Should I Cancel My Home Alarm?

by David@MoneyNing.com · 16 comments

David, you need to talk about home security systems. Everyone is home these days, so why are we still paying so much money on home alarm monitoring?

I have ADT and I’m paying $30 a month. I’m planning to call them soon to cancel.

What do you think?

Looking for answers,
Justin

First, give yourself a pat on the back Justin. The fact that you are looking at your expenses and deciding where to cut out the fat is what will separate you from most of those out there who just worry about money but don’t do anything about their situation.

Having said that though, you need to know that instead of canceling my home security monitoring service, I recently bought a Simplisafe home alarm and started paying for monitoring after nine years without one.

Why Did I Add a Home Alarm System When I’m Home All Day?

It’s true that everyone is staying home these days and an alarm system seems pretty redundant. In fact, the reason why I canceled my home alarm service many years ago was that I work at home and is basically home all day.

However, I recently moved, and having fire and burglary monitoring knocked my home insurance costs down 20%. With high California insurance premiums, the discount basically covers the home monitoring fees. Plus, I’ve seen those Simplisafe ads for years and the tech geek in me always wanted to try these wireless units out.

Good for You, But What About Me? Should I Cancel?

Back to your situation though, I don’t think there’s an easy yes or no answer. I favor cutting it first, as you can always add it back later. I do, however, want you to think about these few questions before you call them up.

How will canceling affect home insurance costs? If you already have homeowner’s insurance, you are likely getting a discount with your system. Will you lose the discount if you cancel? On the other hand, if you have a system in place and your discount hasn’t been applied, then you should talk to your agent immediately to get the savings applied to your account.

Do you care about monitoring at night? Everyone is home, and you are likely pretty safe in the day time. In fact, not many people turn on monitoring during the day anyway. But what about at night? Do you care about intruders while you sleep? Your needs for a system will depend on how comfortable you are with the safety of your neighborhood.

Do you have a contract that prevents you from canceling? ADT is one of the worst offenders of locking you into a contract. I’ve already received no less than five different offers from them to come out to install an alarm. The ads all say the system is free, but I need to pay for monitoring for at least two years.

I honestly thought I saw a price in the vicinity of $45 a month, but even at $30 a month as you stated, I’m on the hook for $720 of monitoring if I agree to let them install the system.

And even if you are under a contract, can you downgrade, or pause, your service? I didn’t know before I got my service recently, but every monitoring company offers many tiers of service. If you are only after the insurance discount, then you likely don’t need all the bell and whistles of what the higher tier services provide.

My insurance only needs fire and burglary monitoring to qualify for a lower premium. Anything else is for my safety and peace of mind. What does your insurance say?

If home insurance is not a concern for you, then can you pause your service in the meantime? These aren’t normal times, and many companies are being much more lenient than usual on terms. I can’t guarantee that whoever you are with will let you pause a contract, but it doesn’t hurt to try right?

What’s the plan when life begins to normalize? Some states and countries are already starting to allow businesses to re-open. When will you need to commute to the office again? When that day comes, do you think you’ll want the monitoring service back on?

How to Save on Home Monitoring

Lastly, consider Simplisafe if you still want a home monitoring system. I just installed the unit and everything was easy to set up since all the units communicate wirelessly to each other.

The real reason to consider switching is that monitoring with Simplisafe is much cheaper than ADT. The standard system costs about $200 with easily searchable promotion codes online and monitoring starts at $14.99 a month. It includes cellular monitoring so there’s no need to have a landline and there are no contracts either.

You can check them out here if you’d like.

Would You Pay for Monitoring If You Don’t Have Insurance?

The answer is likely a no. I work at home and my wife is a stay at home mom. I also live in a relatively safe neighborhood. That makes a home monitoring system less valuable to us.

The reality, though, is that I do have home insurance, and the numbers justify paying for monitoring. Considering monitoring is practically free with the discount on premiums, I’m going to be having home alarm monitoring until things change.

How about you? Are you itching to cancel your home security alarm monitoring? If so, what’s preventing you to do so? And if you aren’t, then why not?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • arminiusaurelius says:

    Thirty Dollars a month is chump change for the sake of security . If you have valuables , they might even watch your house to see when you leave to go shopping , visit friends or go out for dinner for 2 hours . It is so easy to have an alarm system at little cost by going out to dinner less often . I have friends that go out to dinner two or three times a week which can easily cost $ 30.00 + for dinner and a cocktail / beer . A cocktail at home would cost less than $ 1.00 whereas in a restaurant it costs about $ 10.00 + . In the morning many people stop in Starbucks or other coffee shops for a coffee or two three or four times a week . It costs about $ 2.00 plus for a cup whereas the same cup of coffee at home would cost about 20 or 25 cents a cup at best . $ 30.00 a month for the sake of security is worth every cent. It only takes one break in where much can be stolen or damaged .

