Almost Out of that Sticky Security Contract?
Congratulations, you made it! You are no longer in contract with your alarm company. Most likely this has been three (short or long depending on their customer service) years for you to be a free agent again in the home security world. Hopefully, there were no break-ins, and that if there was; your alarm system did what it needed to and got the police and your family called.
Now that the initial agreement with the company is up, you are faced with a few different:
- Keep the current system & still pay
- Upgrade and get free new equipment by switching providers
- Stop paying your monitoring fees & still use alarm system for deterrent and warnings
Keeping the Current System and Still Pay
Don’t let your money fly out the window!
This is, unfortunately, the most common option and the number 1 reason security companies make the kind of money they do! Did you know that the average customer stays with ADT for 7 years before canceling or upgrading? The initial ‘Free Alarm’ you got for signing up doesn’t pay for itself in the eyes of the security companies for 2-3 years. (High overhead with equipment, paying sales rep, technician, and monitoring station).
Once those fees are recouped after 2-3 years is when they start rolling in the big bucks. Nearly 80% of the monitoring fees are then pure profit. What do we here at Alarm Reviews recommend? Change it up. Get the most out of the companies, their promotions, etc. and get new equipment and make a change. Don’t be their favorite customer by simply sending them a bill every month while they don’t do a thing.
Upgrade your Current System for Current Promotions
Upgraded panel shown for example
Chances are, the alarm system you got 3-5 years ago has been updated and changed. With home automation being the new biggest trend, you will want to stay on top of promotions and keep the best of the best in your home. So what should you do? Take initiative and get an upgraded alarm system. Don’t settle for a ‘working’ alarm system. You can compare different security systems, call around, and don’t be worried about changing companies. Unless you are loyal to them because a family member owns the company, don’t be.
A new company will come in and add up to $1600 in free equipment to your previous alarm system. This could include a free touch screen panel for you; key remotes, or covering some of the entrances or window alarm sensors that you didn’t the first time. Chances are you didn’t have security cameras or smart thermostats when you last signed up either so now would be the time to get those for free when signing a contract with a new company.
How Can I Cancel my Alarm Contract?
Maybe you have been counting down the days for your contract to end because you are sick of paying the $30-50 monthly fee. Well go ahead and call and cancel! Just make sure you do this on the very month your contract ends. Why? Several companies have a horrible auto-renewal policy in their contract and if you don’t cancel before the final month of the contract (36th/60th month) it will automatically renew for another 3-5 years. Typically they are auto-renewed for 12 month period. This is, of course, something the sales rep didn’t tell you about when you signed up but do your best to stay on top of it and cancel right away.
Beware of early payoff and cancellation fees. These are usually upwards of 75% of the remaining contract. If you are moving to an area where the company cannot service things may get a little messy. Depending on the company, they will either admit they can’t provide service or end terms. If they want to get real stingy they will claim you still owe the remainder of what’s left on the agreement. This is where lawsuits come in and neither party is happy; unfortunately, this happens quite a bit in the industry.
Your equipment will still function and sound the alarm when a sensor is triggered but the monitoring station will no longer call you. Some people like this as it still gives them a warning (to grab the gun etc.) at night if there is a home intrusion and you save yourself the monthly monitoring fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I turn off my house alarm without having to insert the code?
First, you need to locate the main access panel of your home’s alarm system and remove the AC power from the wall directly. Now use your console access key or a small screwdriver to unlock the backside of the alarm console panel. From there, it gets even simpler. All you need to do now is to disconnect at least one of the wires that are attached to the system’s main battery. That way, the alarm will reset and you won’t need to insert the code anymore. Do note, however, that we don’t recommend leaving your alarm without a code for long. Inspect the instruction manual for solutions related to your particular issue or call the alarm security provider directly and describe the ordeal as best as you can.
Will my home alarm work without monitoring?
Theoretically yes, most alarm systems should work without the ability to actively monitor your home. You see, if you reset your alarm system without renewing your security subscription, the alarm itself will still get triggered if it senses something wrong. However, don’t expect it to inform the security firm or the authorities. It will only work as a smartphone notification for you personally, so you need to assume this risk at your own discretion.
How long does a house alarm go off for?
Depending on the timeout settings, most modern house alarms will go off for an average of 20 minutes. However, lengths may vary for traditional systems. The alarm owner may be able to increase or decrease this average time depending on what system settings they choose when setting up the alarm system. You may also be required to manually disable the alarm in case it gets triggered by accident.
There are several options you have as a consumer when the contract runs out of time. The last thing you want to do is to do nothing, stay quiet, and pay your bill. Whether you cancel altogether or upgrade for a better deal, do something!
Any bad (or good) experiences with changing security providers? Let us know below
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William is a tech buff and former corporate security officer turned cybercrime analyst. Computers have few secrets left for him, but home security and alarm systems… Well, those have plenty of secrets for their users, which William is now uncovering and explaining. His articles on home security helped many people take the matter seriously, invest in highly performing systems, and avoid becoming victims of burglaries.