Professional monitoring is a worthwhile companion for your home security system since it mobilizes people when your alarm goes off. These professionals can send emergency responders directly to your home, which is especially crucial if you’re unable to call 911 yourself.
From a cost perspective, the monitoring fee is the most expensive part of most security systems, costing an average of $31.65 a month across the 170 national and local security providers we’ve researched over the past two years.
In general, monitoring that costs less than average is a good value because you won’t find many contracts, but you will pay more up front for equipment.
Because monitoring is a monthly fee, it adds up over time, like a cell phone plan.
Here’s a quick reference of expenses based on several price points to help you visualize the cumulative cost of home security monitoring:
The contract lays out what you owe if you cancel early, usually a percentage of your monthly monitoring payments. Here’s a quick list of termination fees from some national providers:
- ADT: 75%
- Alder: 90%
- Brinks: 100%
- Link Interactive: 75%
- Vivint: 100%
Except for Alder and Vivint, all of the providers above sell contract-free options as well:
- ADT: Blue by ADT
- Brinks: Google Nest Secure (uses Brinks’ monitoring)
- Link Interactive: Contact the company to arrange a no-contract plan
Historically, the biggest complaint about the cost of alarm monitoring is canceling it. While there are a ton of no-contract DIY security systems that don’t charge you a dime to cancel, you should always be ready to thumb through a contract if you choose professional installation.
If you plan to use a home security system for longer than a particular brand’s contract, you won’t have trouble switching later. Most contracts roll over to a monthly payment after ending. Still, always check with your provider to make sure it doesn’t renew for a longer term.
Another benefit of contracts is that you won’t pay a lump sum for your new equipment when you sign up for a monitoring service.
Check out our guide to professional and DIY installation to learn more about how each type of system approaches contracts and monitoring.