Your house is the most valuable thing you own. It also contains all your other valuables, such as your jewelry, television, and electronics, which makes many people nervous. They worry that their house looks like a free shopping mall to crooks and burglars, so it only makes sense to invest in some sort of home monitoring to make sure the house, its contents, and its occupants stay safe. If you're thinking about investing in an alarm system, here are some things you need to know.

There are many different types of alarm systems out there, so there's bound to be one that will fit your budget. The simplest types of alarms can be bought at hardware stores and installed on doors without assistance from a professional. On the other end of the spectrum, there are alarm systems that make use of closed circuit TV cameras, security guards, and motion sensors. Most standard alarm systems offered by chain companies use wired contact points on all doors and a remote police notification system.

How much you decide to spend on your alarm system should be determined not just by your security budget but also by the value of your home and its contents. It doesn't make sense that a small, run down home be protected by a top of the line system, for example. Any threats to your person, such as a stalker or a violent ex, should also weigh into your decision. Book a consultation with a security expert from an alarm company to see what the appropriate level of home security is for you. Everyone should have some type of protection, as it reduces the cost of your homeowner's insurance.

To get an alarm system, you can easily have one installed. Depending on the complexity of the system it can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to install, plus your monthly subscription to the monitoring service. However, if you're planning to move out of your home anyway, have your a real estate agent look for homes that already have alarm systems to save you some time.

If you're going to get one installed yourself, be extremely careful when you're shopping for an alarm company. Never allow anyone who comes door to door into your house for a "free security consultation," as this is usually a scam criminals use to case your home or make off with your "installation fee". Check with the Better Business Bureau for a list of reputable companies and call them yourself for an appointment. Check the credentials of whoever they send before you let them in. You can start with a big well known security company such as ADT.

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