While crime is never an enjoyable topic to dwell upon or discuss at the dinner table, the fact is that it exists. Crime rates vary from city to city throughout the nation, each dealing with its particular issues and causes for concern, but the reality of possible danger remains. Are you educated about the crime that happens in your own area here in Houston? Unfortunately, Houston does rank among the large cities in the United States that have their fair share of crime. In particular, Houston deals with several cases of theft and burglary, whether they be at the residential or commercial level.
The good news it that home security systems have achieved a level of protection only dreamed about in recent years. Home security companies have made great strides in finding the best possible means to protect the homes of thousands throughout the country. These systems can range from being simple to including several functions, all working together to maximize the security of your property. The benefits of having a security system are many, including increased peace of mind, convenient monitoring of your home remotely, and more overall household protection. Additionally, having a home security system can lower your homeowner’s insurance, saving you hard-earned money each month.
Here in Houston you have some great options for protecting your home. We’ve analyzed the top companies to check out. See our analysis below.
The Benefits of Owning a Home Security System
There are many benefits of owning a home security system. Here are some of our favorites.
Peace of Mind: If there is one place you should feel completely safe and relaxed, it is in your own home. It should be your safe haven from the crazy, often chaotic world around you. Knowing that you, and your belongings, are protected allow you to live more comfortably and with an added sense of freedom. With a home security system, you are able to achieve that feeling of safety, whether it is each night as you fall asleep, while you are away at work, or while you are on a weeklong getaway.
Overall Protection: The several features a home security system can provide work together to ensure that your home is protected at every point. Doors and windows are armed with alarms to monitor any unnatural activity, ensuring that any intruder would be immediately detected. Emergency call buttons and codes can be provided if you have to disarm an alarm under duress. Motion sensor lighting deters any “would-be” burglars from daring to enter the home, working as a “warning” of further security measures that have been taken within the home. Monitoring services through the security company allow for instant communication to the authorities should any unwanted visitors happen to make a surprise visit.
Remote Monitoring: One of the greatest advances of security systems in recent years is the option to monitor your home, even when you are far from it. This feature adds a level of security one could not have even dreamed of in the past. You can monitor different areas of your home and property from your phone, iPad, or other device when cameras are set up on the premises. You can also adjust the features of your home’s security while you are away, such as locking and unlocking doors and activating, or deactivating, alarms. Professional monitoring services can also alert you when the system is triggered.
Discounts on Homeowner’s Insurance: Having an alarm system can help to reduce your homeowner’s insurance. Check with your insurance agent to see what kind of discounts may be offered.
When it comes to home security systems, many options exist. The question you need to explore, and ultimately answer, is “Which system is right for me and my home, based on my unique situation, location, and concerns?” Understanding the different systems and how they will work will help you make an informed decision about which would be best for you. Here is helpful information about these several types of systems, comparing and contrasting what each has to offer, so you can make an educated decision about the kind of system you are most interested in.
While equipment and packages vary, there are two core types of home security systems – Full Service and Do-It-Yourself, or DIY. Finding out which type of system is best for you is a good place to start in deciding what you want in your own security system. Researching the pros and cons of each will help you to understand what type of system might work for you.
Type 1: Full Service
This type of home security system is for those who want maximum security with a minimum amount of hassle. You will not be involved in the installation process, which is a big selling point for those who are less than technologically savvy. A service technician will come to the home and assess its unique security risks in order to devise the most effective home security plan. This ensures that your home is electronically guarded. The security company will do all the service work from risk assessment to installation and testing, and they will train you on how to successfully use the control panel. They conveniently walk you through the entire process of your new system, educating you on the “ins and outs” of your system, so you don’t have to worry about being confused or overwhelmed.
There are many advantages of the Full Service approach. By choosing this option, you get professional guidance on security risks you may not have been aware of or could have covered on your own. They can offer you solutions that you didn’t know exist, which may be better suited for your home’s unique needs. The security company will also have a handle on what is going on in your particular neighborhood and can help make you more aware of possible criminal activity in your area. They provide the training and expertise you may not have and can set up your system, ensuring that it works perfectly.
A possible drawback to the Full Service home security approach is that it is more expensive than a Do-It-Yourself option. In exchange for the several conveniences of this approach, you understandably pay more for the process. However, you enjoy the advantage of getting a system that requires no work on your part, which can be great for those who spend long hours at the office and have no time to learn how to install a system, or for those who do not feel confident in their abilities to do so.
