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 security system's costs and paying them over time.
What Type of Contract Length Can I Expect from Security Providers?
Pros and cons of longer security contracts
In addition to a smaller monthly payment, a longer security system contract (usually) offers the following perks:
- Free lease of security system components
- Free equipment repairs or replacements
- Discounted rate on service calls
- A security consultation
- Professional installation
But here's the trade-off:
- You'll face cancellation penalties if you back out of the contract early.
- You can't keep the equipment if you move.
- You have to pay for the equipment if you fail to return it once the contract ends.
- You usually have to be a homeowner and pass a credit check.
Make sure you understand what you're getting out of a security contract before you sign.
Month-to-month (no contract) security
Ever since SimpliSafe burst onto the scene in 2006, it's been easy to find month-to-month or no-contract security systems.
You pay for the monitoring service on a month-to-month basis, so you're never on the hook for hundreds of dollars if you cancel. Some companies, such as Abode, let you buy monitoring in 3-day or 7-day bundles.
But you can't lease security equipment for free without a long-term contract. Instead, you'll have to pay for all of the equipment upfront, finance the equipment with a loan (usually through a third-party lender), or already have some equipment that the security company can connect to and monitor.
Check out the best security systems for renters to see our recommended month-to-month security systems.
Compare the best home security systems
Starter equipment price
Smart home compatibility
|DIY or Pro||$19.99/mo.||Best overall home security||$245.00||No||Amazon,||View packages|
|Professional||$29.99/mo.||Best theft-prevention||$599.00||No *||Amazon,|
|Professional||$28.99/mo.||Most trusted security brand||$0.00||Yes||Amazon,|
|DIY||$20.00/mo||Best budget-friendly pick||$199.99||No||Amazon, Google, Z-Wave||View on Amazon|
|DIY or Pro||$24.99/mo.||Best DIY equipment options||$129.00||No||Amazon, Google, Z-Wave||View packages|