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Tips for Buying an Alarm System

  • Obtain at least three estimates and compare the equipment - piece for piece, sensor for sensor.
  • Determine whether estimates are for purchase, rental, or lease to purchase.
  • Find out how the system is monitored. What is the duration of the monitoring contract? Does it include service charges? Where is the monitoring system?
  • Ask for the credentials of the sales representative you are dealing with. There tends to be a higher turnover rate of sales reps in the alarm industry.
  • Find out what the alarm company’s policy is on verification. Does the company phone the residence when it receives an alarm?
  • Inquire if the supplier carries liability insurance ($1 million is the accepted minimum).
  • Find out the warranty period and what exactly is covered.
  • Find out if the equipment is approved by the Underwriters’ Laboratory of Canada, the Canadian Standards Association, and the federal Department of Communication.
  • Get a detailed list of exactly what equipment is being installed.
  • Check references.
  • Make sure the system comes with proper documentation and instructions.
  • Ask who is actually installing the system. In smaller companies, the person selling the system may subcontract the labour and the monitoring through two different companies.
  • Be cautious in dealing with one or two person operations who do not have enough insurance.
  • Be pressured by scare tactics and sales gimmicks.
  • Let the system be connected into your phone line unless you have a Bell Canada approved installation of a special alarm jack.


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