While the cost of a Full Service system may be higher, it does come with additional features that are quite valuable, including 24×7 professional monitoring. This allows the customer to feel completely safe, knowing that if something were to happen, authorities would be alerted immediately. The security company also regularly checks the system remotely to ensure that the system is working and up-to-date to provide additional peace of mind that the system is working the way it is intended to work.
Type 2: Do-It-Yourself
On the other hand, if you do have some talent with tech gadgets, you may want to take the do-it-yourself approach. You won’t be left totally without aid, should you need it, as there are plenty of companies that will send you a home security package on how to install and provide in-depth guidance during the installation.
The biggest advantage to the DIY approach is that it offers a more flexible way to build your home security system. You can choose the features you want to customize a system for your family’s needs. You can choose the offered 24×7 monitoring service or opt out of it. Choosing not to have this service will likely result in a lower cost of the overall plan. You have a choice of different vendors that allow you to get a do-it-yourself package with or without professional monitoring.
The drawback to the DIY approach are easy to see. It can be challenging to set up your own equipment and test it out to make sure it works correctly. It may be intimidating to worry about whether or not you have set up the system properly, knowing that improper installation could lead to a less-effective system. The DIY approach can require a bit of patience as the customer learns the “ins and outs” of the installation process, which may require more than one call to the security company. However, it is comforting to know that security companies anticipate questions from their customers and work to make the process as smooth and easy as possible.
Now that you understand a bit more about the two different types of systems, take a look at these frontrunning companies that provide security services in your area to find which would be a good fit for you.
Frontpoint Security System
FrontPoint won the #1 spot for ASecureLife.com’s “Best and Most Affordable Security System in 2016” contest. In addition, Houston, Texas Yelp reviewers offer multiple praises of this company, which has a 4.5 star rating in the Houston area. One Houston customer wrote “We’ve been a Frontpoint customer for a year now. I’ve been extremely happy with the customer service, technology and overall experience…If you’re on the fence about what security company to use, Frontpoint really should be at the top of the list.”
Transparent pricing and customer service are among the things customers seem to enjoy most with FrontPoint. In reviews, customers said that when they had problems figuring out what system they needed, they were able to consult with a customer service representative over the phone before they chose their equipment options. Because of the helpful service they received, they did not need anyone to come to their house to do it. If they had installation problems or issues with equipment that failed after installation, they were able to get through to someone from the company and find a quick resolution to their issue.
“Equipment arrived within a week, I was able to set it up in less than 30 minutes.... We are completely satisfied with the equipment and customer service we have received!”
FrontPoint’s system is a complete do-it-yourself package. It is highly flexible. If you want cameras, they offer that; otherwise, you can just opt for motion sensors and door and window locks. Their equipment is completely wireless and offers a cellular monitoring package for no additional cost. They offer a 30-day trial, so if a person decides they do not want the system, they can cancel their service before a contract begins. One point customers should be aware of is that, unlike some competing companies, FrontPoint does not offer a lifetime warranty on equipment purchased. The warranty covers three years of service.
Pricing for the FrontPoint Security System depends on the package you get. The base package starts at $34.99 per month and there is a $99.00 activation fee. You get one console, one motion detector and two window or door sensors with the base package. Two other packages, the Interactive (44.99/mo) and Ultimate (49.99/mo), offer far more features, but come with a higher activation fee of $199.93. Then, you can add on features like cameras or a panic button for an additional fee. You can get coverage for other types of emergencies other than theft, like flood, fire, and medical emergencies. You can add to and take away equipment according to your needs, and the customer service representatives are well-trained and able to answer any question that arises.
Ultimately, FrontPoint is a company that values quality customer service to ensure that your DIY system is properly installed. The system may be a bit more money than competing systems, but several customers throughout the area have offered happy, satisfied reviews about FrontPoint’s services and care for its customers.
Protect America Security Systems
Protect American also received an award for the “Best and Most Affordable Home Security System in 2016”, coming in at 2nd place. They offer a DIY approach that is affordable for most customers. One U.S. customer, on consumeraffairs.com, wrote “I’m really glad I decided to choose Protect America for my security purposes. The price beat a lot of the major competitors in my area and the customer service rep was great!”
