Are you paying big bucks for a burglar alarm? New self-install kits are available that don't require a landline and only cost $15 each month for monitoring. offers a $200 self-install starter kit for apartments and a $300 kit for homes. Both options feature non-contract $14.99 monthly monitoring, which includes a cellular link to emergency dispatch. The home system includes wireless sensors for complete protection of up to 2,500 square feet.

While this could represent a great money saving opportunity, a lot of people may be leery of self-install system. If you still prefer to go with a traditional burglar alarm monitoring company, here are a few general pointers to keep in mind:

  • Know how many doors and windows you need protected before you get a quote
  • A basic system hooked up to a UL-approved station should cost $15-$20 each month for monitoring. Installation of equipment will be extra, usually $600 to $800 for a typical house. Beware of supposedly "free" equipment because the costs will be built into your monthly monitoring.
  • Never sign a contract. Contracts with hidden rollover provisions are particularly dangerous. If you have a rollover provision, you must contact the company in a very specific way (sometimes even on a certain day) to break your contract without being penalized. If you fail to do that according to the mice type, you're automatically renewed for high-rate monthly monitoring for a period of 12, 24 or 36 months.
  • Most people sign up for monitoring following a crime in their neighborhood. The perceived risk you feel skyrockets when you hear about break-ins, robberies and smash and grabs near your home. That's not the time to shop for a burglar alarm. You never want to make an emotional decision.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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