When you decide to install a home security system to keep your home and loved ones safe, you often expect to pay for the devices and services you’re using. In many cases, these costs can run you hundreds of dollars during the installation.
What you may not know, though, is that in many cases, these security systems will also come with additional one-time and monthly fees as well. What fees and equipment charges you’ll owe for your system varies greatly from one security company to the next, making it even more difficult to estimate the total cost.
Still, it’s important to know what the costs will look like before you get in over your head. The last thing you want is to be surprised by fees after you’ve already signed a contract. Luckily, there are some common costs you can take into account to help you estimate.
Typical home security fees
The fees you owe to your home security company will vary depending on a number of factors, but some of the more common home security fees include:
When you sign up for a home security system, you’ll likely have to pay a fee for a technician to come to your house and install the equipment. This installation fee is usually a one-time expense so you aren’t stuck installing it on your own.
Installation fees generally start between $49.99 and $99, but it will depend on the provider. The fee may increase with more devices, upgrades or sensors, so it’s important to keep that in mind as well.
Some of the more popular security options offer the option of free self-installation, which allows you to save some money on the costs. You could also choose to hire a third-party professional to install your devices, which may have a lower price point than the installer for the alarm company has.
Once your equipment is installed, you may end up paying an activation fee. This fee, often separate from your installation fee, is the cost of activating your equipment. This fee typically runs in the ballpark of $100, though some companies may include this cost in their installation fee. Before you finalize a contract, be sure to ask about an activation fee or look for specific language that references it in your contract.
One of the security fees you can expect to come with most systems is the monthly monitoring fee. Unlike the activation and installation fee, monitoring isn’t just a one-time expense. You’ll pay it monthly as long as you use the service.
In return, you receive 24/7 monitoring of your security system. The amount you pay will vary depending on the company you use, the type of monitoring and the number of devices and entrances you have in your home. Professional monitoring can start as low as $14.99 and go up to $57.99 or higher, depending on the system.
Some companies may also allow for self-monitoring instead of traditional professional monitoring. These companies rely on WiFi and smart technology for self-monitoring. In those cases, you’ll receive text messages or notifications if any of your devices are triggered. You’ll also have access to video feeds if you’re using cameras with your system.
You may also be able to save on monitoring fees by reactivating an existing security system. Let’s say you signed up for ADT security in the past but canceled your monitoring at some point. Rather than paying the normal monitoring fee, they may allow you to sign back up for just $19.99 per month for 24/7 monitoring.
Home security control station/hub
Another additional fee your security company may charge is a security control panel fee. This control panel is the hub of your security system — it’s where you arm and disarm your system and it communicates with the other devices in the home. Because this control station is a critical part of your security system, many companies include it in their initial device and installation fee.
For security companies that use smart technology, your smartphone can serve as your home security hub. For example, the Nest Secure Alarm System allows you to arm and disarm your alarm from anywhere. That said, the company also allows you to purchase a control panel (the Nest Hub Max) for $229.
In addition to the standard equipment and fees that accompany most home security systems, some also offer the option of additional security features, including:
- Video cameras: Video cameras are one of the more common security devices on the market — and they are available from just about every security company in operation. Some providers, such as ADT and Vivant, include cameras in one or more of their professional monitoring packages. You can expect the inclusion of cameras to increase your installation fees, device fees and monitoring fees. The cameras themselves will run you between $150 and $400 in most cases.
- Motion sensors: Motion sensors are another feature you can add to your security system, often at a much more affordable rate than cameras. Many security systems include motion sensors in their entry-level packages. You can also purchase them individually for somewhere between $30 and $50 on average.
- Carbon monoxide detectors: Home security systems don’t just protect your home from intruders — they can also protect against dangers such as carbon monoxide poisoning. Some security companies don’t offer these detectors yet, but ADT offers carbon monoxide detection in all three of their standard security packages.
- Smoke detectors: Most security companies offer smoke detectors as a part of their security features. Many offer it as a part of their standard security packages. Others, such as Vivant, charge an additional fee — about $100 in Vivant’s case.
Whether you’re signing up for a comprehensive home security and monitoring service or going the DIY route using smart devices, you can expect to pay some fees. These costs can come when you initially sign up for the service or happen on an ongoing basis — or both. Take a good look at the common fees to educate yourself on what to expect. Once you’re aware of these common fees, you’ll have a ballpark figure of what it will cost you to sign up for a home security system.