What Type of Contract Length Can I Expect from Security Providers?

When you’re ready to start looking into investing in a security system for your home, you will start to learn the ins and outs of home security system contracts. These contracts are usually long-term but can also be month-to-month, depending on your service and equipment needs. Your home security is crucial to the safety of you, your family, and your possessions, so it’s important to sign on to a security system contract that delivers what you need at a price you can afford.

Average contract length

Alarm monitoring contracts can last from anywhere from 12 months to 60 months, but the industry standard is about 36 months. The length of the contract can often dictate the amount of your monthly payments, to an extent. The longer you are in the contract for, the lower your monthly fees should be. This is usually because you are spreading out the contract’s initial costs (such as equipment and installation) to be paid over time.

Where your money goes

Besides sustained monitoring service, one of the main reasons you sign a contract with an alarm monitoring company is to subsidize the costs of equipment so the company can recoup its investment of time, equipment, and manpower over time. If these companies didn’t offer these types of contracts, you may be expected to pay for the equipment in one or a few larger lump sums up front.

Your monthly bill is split up into a few different parts. One part of the payment covers the monthly monitoring fees. Another part is the partial reimbursement of the initial investment of equipment and installation, including parts and labor. Another is the potential cost of maintenance for the equipment, which generally lasts the duration of your contract. Another is all of the general office overhead, such as vehicles, computers, staff, phone, rent, lights, and so on. Total them up, and you have your contract’s average monthly payment.

hand with pen signing contract

Month-to-month (no contract)

You can find security companies who will offer you security monitoring without a contract. This is especially true of smaller, local security companies, though larger companies may provide you the same deal. You can pay for the service month-to-month on an as-needed basis, so if you need to suspend service for a few months and reinstate it again later, you can do so freely and easily.

Many security companies are willing to do this; however, the question of equipment still lingers. Because you won’t be locked into paying for the equipment you would lease from the company in a standard long-term contract, the company has no way to recoup equipment and installation costs if you were to cancel the contract after one month. So this usually means two things:

1. You will have to pay for the equipment upfront either all at once or in a few larger payments.

2. You will have to own your equipment already and only need the company to monitor it for you.

In the end, when it comes to contracts, you need to figure out which option is most financially viable for you.

The length of your contract or whether or not you sign up for one at all completely depends on how you want to pay for the equipment (either upfront or over time). Different providers offer different security system contracts and contract lengths, so to compare providers to find one that is right for you, you can use SafeWise’s system finder tool. You can also call 1-800-398-2128 to speak to a SafeWise security specialist for more information and a better understanding of security system contracts.


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Data effective 01/29/21. Offers and availability subject to change.
* Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)

SafeWise Team
Written by
SafeWise Team
The SafeWise Team is here to help you keep your home and family safe. Whether you’re looking to pick a security system or identify and remove common risks in your home, we’re here to help you find the best products and well-researched answers. At SafeWise we combine our years of experience in home safety and security with user reviews and feedback to help take the guesswork out of living safe.