Want To Switch Your Alarm Monitoring Provider?
Overpaying for alarm monitoring services is all too common in today’s home security marketplace. Simply put: homeowners just don’t realize that other companies can monitor their alarm system even though they may not have done the initial installation. In most cases, all it takes is a little reprogramming and maybe a swap out of the keypad (if it isn’t “data locked”… see Step 2 below).
Security companies make their money on monitoring services. They realize that most customers don’t know that they can save a lot of money by shopping monitoring service, so they convince customers to sign long term contracts to pre-empt the comparison shopping.
You, on the other hand, are smarter (because you are reading this blog)!
So, How Do You Switch Alarm Monitoring Providers?
You’re ahead of the game already… but we’ve got 5 easy steps to make shopping for security monitoring services easy. Here, we’ll teach you how to get the best monitoring service in your neighborhood withoutoverpaying and without signing your life away in exchange for a few extra bucks in your pocket.
Step 1: Understand Your Current Security Monitoring Agreement
Take a look at your current monitoring situation. Chances are you’re currently monitoring with the same company that did the installation. Dig out your paperwork and find out:
- Do you have a contract?
- When does your current contract expire?
- Is it set up to renew automatically?
- Are there andy cancellation fees or penalties for terminating your contract early?
Step 2: Research Local Alarm Monitoring Companies
Researching other security companies may take a little time, but the payback will be worth it. Do a Google search for “security monitoring (your city)” Find out which companies are local (they’ll most likely deliver better customer service, anyway) and which companies answer the phone when you call…. I’m serious on that one! Beyond the probable lower monitoring fee, when your alarm needs service, you’ll want a company that is attentive to you in a timely manner. For more info on this topic, check out our blog post: How National Security Companies Fall Short.
A few questions for your perspective new provider:
- How much does monthly monitoring cost?
- What’s the length of the agreement?
- Do they accept automated credit card payments?
- Are there any extra, hidden fees for services like vacation notifications or early termination?
- How often are call lists updated?
- Who actually does the monitoring? – In some cases, smaller security firms sell off your account to a larger provider for hefty referral commission.
- Is the security control panel “data locked?” (Reputable companies will provide control panel unlock codes. Shady ones will not… They are only “data locked” in the first place to prevent customers from switching monitoring providers – which is good for the company but NOT the customer.
Step 3: Put It In Writing
When switching monitoring providers, it’s best to put your request in writing.
At least 30 days before you plan to terminate your monitoring contract, send a letter to your alarm company stating that you’d like to continue on a month-to-month basis. That way, you’ll protect yourself against any surprises later on (if you decide to switch).
Step 4: Analyze The Options
When it’s all said and done, the customer should have the final say as to who they purchase monitoring services from. Even if you end up NOT switching providers, you’ll gain great insight into the options available, by using the above questions as a guide when interviewing potential companies. Hey, you might even discover that you’re current security provider is the best choice.
Step 5: Make The Call
Now that you’ve found the best security monitoring option, it’s time to make the call. Schedule an appointment with your new provider. Request a home visit before the takeover to confirm the details of your agreement and the capabilities of the new monitoring services. And, last but not least, don’t forget to call your insurance agent notifying them that you switched companies. – That might be worth another few bucks. Some companies discount as much as 20% on homeowner’s insurance if you have a monitored alarm system (more if you have a fire system).
It’s well worth your time to check out which provider in your area will give you the best deal on security monitoring. I’d definitely recommend going local for the best rates and the best service.
Want more info how what to know before buying an alarm system? Check out our EBook What You Should Know Before Purchasing A Security System, or contact us and we’ll get right back to you.