What Organization Regulates Home Security Companies?

No single agency or entity regulates home security companies. Instead, a variety of national and state organizations regulate different aspects of these businesses.

National regulations for security companies

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides consumer protections for a variety of industries, including home security. It protects consumers from scams, misleading advertising practices, and overly aggressive sales tactics—all ways a less-than-honest home security company might attempt to take advantage of consumers.

State-level regulations for security companies

Most of the licensing and regulation for alarm companies and home security providers happens at the state level. Each state has its own guidelines and processes for licensing, and some are stricter than others.

California, for instance, has the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS), which handles the licensing and regulation of home security companies. The BSIS also has strict requirements home security companies must meet to do business in the state, some of which even govern the contracts they make with customers.

Unfortunately, while most states regulate home security companies, not all do. This doesn’t mean that companies can do whatever they want in these states—there may still be county or city regulations they adhere to. You can take a look at detailed requirements for alarm system providers in your state.

How do insurance and bonds factor in?

Many states require that home security companies obtain surety bonds from insurance companies. Surety bonds require the insurance company to pay you, the customer, for damages if the bonded security company you hire fails to meet its obligations.

This is not the same as liability insurance—which all home security companies should have—because liability insurance covers only damage done by contractors, not just poor work. Because of this added liability, insurance companies heavily vet home security companies that apply for bonding. This can provide customers with an additional level of confidence in the legitimacy of a home security provider.

Are central monitoring stations regulated?

The central monitoring stations that many home security companies use are also subject to some oversight. For the most part, this comes in the form of independent certifications. One of the primary inspection and certification agencies is UL, which has multiple standards that monitoring centers must adhere to. The lab conducts annual audits and inspections to make sure monitoring centers are complying.

Despite the lack of a dedicated regulatory agency, home security companies are still subject to strict rules regarding how they do business. If you’re in doubt, ask to see a company’s licensing information. And if you want more information about home security companies or securing your home, take a look at our resources on how to choose a security system.

Protect your property
with our latest home security tips, in-depth reviews, and deals in our weekly newsletter.

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

Compare the best home security systems

Luxury smart home pickReader favoriteWhole-property pickPro monitoring pickNo-contract DIY pick
Brand
VivintVivint
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
FrontpointFrontpoint
ADTADT
blue by adt logoBlue by ADT
Lowest monitoring price
Starter equipment price$599.00$229.00$294.30$0.00$199.15
Contract required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon No  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightNo
InstallationProDIYDIYProDIY
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  DarkAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon, GoogleAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Learn more
Read review

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.

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.