One of the biggest selling points of Protect America is its low pricing, which can start at $19.99 per month for the Copper Landline package. There are a total of five different packages to choose from, which allows for a lot of flexibility for a customer who likes options. These several choices can help to customize a solution, and include the Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans. The Copper plan starts with one console, one motion detector, and three window or door sensors. The number of window and door sensors increase with the more comprehensive plans. The platinum package offers 14 window and door sensors. You have the choice to get landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring.
“So far ZERO complaints. Good service from install and so far about 2 months of use. Product support is great. Called several times adding zwave components and customer service reps are always friendly and technically proficient.”
With Protect America, there is no activation fee. The equipment is free too, and offers a lifetime warranty. It is important to be aware of the relatively short trial period, which is 14 days long. After this time, you begin a 3-year contract with Protect America and the security services it provides. This need not be a source of concern, should you choose to move. Protect America provides a system that is portable, and you can get a moving kit and simply move it to your new location.
If you are a customer who is interested in professional monitoring services, know that Protect America does not offer these services. If you are not concerned with this added feature, Protect America is a good company to use for a system for the frugal customer.
Vivint Home Security
Vivint received a 4.5 stars rating from ConsumerAffairs.com with over 3,160 reviews, many in the Houston, Texas, area. Vivint’s system is installed by a professional technician, making it an easy and convenient option for customers. In a review on angieslist.com, one satisfied Houston customer wrote “The service was exceptional. The provider arrived early for his appointment and took care in changing out the defective item. While he was here he also updated my control panel so it would continue to provide me with the protection I need.” Customers who value being taken care of, knowing that their system is working properly from square one, and if any problem should arise, will likely enjoy Vivint’s “take-care-of-things” approach.
Vivint offers a 100% wireless solution. However, they also install the system and trouble-shoot it for their customers, unlike a total do-it-yourself approach offered by competing companies. Through the advantage of cellular monitoring, you have complete control, no matter where you are. You can make it look as though your home is occupied, even when you may be miles away at work or on vacation through the use of controlled lighting. You can also manage the thermostat and control door locks remotely. You get a lifetime warranty on the equipment, which is an advantage over some competing companies, with free replacements. It is good to be aware that after 120 days, however, you will pay for these replacement privileges. If your alarm loses communication with your monitoring station, you’ll get notified. They ping the alarm daily, to make sure it is working correctly. Be aware of the contracts and the lengths of time of each. Contract lengths can be as high as 5 years, depending on how little you want to pay each month.
Because of the “no-hassle” approach, Vivint’s prices may be higher than competing companies. However, the convenience may be worth the price for many customers. Pricing varies depending on the package you choose, and you will need to get a free quote on the company’s website to get an accurate price on the package you may be interested in.
Which System Best Fits You and Your Home?
So which home security system is right for you? Frontpoint, Protect America, and Vivint all have strong systems, each with the goal to protect your home, your family, and your belongings. The question is simply which one works best for you and your own, unique situation and concerns. Frontpoint offers a complete DIY approach with excellent customer service. Should the need arise for assistance, you can count on its team to assist you in any need you may have. This may ease the minds of some potential “do-it’yourselfers” who are not quite yet confident enough to do it completely on their own. They can get the help they need to ensure an accurately-installed system that will protect their home from danger.
For those a bit more concerned about how a system will affect the wallet, Protect America has your interests in mind, offering plans starting at a mere $19.99 month – a hard price to beat. In addition, a Protect America customer avoids fees that may be paid with other companies. A thrifty customer is likely to be pleased with this security company. It is wise to be aware of the relatively short time to make a decision about whether or not you are satisfied with the system, as you have 14 days before beginning your three-year plan of protection with Protect America.
If you lead a busy life without the time to worry about installing your own system, Vivint has your needs covered. A technician will install your system for you and make sure it is working properly for maximum home protection, as well as be available whenever you should need assistance should a problem arise. This is a convenient option that ensures your system will be working just as it should be, and the bonus is that you don’t have to do any of the work. While the price may be a bit higher, the ease of these plans often make them the preferred option for customers. In addition, those who opt for a Vivint plan have the opportunity to get a lower entry price by extending their contract length to a 5-year plan.
The key now is to simply determine the plan that is right for you. What are your priorities when it comes to your system? Whether it’s great customer service, thrift, or a “no-hassle” approach, there is a plan for you. Most importantly, whichever plan you choose, you can rest assured that your home is protected from any potential danger, and that peace of mind is priceless.