    • Paul says:

      $30 a month might be chump change. For You! For others who might not be so affluent, it isn’t necessarily so. $5 here, $3 there, $15 somewhere else and before you know it something has to give money wise. And especially in these times of Covid 19 where so many people have lost, or in danger of losing, their jobs.

      Maybe you are fortunate. For all I know you might be on $150k or more a year. Many others are struggling to survive.

      Consider this: CNN estimates that the total number of unemployed isn’t 23.1 million, but a staggering 43.2 million people in the United States. That’s 27% of the US labor force for April 2020

      Similar stats for New Zealand where I live. I’m fortunate in that I am retired and get Government Superannuation and my wife works for a retirement village so wouldn’t be out of a job anytime soon. Our income isn’t flash, but its livable. And we don’t go out eating more than 6 times a year. Partly because of the cost, and partly because most restaurants can’t, or won’t, cater to my dietary requirements.

    • David@MoneyNing.com says:

      You rather spend money on a home alarm system and someone else rather spends it on coffee or dinner out. It’s all about priorities and preferences.

      It’s been a while since I’ve seen you Arminius Aurelius. Good to see you again and thanks for weighing in!

  • Stay at Home Mama says:

    Obviously no one needs a home alarm. It’s not like criminals won’t know how to cut off the phone lines connected to the alarm panel anyway. ADT wants like $50 a month in my area.

    You are crazy to think that’s worth the money.

    • David@MoneyNing.com says:

      The monthly costs are pretty high, but I think the general consensus is that while the alarm won’t stop burglaries, it at least deters them by making breaking in more involving.

      You can also put in an alarm system now that connects to the call centers through the cellular network, so there’s no more phone line to cut, not to mention how you won’t need to pay for a landline.

  • Justin says:

    I just called my agent and he said my home insurance doesn’t require a home alarm monitoring system, so we are good there.

    I’ve had the service for years so I assumed I had no contract but ADT said my contract renews every time it expires. WHAT?!?!? They said I can’t cancel until March 2021. Noooooooooooooooooooo!

    • David@MoneyNing.com says:

      Oh man, that’s news to me, and a sucky one at that.

      Auto-renewing contracts are pretty unfair. What are the early termination fees? It might still be worth it to cancel since you don’t need the service at all.

      • Justin says:

        They told me the cancellation fee will still be like two hundred bucks.

        It’s ridiculous but what can I do??

        • David@MoneyNing.com says:

          I would try the credit card company in this case like Paul suggested. It might not work but it’s definitely worth a try.

    • Paul says:

      Call the bank and remove their debiting authority. Simple as… well it is in New Zealand.

      • Justin says:

        I can dispute it with my credit card company but it’s not a guarantee, especially if I’m on contract. I’ll give that a try though, thanks.

        • Paul says:

          If the bank won’t come to the party, and I’m assuming its more than a couple of months left on this, so called, contract, then I’d have a (cough, cough) compromised card and “please mr credit card company I need a new card with a new number…” and that new card would not have that contract linked to it.

          I’m probably going to insult a bunch of people here but… in a “civilised country”, like New Zealand, businesses are required to give you written notification that your contract is about to expire and needs to be renewed. You actually have to respond accepting a new contract term. I’m presupposing that the contracts are yearly, so at month eleven they are required to give you 30 days notice. And that notice needs to be at your mailing address at least 30 days before contract term expires, not that they created it and oops, it must have got lost in the post nonsense. It can be at your email address but I’d strongly recommend that you do NOT use that. Because you want a written record with a signature on it should you ever need to take it to court.

  • Jacob says:

    I don’t think most people have contracts anymore unless they just installed their system not long ago.

    I’m still paying for monitoring and to me, the peace of mind of a system is priceless.

    • David@MoneyNing.com says:

      Have you seen Justin’s comment? Apparently ADT auto renews everybody’s contracts when they expire. If I were you, I would call the monitoring company now and make sure you know when your contract expires.

      Even if you don’t plan to cancel anytime soon, you should know when you can do so without penalty just in case things change in the future.

    • Paul says:

      You can actually buy alarm systems that connect to your cell phone, or other device, which you can monitor.

      A burglar hits your place? Wow call the cops.

      Using a monitoring company? From my experiences in the past here in NZ, could be up to 3 hours later before the mosey on up. That gives crooks plenty of time to clean your house out doesn’t it?

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