Don’t need it til I need it…
We review a lot of home security systems. Over 60 to be exact. We disect each one, test it and give the pros and cons. We provide tips and reasons to buy a home alarm system. But now we are going where no other home security reviewer has gone before. All the reasons NOT to buy one.
1 – Can’t afford it
Money is tight right now!
This is a legitimate reason. Money can be scarce and adding another $30-70 a month right now is not within the budget. No need to go into dept for a security system. There are other security alternatives that can scare away potential burglars for little cost. Sadly, the people that can’t afford it often live in the most troubling cities where they need a security system the most.
2 – Choose not to afford it (aka Tightwad)
Hold tight to that cash!
Opposite of #2, users who can afford it but choose not too. Penny pincher. Tightwad. Regardless of title; these people choose to hold onto that $50/mo that could protect the family and give peace of mind. Put it towards other bills, save it for a rainy day or go out to eat an extra time of the month. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s good to be conservative and pick and choose what to spend money on. Until a break-in actually happens to these people, an alarm system isn’t for them.
3 – Can’t pass the credit check
Users need to pass credit of 550+ for most security companies
All major security companies require a credit check before you are able to sign up for their services. Why? Because they give you the equipment upfront (typically) which costs them $800-1500. They want to make sure you will pay the bills so they make that money back within the given contract terms (24-36 months typically). The alternative? You can purchase your own security system outright for $800-1300 and then find your own monitoring for $10-20/month. A bit more of a headache and you have to install.
A good rule of thumb used by several security companies: Users within 550-600 credit score pass but will not get great upfront promotions or discounts. 600-625 is ‘good’ and no co-signer is needed; you will get most deals. 625+ is great and these users have access to the best promotions, can pay by mail (for the senior citizens who still want too) and other perks come with it depending upon company.
4 – Have a gun.
Click, Click PULL
We have been in the industry a long time. Several companies such as Vivint, AMP and Monitronics send out sales reps. The two most common reasons opt out of having a security system are ‘I have a Gun’ or ‘I have a dog’. This is a solid reason. But what these people aren’t considering is the time it takes to get to your gun. If you are a part of a home invasion, just imagine watching TV one second and a burglar behind you the next. Or at night, many home owners actually sleep through the burglar getting into their home. An alarm system solves both those issues by sounding off a siren, usually scaring the robber away and notifying you to… get your gun out.
5 – You’re a badass
That’s right, I’m talking about YOU
Tough guys don’t need security systems. They have their brass knuckles, knives and guns if anyone gets near. Sure; they don’t realize that a gun can stop them as surely as it can stop another. Sure they don’t realize an alarm system is a deterrent and sounds off a warning to get the gun ready. But they don’t give an eff! In the heat of the moment they will pull of some crazy kungfu and stop the bad guy dead in his tracks.
6 – Have a dog
He won’t bite; will he?
“No thanks, we have a dog.” A good guard dog is actually the top security deterrent. They are noisy, notifies the home owner and can be viscous upon contact. Notice we said a good guard dog. The average home with a dog has one that would most likely like a burglar upon entry. Either way, it’s a legitimate excuse to hold off on purchasing a security system. It is very rare for a burglar to kill a dog to obtain entry into a home. One downside though to a barking dog is the neighbors often don’t pay attention to it as you would think they would.
7 – Renter
It’s not my house; why protect it?
Renters come and go. Most don’t stay long enough to justify setting up a security system. They can be a pain to move with or having to pay for relocation fees. Renters often fall into the bad credit situation too which means they have to have a co-signer or landlord on the contract agreement. If you are a renter and plan on being there for over 3 years, then you should still consider a security system. There are companies that accept renters, landlord permissions are often required for advanced equipment that needs drilling. Renters should thoroughly consider what they are getting into before jumping into a decision with buying an alarm system.
8 – Sounds too complex
I gotta do what now?
Many companies offer a do-it-yourself installation only security system. If you are not tech friendly, installing a security system is not going to be your thing. It can feel stressful even though companies provide great instructions and help. Heck, I stay away from buying things online that don’t come assembled. It brings out the worst in me when putting together a project. For this simple reason alone, many forgo protecting their home because it sounds too complicated. There are professional alternatives to take off the burden of a DIY project.
9 – Not home often
Home is any place away from home
Life can be busy. Whether for business or fun; many people end up being gone the majority of the week more often then not. Their reason for not buying a security system is simple: I’m never home. Well… okay… This only makes you more vulnerable to a home burglary. Also the fact that you can watch security cameras from your phone and control the alarm system with security apps doesn’t help your cause. But hey, maybe you are a travel blogger and just don’t have time for that.
10 – Home all the time
Heck, we never leave this place!
Opposite of #9 (and more common) is the fact that you may be home all the time! You are your own watchman. Some may call you a ‘porch monkey’ as you sit all day in a rocking chair on the patio. Depending on the home body that you are, some still prefer added measures of security. For those, it’s still nice have the alarm set at night to warn you of any invader. But for the others, they are the neighborhood watchman and have the local police on speed dial.
11 – Live in a “safe area
Nothing bad ever happens out here!
