Video: Do I really need a security system?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel and learn how to protect your home, loved ones, and belongings.
In a survey of nearly 100 people convicted of burglary, around 60% said they'd skip a house if it looked like someone was home, such as if the lights were on, the radio was playing, or there was a car in the driveway.3 A smart home security system with smart outlets can help you achieve that occupied look.
Some people said they'd knock to see if anyone was actually home. This is where a video doorbell with motion detection and two-way audio can come in handy. You can talk directly to the person on your doorstep to let them know they've been spotted.
But you might not even have to go that far, since two-thirds of the survey respondents said a visible outdoor security camera was enough to deter them.3
Learn more about how to outsmart a burglar and keep your home safe.
Pros and cons of a security system
The main advantage of a home security system is that it deters people looking for an easy home to burgle. With the right equipment and professional alarm monitoring, you also get a faster response to smoke alarms and can take advantage of a security system's smart home automations. We go into more detail about the advantages of a home security system in this article:
System costs and homeownership clauses tend to prevent people from buying home security systems, but those are old-fashioned worries. Today's home security market meets every price point and has more renter-friendly options than renter-un-friendly ones.
Don't let cost deter you: There's a system for every budget
The cost of a home security system is the main reason people hesitate to get one. You have to think about how much you can afford to pay upfront for all of the essential components of a security system, plus how much you can pay per month for alarm monitoring.
Consider this: if your home is burgled, you're looking at an average loss of over $2,600.2 If you pay less than that for a home security system and the system prevents a burglary, it's money well-spent. And, depending on your policy, your homeowners insurance may be reduced by up to 20 percent just because you have a security system installed in your home.
Also, modern home security systems aren't nearly as expensive as you might think. Many offer equipment financing, free self-monitoring options, and no-contract professional alarm monitoring. Check out our recommendations for affordable security systems.
Renters: You deserve protection too
Renters used to get the short stick when it came home security. But renter-friendly security systems have been around since the mid-00s. You don't have to get a credit check, sign a long-term contract, or mess with your rental's electrical system since these are wireless security systems geared toward DIY installation.
Dealing with false alarms
You might also be worried that a home security system brings along its own hassles, especially false alarms. There's a learning curve, but it's not too bad.
As the new owner of a home security system, you'll need to learn how to prevent false alarms and how to set up sensors so your pets don't trigger false alarms. You'll also need to check your local alarm permit laws so local authorities know who to call to verify your alarms.
Security system alternatives
If you're still not quite ready to take the plunge and choose a security system, you can take other measures to improve security around your home and deter potential burglaries. Some "good but not great" ideas include fake yard signs and guard dogs.
Better ideas include installing outdoor security lights and remembering to keep everything locked up tight. Check out our full guide to preventing burglaries for more tips.