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Monitoring

A lot of people who get an alarm system often ask, if they really need to have their alarm system monitored.  To answer that, I can say, yes and no.  There is a plus and minus to both answers. So let's explain the yes first.




YES - Monitoring is when your alarm should go off, burglar or fire, or if you press the medical or panic button when needed, the alarm will call into the monitoring center and let them know of the problem so they can call you and dispatch the police or fire department.  

Most alarm companies install their alarm systems for less than they can buy and install them for.  So by letting you pay a small amount up front, they charge a monitoring fee, which they get part of.  That is a way for them to get some (RMR) recurring monthly revenue.  You are basically paying for it in small payments and it is being monitored as well.

Years ago if you got an alarm system, before monitoring was even around, it would cost $2,500 and as much as $5,000 for a system to be installed.  Now equipment did cost a bit more back then, and there was no wireless anything.  It was all done the hard way, fishing the walls to hide the wires and sometimes it would take 2 or 3 days to install a system.  

Now most big companies only get about $300 or so, but their monitoring fee is a bit more as well. A company can't stay in business only making a couple hundred dollars on a system, so you can pay a big chunk up front or a small amount and a small monthly payment with having your system monitored as well.   And in most cases, that monitoring you pay will almost eliminate that much on your home owners insurance too, so your insurance goes down enough to pay the monitoring itself.

 

NO - If you have had your system for 3 or 4 years, then you pretty much at that point paid for the system and if you cancel the monitoring, all should be good.  If you are just getting a system and do not want it monitored then you will be paying a lot more than the basic rate that is offered since there will be no other way for the company to make any more money on the system.

Another thing to consider is this:  Alarm companies and insurance companies don't mix very well. Everyone seems to want to sue somebody these days.  Most alarm companies, if not all, will very rarely install a system without some kind of monitoring because that way if something should happen where the customer would say that they were broken into and that the system didn't work, when a system IS monitored, the company can go into the alarm panel remotely and check and see if the system was set or not.  They can also tell if anyone had turned it off and then back on again, even if they bypassed a zone and what code was used as well.  Most alarm panels store 60 days of events, arming, disarming, zone bypass, code changes and much more.  

So if a customer should want to sue the company, this is some proof that it did or did not work, which is good for both the customer and the alarm company.  Most of all, even if an alarm company was sued a few times, and if it was no fault of the alarm company, just because someone trying to make a few fast bucks, it would not take long for a company to go broke paying out lawyer fees even if they were totally innocent.


             
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