It can be overwhelming selecting a company to protect your home and family. It can also be hard to know what to look for.

Here is a list of the top 10 things to look for in a home security system. Once you’ve found a couple companies that fit these criteria, then compare price.

1. Professional monitoring with TMA 5-Diamond rating

Make sure you select a system with professional monitoring. It is tempting to go the DIY route with self-monitoring, but then you are depending on seeing text notifications about safety of your home.

Professional monitoring stations are accredited by The Monitoring Association. Those that receive a 5 Diamond rating are considered the best in the industry. Always check to make sure the company you are considering has this rating and ask for their average response time.

2. System that uses one app to control all security and home automation devices

You will be able to do so much more with your system when all smart home and security devices are controlled through one app. For example, with a monitored smoke detector and smart thermostat you can set your HVAC system to turn off when smoke is detected so it is not moved through your home. When you add smart lighting control to your security, then you can set your lights to flash when the alarm is triggered.

3. Customer support

Before you sign an agreement with a company, give them a call to see how support is provided. Is the phone answered by a person or do you have to go through automated prompts? Could the person provide the answers you needed?

A local company is often able to provide the best customer support.

4. Secure, password-protected system with no outside access

If your security system uses a smartphone app, make sure a password is required to access your system. If you plan on having security cameras as part of your system, make sure YOU are the only person who will have access to your video and ensure you are comfortable with the encryption.

If your system works with voice control, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, make sure there is an extra layer of protection for the security functions. Ideally, the system uses a PIN or passcode for voice-enabled security.

5. Homeowner’s insurance discount

Professionally-monitored security systems often qualify for a 10-15% discount on homeowner’s insurance. Check with your homeowner’s insurance company to make sure the companies you are considering will qualify you for the discount. You may be required to add fire protection, which most security companies will offer at little to no charge.

6. System that offers notifications

One of the most powerful tools for today’s smart home and security systems are the notifications. See what notifications are offered before choosing a system. Some systems will send a text when a door has been left open or when the system is armed/disarmed. Some systems even offer “unexpected activity” alerts. If doors do not normally open after 10 p.m. and one day a door opens at 10:30 p.m., the system will send a text letting you know. Maybe it is a teenager sneaking out!

7. System that has an easy to use interface

The best systems have a very robust back-end with many settings and user controls. Check out the interface and make sure it seems easy to use. Plus, most users rely solely on the smartphone app to control the system. Is it intuitive? Can you perform most functions through the app?

8. System that is customized to your lifestyle

Make sure the security company is willing to customize the system to your lifestyle. If you rarely have packages delivered or have visitors, do you really need a doorbell camera?

Also ensure the company representative takes time to explain all the options and how they work so you can make an informed decision about the best way to protect your home.

9. Professional installation

Again, it is tempting to select a DIY security system that you install yourself. But, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable knowing that a professional installed the system that is going to protect your family? You’d hate to be responsible for something happening to your loved ones.

10. Warranties

Find out what you will be responsible for if the system malfunctions. Look for a system that includes a warranty. A service warranty will cover the cost of labor, sometimes for the entire term of your agreement. Most companies offer at least a one year parts warranty.