Kristi King, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Home security systems don't have to cost a fortune. But they can.
Washington Consumers' Checkbook has discovered significant price differences among security firms.
To have a home security system installed and monitored for three years Checkbook's secret shoppers received estimates as low as $2,600 and as high as $6,500.
Prices charged by companies that monitor home security systems also can vary widely. Three years of service can cost as much as $1,692 or as little as $720.
Checkbook recommends choosing a company to install a security system that offers flexibility to choose a second company to monitor the equipment.
Paying more doesn't assure higher quality service. Checkbook found some of the lowest priced firms received very good ratings from customers for overall quality of service for both the installation and monitoring of security systems.
Before shelling out lots of cash to have something installed, homeowners might choose to improve home security independently.
Checkbook recommends deadbolt locks for all doors, secure locks for all windows, and good exterior lighting set on timers and or motion detectors.
Burglars also might be discouraged by a dog in the home, or by seeing a sign saying "Beware of Dog."
Why not go with a bluff? Checkbook points out that a home doesn't necessarily have to have a security system for there to be a sign outside warning there is one.
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