Safe and sound. Tucked away in NoWheresville, USA are the home owners that believe that there is no crime in their city. While this can be close to true for some of the safest cities, break-ins happen everywhere. Regardless, if it hasn’t happened to them in 10 to 20 years that they have been living there, who is to say something bad is going to happen now? Until you have been a victim, it can be hard to see the value in a security system and it is reasonably so. So for those that live in the world’s safest cities, hold off on the added security measures.
12 – My Neighbor is always home & watches
Chances are, your neighbor has better things to do
Another very common reason to saying no to a security system is that your neighbor is home all day and watches the home. Well… hate to break it to you but we are sure there are better TV shows and alternatives then staring out a window keeping an eye on the neighbors homes. Just because someone may be home bound (disability, sickness, elderly) doesn’t mean they don’t have other things to do. The average burglary is done in under 15 minutes. That means if your neighbor is caught up in a tv show, they will most likely miss the whole event.
13 – Have a Sign
Looks legit enough, right? ADT sign shown
Move into a home that left their security sign out? This is more common then not. Security signs are a superb crime deterrent and some people buy alarm systems primarily for these. A few things to know if you are going to opt out of a security system and use only a sign: First, make sure it isn’t outdated. An old Brinks, APEX or Pinnacle security sign aren’t fooling any burglar. If the company has gone out of business, replace it with a newer sign. Last of all, keep it in place and looking good. We have seen some funny things at Alarm Reviews such as duck taped signs. If it’s older than 5 years old, find a way to replace it with a new one (but don’t go stealing someone else out of their lawn… not cool).
14 – Moving out soon
Shape up or ship out!
Packing up and ready to move? Taking your alarm system with you isn’t the most practical thing but it’s what most companies have you do. Depending on how long you have been with them and if they equipment was DIY, they may tell you to take it with you. If you were with ADT or Vivint, they usually charge a relocation fee and install a new system at the new home. Then whoever moves into the old home will typically reactivate it under their name. If you plan on moving within the next 6-12 months, hold off on an alarm. You don’t want to be dinged with an early cancellation fee (if they don’t service your next address) or deal with a headache.
15 – High sales pressure
Get out, get out get OUT!
Majority of door to door sales companies (ex: Security Networks) pay their reps solely on number of sales or installations. This makes the pressure to get a sale high stakes or else they are going without food for the night. This has cause the biggest turmoil in the industry as sales reps lie about contracts, terms, pricing and what you get in equipment. Typically over the phone reps aren’t as bad but they will still haggle you. If you don’t like high sales pressure then you will want to stay away from security sales reps, they can tend to be the worst.
Tips: Know what you want ahead of time. Understand the contract terms. Don’t fall for the ‘sale only lasts today’, deals will always be around.
16 – Not interested
Look kid, I’m really just not that interested
This can crush a sales rep. “What do you mean you just don’t want one?! You don’t want to protect those you love? What about your kids, your items?” These are some of the kick backs you can expect from a sales rep if you say no to an alarm system. We all have items that appeal to us while others don’t. While everyone may not understand the logic of not wanting to ‘protect your home’, this is just something you can’t get excited about.
17 – Kids come ‘n go all day
In-n-out, back ‘n forth continually
This is a two sided argument. Some people love the feature of door sensors notifying them that the ‘back door’ has been opened. If you have young kids, you may want to be notified when the front door has opened. Others find this bothersome and mention, “I would never have time to turn the alarm system on because my kids are constantly going in and out all day.” If you have teens that get home late, they can turn the alarm off from an app now. If you’re still wanting an alarm system but don’t want the constant notifications, have the tech turn them off! It doesn’t have to beep each time, that is a feature not a system requirement.
18 – Live with roommates
This is a perfect reason not to get an alarm if you are in a house with roommates, at a dorm or related living quarters. If different people are coming in at all times of day and night, it’s not practical to try to have it on. With so many revolving schedules it’s too hard to ever keep the alarm on. Also dividing up monitoring fees can be a hassle. You’re going to be outvoted by the roommates if you try to get an alarm system on. Additionally, this usually falls into the renters category at all, a double reason.
19 – Don’t want to deal with false alarms
Sorry officer, kids opened the door at night!
False alarms can be a pain. When an alarm system gets tripped, it is the monitoring companies duty to call you and then upon not hearing anything, call dispatch. When they arrive and you are at your home safe and sound, you have to explain that it was a false alarm. This can also happen if your kids hit the panic button which silently gets the dispatch called right away. Keep the panel in a place not easily accessible by little ones and make sure everyone in the family knows the code to turn it off in time. If you have too many false alarms, the police can even start charging you a fee for having to come to your house often. Don’t be the boy who cried wolf in this scenario.
20 – Don’t want to get in a contract
Dot your i’s and cross your t’s
Not wanting to get into a contract is very common. Same reason companies in all industries are going to ‘month-to-month’ or cancel anytime agreements. The average contract for a security system lasts 36 months. On the low end is 24 months and high is 60 months. Some companies let you purchase the equipment upfront ($500-1000) like SimpliSafe while others like Vivint have you lease the equipment for a longer contract term. Tip for consumers buying: Review the terms of the agreement and have them confirm them over the phone with you as well. Note if there is an auto-renewal, pricing terms, early cancellation fee and relocation fee.
