How Long Does It Take for My Security System to Notify My Provider of an Intrusion?

When a home security system is breached and an alarm sounds, most homeowners are under the impression their monitoring company is instantly notified of the situation. In actuality, some alarm companies are notified the instant an alarm is triggered, while others use built-in alarm delays for a variety of different reasons.

Some delays can last as long as four minutes before the alarm company’s monitoring center is notified of the event. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with alarm delays, mostly surrounding false alarms.

Protect your property
Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get the latest deals, home security tips, and in-depth reviews.

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

When a false alarm reaches a dispatcher at a monitoring company, they will be occupied for at least several minutes until the situation is finalized.

From the perspective of an alarm company, this is time that same dispatcher could have been assisting a homeowner in an emergency.

Alarm companies typically assess fees above and beyond normal monthly service fees for false alarms, as do cities and municipalities providing emergency response personnel. These costs can range from tens of dollars to several thousand per incident.

When considering a home security monitoring company, it’s important to fully assess the likelihood of false alarms at your house and the associated costs for such occurrences and compare them to your willingness to live with the fact a real emergency may not be reported for up to four minutes.

Check out our System Finder for assistance in finding a home security provider best suited for your needs, or call a SafeWise security specialist at 855-374-4999 for a complete overview of the home security products and services available in your area.


Compare the best home security systems

Brand
Best for
Lowest monitoring price
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Installation
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Read review
VivintVivint
Best overall$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
ProAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
FrontpointFrontpoint
High-end DIY pick$99.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
DIYAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
Reader favorite$229.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
DIYAmazon, Google
CoveCove
Best customer experienceQuote required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
DIYAmazon,
Google
ADTADT
Most experienced $0.00
Icon No  LightYes
ProAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave

Info current as of 04/12/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*$0 due up-front with consumer financing.

†No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.

‡Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)

**With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See full disclaimer for full offer details, terms, and conditions.

Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help everyone find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In her free time, she volunteers at the local botanical garden and writers for the community newspaper.

Recent Articles

security system being installed on wall
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2022
DIY install home security systems are cost-efficient, effective, and easy to install. See which DIY...
Large craftsman style house at twilight with lights on
Best Home Security Systems of 2022
After hundreds of hours of tests and research, plus a combined 50+ years of experience,...
Senior woman hugging dog
The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2022
See which medical alert system is the best to keep you and your loved one...
couple sitting on floor with moving boxes and a dog
2022 Best Home Security Systems for Renters
These renter-friendly home security systems keep your house or apartment safe and require less commitment...