How much do you know about the crime that happens in the area where you live? If you’re like most, it may be quite a bit less than you might care to know. Crime varies from city to city across the nation, but the fact is that, no matter where you live, some level of crime exists. Being educated about the possible issues that can arise, even in your own area here in San Antonio, can help you become more prepared to defend your home and your family against any possible dangers that could occur. Did you know that one of the biggest criminal threats in San Antonio is property crime? This includes any crime against your home and the surrounding area, which encompasses theft, burglary, larceny, vandalism, arson, and motor crime. Is your home protected against these potential threats?
As many say, you don’t need to fear as long as you are prepared. And one of the best ways you can be prepared is by arming your home to defend against these threats with a home security system. Because of great advancements in technology, home security is unlike anything in the past. It offers multiple features working together to provide complete home and property protection. This protection allows for greater peace of mind and several other benefits as well.
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.
Burglar Deterrent: Criminals look for easy targets. They look for homes that would be easy to slip in and out of without being noticed by homeowners or neighbors. Having a system is a large deterrent, as it poses more of a threat of being caught – a threat many intruders would rather avoid. In this way, a home security system often does its job before someone even steps foot on your property.
Protection From Other Threats: A home security system does not simply keep the bad guys out, but it also helps to protect against other dangers to you and your home. Features can be provided to keep you safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, fire and smoke, and even alert you if flooding occurs.
Cellular Monitoring: Like never before, those with a security system can now keep tabs on, and even control, the functions of their system without even being at home. Through cellular monitoring, homeowners can easily lock and unlock doors, control lighting, adjust temperatures, and view the activities of their home through cameras. They can adjust household appliances that may have been forgotten in a rush to get out the door.
Discount on Homeowner’s Insurance: Often, those with a home security system can qualify for a discount on their homeowner’s insurance. This is a perk many don’t consider when purchasing a system, but it is a benefit that can save you money each month, which is certainly a bonus.
The first thing you need to know about security systems is that there are two main types, which are Do-It-Yourself and Full Service. Deciding which works best for you is a good place to start when becoming educated about the various options security systems offer.
Type 1: Do-It-Yourself
A Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, type of system is for those who don’t mind doing the installation themselves. It can be relatively simple, and it often does not require any drilling or hammering to get the job done. Some homeowners prefer this approach, as it gives them a chance to be part of the process and an opportunity to learn, and even more than that, it can often be a lot cheaper than a professional installation. In addition, many enjoy the flexibility that can come with a DIY plan, as they can often choose which exact features to include in their home.
One possible negative to the DIY approach is simply the fact that it can sometimes be more frustrating, as the homeowner is not a professional and may have questions along the way. However, those who choose this route can rest assured that security companies anticipate questions and concerns and are available to help, whether it be through an installation manual, or an online or phone chat with customer service.
Type 2: Full Service
The Full Service option is for those who would rather not perform the installation themselves. A professional technician will come to your home and install the system. This is an option that is great for many, as it requires no work, time, or headache on their part. Many homeowners need to spend time at work or with family and simply do not have the time, or perhaps the talent, to get the job done themselves.
When you opt for the Full Service system, you enjoy the perk of knowing the system was installed correctly. A technician can also give you tips about your system in relation to your own home and help you understand any additional ways you can protect your home from danger.
Because of the convenience of this option, it can, understandably, be more expensive than the DIY option. For many, this is a worthwhile trade, knowing that the system is correctly installed with no labor on their part.
Now that you understand the difference between a DIY and Full Service approach, here is some helpful information on three leading companies in San Antonio, to further your understanding of the options available to you.
Frontpoint Security System
FrontPoint was awarded the #1 spot for ASecureLife.com’s “Best and Most Affordable Security System in 2016” contest. In addition, Texas Yelp reviewers offer multiple praises of this company, which has an above-average rating. In a review on angieslist.com, one pleased customer wrote: “Fantastic deal, fantastic service, A+, I am very happy with the service.” This is just one of the many online reviews that are happy with the service they received through FrontPoint.
Upfront pricing and great customer service are the main reasons customers say they go with FrontPoint. Review after review online mentions the fact that, if a problem ever arose with a customer’s system, they were able to resolve the issue quickly and easily through the customer service department. They also mention not having to guess what they were paying with their plan, but that it was laid out in a way the customer could understand from the very beginning.
“Did a lot of research for a interactive security system on the internet where I could view door, window, motion and cameras from my iphone… Totally satisfied with this system.”