21 – Friend had a bad experience with a company
One bad experience can ruin it for everyone
Referrals (positive or negative) are the highest indicator of purchasing something. If a friend goes off about how “Xfinity security is the worst! They did this and that and never answer the phone when I try to call them!” How likely are you to go and sign up after hearing that? Whether it’s something you read online or hear from a neighbor, if you have heard of someone that was taken advantage of by a security company or sales rep then you will not be getting one any time soon. The same can be said about a good experience and leading you towards a purchase if you hear it is the best ever.
22 – Wait ’til it’s too late
I’ll pass, it won’t happen to me… Oh sh*t, it just did!
Home invasions happen unannounced and quick when they do. Our 22nd reason for passing up a home security system is that you waited too long. Like health insurance, alarm systems typically don’t come in handy until they are needed. This is a large reason why people don’t get them sooner. If you have been fine without them up to this point, what’s to say you need one in the future? Assuming you don’t get entered into the wait til it’s too late club, then you saved yourself a handful of money!
23 – Always something new that’s needed
Technology changes fast!
Luckily you don’t have to update your alarm system every 2-3 years like cell phones. It appears to be more on a decade trend that users should update their security systems. Old motion detectors still work as good as new ones, same with door and window sensors. But if you are one that doesn’t want to keep up with the latest trends in security, then adding an alarm system to the home may not be for you.
24 – Must use my landline
But I’m still on a landline!
By now, only a few remaining security companies even offer landline service. AT&T has announced they will discontinue their home landline service completely in the next few years. For those stubborn ones out there that still want the cheaper rate and demand a security system be connected to a hard landline then you may have to take that will to the grave with you. For now, Protect America and ADT still cater to those with landlines but even if you get setup using one, users should plan on updating it to a wireless one in the coming years.
25 – Not sure who is best
They all look so good though, which one is for me?!
These people hate getting bombarded with countless offers. In their mind, the world would be better off with one company to each one product. All the different promotions, equipment, prices cause stress in their head making it so they would rather not choose any security provider at all. Well, good thing for websites like OURS. We make it easy by spending hundreds of hours in research and product testing. Just follow our guide of over 20 of the top contenders for beginners. If it’s still too much of a headache, maybe call it a night and go get a drink.
26 – Too high of starting fees
Bait-n-take is a common method used by home security companies
Security companies are sadly a huge instigator of the ‘bait-n-take’ method. They hook users with a ‘Free security system’ offer ($850-1200 in free equipment). While this is true, by the time users are signed up and ready for installation there is a $99+ installation fee and a $99+ ‘activation fee’. There can be other fees which are much more bogus and if you see these consider cancelling at once! Regardless, do your homework before and make sure you see the final starting costs before signing any dotted lines. Don’t be the next victim who bought something they were not aware they were purchasing.
27 – Too high of cancellation fees
Help! I’m stuck in a contract and can’t get out
Companies like Scout are trying to do away with contracts. Thousands have been stuck in home security contracts sold to them by reps who lied. Then they find themselves in a 3 to 5 year bind paying $50-70/month which they can’t afford. So why not just cancel? Because early termination fees for most monitoring companies are 75% of remaining contract value. This means $500-1500 just to get rid of the darn thing! Companies do this to protect their free security system promotions so they aren’t losing money by users signing up, getting a free system and cancelling.
For those who want to avoid the headache of trying to get out of a home security contract then the easiest way would to never get into one. For those who are in one, make sure it is not set on auto-renewal and when to call in to cancel. Rules to avoiding the early termination fee includes: being an active military duty and they call you overseas & moving into area that the provider does not cover.
28 – Slow monitoring response time
It’s their job yet they are slow at it
The most complaints from customers with monitoring contracts is that they either:
1 – called to slow in the time of need (delayed response)
2 – didn’t call at all
3 – they called but dispatch showed up much too late
A common excuse on the doors in urban areas is that, “Even if they call the cops, it’s going to take them 25 minutes to get out here.” This can be a real issue and not an overstatement. Depending on the city and number of available police, an alarm system going off doesn’t rank high on most police codes. Because so many false alarms are triggered by users not knowing their system, children or pets; cops have a hard time knowing how quickly to react. Self monitoring products may be of higher interest or using deterrants for this audience of excuses.
Our wrap up on the Top reasons NOT to buy a home security system
As one can tell, there are dozens of excuses to avoid purchasing an alarm system. Whether it’s not a good time financially, emotionally or geographically – one shouldn’t feel overly pressured into purchasing a security system. Only users who truly want an added peace of mind and have the means should look into it.
Please share this with family or friends and add any other reasons below!
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Growing up with Law and Order and CSI shows taught Isabelle Landau one thing: if people back then had high-quality home security systems, those series would have been way shorter. In our modern world, technology helps us keep burglars away easily, and this is what Izzy studies and writes about: alarm systems, home security, protection systems, and more.