Is your alarm company raising your rates each year?
Do you wish your system had more features and upgrade options?
Do you feel like tearing your hair out in frustration when you call customer support over a problem with your system?
If so, it’s time to look elsewhere for your home security needs.
Depending on the manufacturer of your security equipment, other companies may be able to monitor your alarm system even if they weren’t the original installers. We'll help you through the process.
Can I reuse my current security equipment?
Yes, in most cases. It's fairly straightforward to make that switch. Here's Alexandra to explain that process:
Should I switching my existing monitoring company or buy a completely new system?
Switching your existing monitoring company — what we call a system takeover — is usually ideal because it means you avoid having to buy all new equipment and may not have to pay anything upfront if your system is relatively simple.
One of our techs goes out to your home, assesses the situation, and lets us know what we need to do to make the switch. Best-case scenario, we can do it right there and then.
There are some circumstances where making the switch is not so simple. If we exhaust all other avenues to get your system communicating with our monitoring center, we'll have to do something called a rip and replace. This means our expert technicians will have to remove your old system and upgrade it with new equipment.
When is a rip and replace necessary?
a) Your alarm system is proprietary. This means that your system is programmed to function correctly ONLY as long as you continue paying the original company that sold it to you.
For example, no other company can monitor aSimpliSafeorXfinitysystem. They design the equipment this way to make customers stay with them longer, because leaving means hundreds of dollars down the drain and a huge headache for you.
While this might be great for their bottom line, we don't share the same values. For an in-depth comparison of how each security company is different, check out our chart comparing alarm companies at the link below.
We know how expensive replacing proprietary technology can be. That's why we only sell Honeywell equipment that ALL alarm companies can monitor, so that you'll never have to buy an entirely new system again. If you ever want more features, you can just add on individual pieces of equipment for a relatively low price.
b) Your alarm system is too old to provide adequate protection. Many houses and apartments still use systems that were manufactured decades ago, severely limiting your options for sensors, cameras, and smart home upgrades down the line.
An outdated system also presents a security risk to you. Older equipment relies on landlines to communicate with the central station, which smart burglars will cut before going in.
c) Your alarm company changed the installer code. When our technicians reprogram the equipment, we need to punch in an installer code to access the back-end of the alarm's programming. We know the default codes, but if your alarm company has changed this, it becomes much more difficult for us to reprogram your system.
It's possible that even if your equipment is compatible, your alarm company has effectively "locked out" other companies from doing a takeover job. Try asking your alarm company for the installer code first to see if they'll provide it to you.
How do I make the switch?
Below, we’ll teach you how to change companies in just 3 steps.
Step 1: Read your Monitoring Contract
If you currently have a monitored system, you probably signed an agreement with the company stating that you'll stay with them for a certain amount of time. You want to be sure you're not on a contract when you make the switch, otherwise you'll have to pay more.
How much should you be paying for alarm monitoring? Click the link below where we compare the costs of all of the major companies.
This contract is what enables many alarm companies to reduce the upfront cost of your equipment and let you pay off the difference over X number of months (36 months is the standard).
If you can’t find that document, request it from your alarm company and they’ll send it over.
Take note of the following:
Renewal (is it automatic)
Early contract cancellation fees or penalties
Step 2: Find a Local Alarm Monitoring Company
Ask anyone who’s shopped around at multiple alarm companies and tested them out. They'll say the same thing:go local.
Whenever you buy professional-grade technology like this, you want the reassurance that customer service will be able to help you if things don’t work as they should. People who treat you as valued individual, not a number.
Here's how you find a reputable local alarm company:
Search for "alarm monitoring company [insert city or state]" on Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.
Scroll past ADT, Vivint, SimpliSafe, FrontPoint, and other national brands to find the local companies. Yelp is also a helpful resource for finding smaller companies in your area.
Call their number. Does a human voice answer the phone? That’s crucial. When your alarm’s having issues, you want a real person on the line who will understand your problem, not a machine.
Read the reviews to learn how customers feel about the quality of products and services. The best reviews tell a story about how the company responded when things didn't go according to plan.
Questions you should ask any potential alarm monitoring company:
How much will you have to pay per month?
How long does the monitoring contract last?
Can they walk you through any additional fees in addition to any upfront equipment cost and monitoring subscription?
What certifications does the central station have? Will you ever need to contact them for any reason?
Can you reuse your equipment with another alarm company?
Step 3: Contact the New Alarm Company
Once you’ve found the right security monitoring provider, get in contact with them either by phone or by submitting a form on their website.
Schedule an appointment with your new provider. If you know what system you have installed, it’s easy for us to know whether we can simply reprogram it or if it will need a new panel.
You may be able to save even more money if you contact your insurance company after making the switch to get a discount on your home insurance. Depending on your insurance provider, you could save up to 20% on homeowners insurance if you have a monitored intrusion and fire alarm system.
What’s the hardest part about choosing a local alarm company?
Most people end up going with a national brand because finding a local security provider takes a little more research and time. Plus, large corporations have the backing of a powerful brand and flashy marketing videos to make them seem more trustworthy.
Butdig a little deeperinto these companies and how real customers feel about them. Listen to their stories. You might be surprised at what you find out.
If you want the best security company in your area, we encourage you to shop around and ask the right questions of your sales rep. Spending those few extra minutes to understand your security company will save you a lot of headache and disappointment down the line.