FrontPoint offers controls such as a keychain remote that can lock and unlock home doors from 100 feet away, as well as turn on your porch light to avoid having to walk inside in the dark. It also offers a panic pendant, designed specifically with elderly customers or those with special needs in mind, so that if any emergency should occur, they have easy access to additional help. Sensors for doors, windows, garage entries, and cameras are also available options, as well as sensors that ensure that issues such as carbon monoxide, smoke, and flood threats are easily detected. Should you choose certain additional features, you may have some upfront costs. 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.
FrontPoint offers a 30-day, risk free trial and free shipping. It is important for a FrontPoint customer to understand that the company offers a 3-year warranty, rather than the lifetime warranty some competing companies may offer. However, if the warranty is not a big concern for you, FrontPoint is a great option for those who value easily understood pricing and customer service that will always work to effectively meet your needs.
Protect America Security Systems
Protect America 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 pleased customer, on asecurelife.com, wrote “I love this company! They have been great from the beginning. They have the cheapest pricing with the most protection. They have wireless protection, touch panels, cameras, garage sensors, glass break sensors. The best part for me was no hard-wiring anything and you set the system up yourself! Super easy to do.”
What do customers like most about Protect America? In reviews, most said they enjoyed the low price on the plans they purchased. A customer can get a Copper plan starting at $19.99 per month, which is a price that is not easily found with other companies. From there, they offer four other plans, namely the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans, all increasing in cost as they go. The main difference in these plans is the number of sensors you will receive, starting at 3 in the Copper plan and going up to as many as 14 in the Platinum package. Other plan features can include a Simon XT control panel, motion detectors, cameras, home automation, decals, and yard signs.
“My husband and I have been with ProtectAmerica now for 9 years and couldn't be happier. They really have great customer service that won't quit until an issue is resolved.”
Protect America offers valuable features such as a mini pinpad and two button panic alarm, which are both controls to place around your home. This offers added protection and peace of mind, as you can easily access a second point in the home (should the first be unavailable) to sound an alarm. They also offer home automation conveniences such as appliance control in case you happened to forget to turn off your curling iron before leaving home or want to get some coffee brewing before you even step out of bed. In addition, they offer several choices of cameras, lighting features, and live surveillance features straight from your mobile device.
With Protect America, a customer gets a lifetime warranty on the equipment, as well as a locked in rate for life. However, it is good to be aware that there is no free trial. For those who are not concerned with testing out the plan first, Protect America is an option that is good for the frugal, DIY customer.
Vivint Home Security
Vivint received a 4.5 stars rating from ConsumerAffairs.com with over 3,160 reviews, many in the Texas area. Vivint’s system is installed by a professional technician, making it an easy and convenient option for customers. In a recent online review, a customer wrote “What an awesome customer experience! Had a few technology issues and they not only sent out another tech, but assessed our concerns and gave us further equipment to address all concerns – no charge. This is a company that I’m fairly sure we’ll stay with longer term than the contact dictates.” For the customer who values being taken care of, Vivint is a good option that allows for a technician to do all the install work without any headache on the customer’s part.
Many opt for a Vivint plan because they are well-established and offer several features, which allows for more options and more security. There are three main plans to choose from: Smart Protect, Smart Protect and Control, and Smart Complete. The difference among the plans are mainly the amount of smart devices you can have in your home. With the Smart Protect plan, you can expect to receive 24×7 monitoring, a touchscreen panel, 3 door or window sensors, 1 motion detector, 1 smoke detector, and a Vivint yard sign. With the Smart Protect and Control, you get all the features in the previous plan with the addition of 2 smart home devices. The Smart Complete includes all of these features with the addition of 1 TB cloud storage and 3 smart home devices. Additionally, cellular monitoring comes with all Vivint plans.
Because of the advanced technology and professional installation, Vivint’s services are more expensive than competing businesses, with the base package starting at $53.99. However, the price is worth it to many customers because of the added features, protection, and service they receive.
Which System Best Fits You and Your Home?
Now that you understand more about the types of plans and systems available, and the frontrunning companies that offer these services, it is time to ask yourself which will work best for you and your home. Each company has a particular strength that attracts a certain customer, whether it be FrontPoint’s dedication to “no-guess” pricing and customer service, Protect America’s low costs, or Vivint’s several advanced features and “no-hassle,” professional installation.
Having a home security system in place will ensure your safety and peace of mind. Knowing your home is properly prepared to meet any “would-be” intruder or other safety threat will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable, whether you are away or at home.