comes in while I'm home, I have a Gun/Rifle. If an intruder comes in while I'm not home, then I have home ownership insurance and I really would like a new Computer anyway.
11) An alarm system does not pay for broken windows or broken doors. Therefore, homeowners insurance policy is probably as good of protection as a Dog. The discount that one might receive for having an alarm system can be nice, but not enough for me to go out and establish a contract.
12) Finally, Contacts that are year to year must be cancelled like renting an apartment. You have to give often a full 30 day notice in advance or the contract renews automatically. This means you really have to keep up on knowing your rights in terms of cancellation or you have to pay for another full year without wanting it - even if you sell your house!

reggiesimpson
Posts: 1608
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:47 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by reggiesimpson » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:50 pm

Put cameras up (real and otherwise) around your house and property. Place signs noting this surveillance method. This technology is cheap and a very effective deterrent according to the police in my area.

rogermexico
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:58 pm

Re: Security Systems

Post by rogermexico » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:32 pm

I use alarms only for unoccupied properties under rehab and not for my home but ...
Good hardware is available for purchase without the monitoring contracts that can be moved around at will. Get a system with an external horn. Auto-dialers are also available (to make calls out to various contact numbers)... some even have a listen in feature where if the alarm calls you, you can listen to what's happening in the house. Then you can decide if it's probably false alarm or if you should go home or call police/fire. False alarms sent on to police are pretty expensive in my neighborhood.

sport
Posts: 7051
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Security Systems

Post by sport » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:52 pm

Sam I Am wrote: Well, sure. All the alarm systems in our neighborhood have a nice, loud siren. I would think all alarm systems would come with some type audible device.

Our noisemaker is in the attic. And, believe me, the neighbors can hear ours, and we can hear theirs when one goes off.

The idea of an alarm system is to let the bad guy know he has tripped it, and hopefully cause him to go away. I can't imagine not having a siren, especially without monitoring.

Sam I Am
In our neighborhood, all the systems have a siren, but it is located inside the house. The bad guy will know he tripped it, but the neighbors probably will not hear it.
Jeff

Post Reply