home security systems

Free Home Security System: Are These Alarm Systems Really Free?

free alarm systems

If you are in the market for a home alarm system it is likely that you have come across many companies offering a "Free" home security system. Yes, maybe the initial cost of these systems are free, but it is also important to evaluate the real value of this system based on quality and the actual long term costs associated with it.

The "Free" alarm system is mainly a clever marketing technique used by many alarm companies to make home owners think they can evaluate an alarm system based on initial cash outlay. Off course free sounds great, but it almost sounds too good to be true, which it is. It is true that this alarm system may be fine for some homes, but not the average home (by a long shot).

It is important to know what you will get with the free alarm system and what the long term costs and contracts are with it. Below are some interesting points you should be aware of when considering the "Free" alarm system.

The Big Catch: Your Contract

The reason why these companies can offer a free alarm system is because they know they will recoup the cost over the lifetime of the contact that they require you to sign. It is even a possibility that the monthly contract amount is actually more than if you weren't to go with the free system because they want to ensure they do get all the money back for their outlay of the system.

Having a long term contract with a company will lock you in with them for the lifetime of the contract and not let you shop around for a better deal if you are unhappy with the service they provide. Even if you do choose to go with another company, it is likely that the alarm company will take back the alarm device that they supplied to you and you will be back to square one with no alarm system.

Quality & Type of Alarm System

The alarm system that is offered for free is typically the most basic type of alarm system that can be installed quickly and covers only a minimal portion of the home being monitored.

Typically the alarm system offered is a wireless device that comes with one keypad, one motion detector, one door contact, maybe one window contact and an alarm control panel. If this basic system were installed it will still leave a significant portion of the home unprotected, which can mean the alarm may never get triggered if there was a break in. 

This type of alarm is wireless because it makes it extremely easy to install, which cuts back on the price of the installation significantly for the alarm company. Alarm systems have many more capabilities than what is offered with the free package and the average home owner should take advantage of a big more complex system to better secure the home.

Inadequate Level of Security

Since the alarm system offered with the "Free" alarm system deal only meets basic standards, the security level is far from the best that it could be. Since the alarm system only has one motion sensor, minimal amount of door and window sensors, it still leaves a large majority of the average home unprotected. Ideally, an alarm system should have sensors for each window, each door, multiple motion sensors, and other sensors for fires and floods.

Possible Bait and Switch Marketing Scheme

The alarm companies offering the "Free" alarm systems are well aware that this system is not the best solution for the majority of homes and they will likely try to push other products on you after they get know they got your attention. While this isn't a really bad thing because you will likely end up with a better alarm system, but you will still most likely be tied to a contract because you will still have the discounted price to include the free components of the alarm that were initially offered.

Possible Hidden or Additional Fees On Top of "Free"

As mentioned above, you will likely get additional alarm system devices tacked onto what you are getting for "Free" that may cost you several hundred dollars in up front fees you didn't originally intend to get charged. In addition there is a good possibility you will get charged fees for registration with police and fire stations. Typically there are many small costs that are not advertised with the initial offer that can add up.

Conclusion After Taking Factors into Consideration

After taking into account the pluses and minuses of the "Free" alarm system there is typically a deal out there that could serve your needs better and can cut down on the long term costs. There are times when this marketing promotion can be a good fit, but it is important to realize that this deal is typically offered to get the a foot in the door by the alarm company and most of the time taking just the base model for "Free" will not be the best long term investment into your home.

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