Chicago, IL – While the summer months are an ideal time for a vacation getaway, they are also the perfect time for home burglaries. Homeowners are becoming more aware of this as inquires to the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) about burglar alarm systems are up 30 percent in the past 12 months.
Although no security system guarantees to make your home burglar-proof, a home security system may dissuade criminals from breaking in and alarms often give you more peace of mind. The BBB is advising homeowners, who are looking to secure their property this summer, to do their research when picking a home security system.
“It’s important to investigate the purchase of a home security system with the same care you would any major purchase,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “There are many door-to-door salespeople selling home security systems out there that don’t always have your best interest at heart.”
BBB advises consumers to do the following when looking to invest in a home security system:
- Choose a professional installer.Â The best home security system will accommodate your lifestyle and the specific valuables you want protected. Carefully consider your security requirements and budget. You may also get recommendation from the insurance company that covers your home. Check out the company first and find BBB Accredited Businesses at www.bbb.org
- Contact at least three companies before selecting an installer.Â Find out if they are properly licensed and if they screen employees before hiring. Make sure to check with the Electronic Security Association websiteÂ for a list of member companies that have agreed to abide by the National Code of Ethics.
- Ask about all charges up front. Prices for home security systems will vary, based on the level of protection and type of technology used, so be sure to compare apples-to-apples bids on similar systems. Do not forget to factor in the initial installation charge, as well as monthly monitoring charges. Talk to your insurance agent; some systems may qualify you for a discount on homeowner’s premiums.
- Know the ins and outs of your contract. If your alarm system will be monitored, either by your installing company or by a third-party monitoring center, find out the length of the contract. Typically, monitoring contracts are between two to five years in length. What is your recourse if you are not satisfied with the services provided? Can you cancel the contract? What are your rights if your monitoring company is purchased or acquired by another alarm company? These are the types of questions you need to consider before you obligate yourself to a long-term contract.
- Insist that the installer “walk” you through your system until you fully understand how it works. This will prevent the most common problem: false alarms. False alarms are an indicator of the quality of the alarm installation and user education. Ask for a complete inspection of your property and an itemized written estimate. Review the sales contract closely to ensure you understand exactly what equipment and protection you will be provided.
For more information on finding businesses and consumer tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org