Best Home Security System for Frequent Travelers

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Best Home Security System for Frequent Travelers

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Shutterstock ID: 567476830, Photographer: Sensay
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    All products featured on TravelAwaits are independently selected by our writers and editors. We may earn commission when you click on or make a purchase via our links.

    You should know two things about me: 1. I love to travel, 2. I’m really bad at remembering seemingly little things.

    Case in point: I left town last weekend and left the garage door wide open. I drove off and didn’t even think about it. I live in a busy city and, candidly, if I hadn’t done something about it, I would have come home to a very empty garage. Thankfully, my Vivint home security system helped me fix my mistake without even having to go back home.

    More on how that works in a second. First, for those in a hurry, I’ll skip ahead and tell you why Vivint is simply the best all-encompassing home security system on the market, and how it blows away any of its more famous competitors, like Google Nest or Ring.

    Top Reasons Why Homeowners Should Use Vivint:

    • Vivint has been around for fifteen years longer than Google Nest. Think of how much more experience they have had developing their high tech security cameras!
    • Vivint manufactures their camera technology in-house, rather than outsourcing it like Google. As a result, Vivint is able to monitor their manufacturing process more easily and ensure a higher quality product.
    • Vivint produces a security camera system with more refined technology than Ring. Ring is also owned by Amazon, which isn’t devoting nearly enough resources to ensuring Ring is on par with Vivint’s refined output.
    • Vivint is so much easier to set up and is a higher quality than anything ADT or Frontpoint are putting out, but more on my experience with those later. There is simply no comparison to be made between the companies: Vivint will always beat them in every category.

    Now let’s get into one of the most important aspects: The cost, and specifically how accommodating it can be to your wallet and preferences.

    Vivint Smart Home Security System Cost

    Monthly, we pay $44.99/month for Smart Video monitoring. But there are so many different options to meet your exact needs and budget. You can either buy the equipment outright or finance it at 0% APR. Here’s a breakdown of their current plans. I’ll also include the exact pricing for each of Vivint’s security items you can have professionally added to your home:

    Vivint PlanMonthly PriceInstallation FeeFind Out More
    Smart Security$29.99/mo.$49.00Talk To A Vivint Rep
    Smart Home$39.99/mo.$49.00Talk To A Vivint Rep
    Smart Home Video$44.99/mo.$49.00Talk To A Vivint Rep

    Here’s the breakdown of Vivint’s three tiers:

    • Smart Security Plan: This is the bare-bones plan. It gives you access to the mobile app, but no home automation or video devices (like a camera or doorbell).
    • Smart Home Plan: This is the mid-tier plan, offering smart home automation options and the ability to connect to your Nest thermostat. This plan does not include video monitoring.
    • Smart Home Video Plan: This plan includes everything—the app, video support, recording, up to six cameras ($4.99 for every additional camera beyond the first), and smart home automation. If you purchase and use all six cameras, you’ll pay about $70/month for home security monitoring.

    As of 5/11/2021. Offers subject to change.

    Vivint Equipment Pricing:

    • Motion sensor: $100
    • Smoke detector: $100
    • Glass-break sensor: $100
    • Carbon monoxide detector: $100
    • Water sensor: $50
    • Vivint Outdoor camera: $299
    • Vivint Smart Drive: $249
    • Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro: $249
    • Vivint Indoor Camera: $199
    • Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro: $399
    • Vivint Thermostat: $169

    All in, our total cost is just shy of $3,000. Full disclosure, I did add a garage door control later for $99. You can easily call a Vivint rep at (866)514-1296 for your exact quote (and won’t have to be put on hold, like their competitor).

    I also want to mention my top five personal reasons why Vivint is the best security system for people who love to travel (and, frankly anyone).

    Top Reasons Why Travelers Should Use Vivint:

    • Everything is controllable on your smartphone.
    • You don’t have to install it yourself.
    • You can have custom alarm codes for your dog walker, plant waterer and house sitter.
    • You can see and talk to delivery drivers from your phone, and even tell them where to hide your packages.
    • You can control your locks, garage door and lights remotely, making it look like you’re home.

    This is the third home security system I’ve personally tried. I’ve also had ADT and Frontpoint and I literally threw my Frontpoint system in the garbage (I’ll get to that story… it involves a lot of sitting on hold and ripping self-installed sensors off the wall).

    Comparatively, Vivint had better sign-up incentives, was better rated by our neighbors, and offered MUCH better customer service.

    Why You Need A Home Security System

    We have a Doberman Pinscher and a Labrador. Ours is probably not the house a bad guy is going to choose to break into. That said, when we travel, we often board our pets, so we wanted a backup system.

    The biggest reason to get a home security system is that it serves as a deterrant. If a bad guy sees your Vivint security sticker, camera, or automated lights turn off and on, they may choose to find an easier target.

    The second biggest reason to get a home security system is for the home automation. Remember earlier when I mentioned I left the garage door wide open when I left town? Well, I got an alert on my smart phone, saw the garage door was open and was able to close it remotely from my app. I can also activate the alarm, turn my lights on and off and unlock the house. I can keep an eye on the front porch and yard with the security cameras, and if anything is amiss, Vivint’s team is standing by to send help.

    The starter kit that I bought includes the smart Vivint touch screen hub, two door/window sensors, a motion detector, a water detector, and a credit of $100 for extra sensors. Here’s an overview of the rest of the A La Carte Pricing (reminder: prices are subject to change):

    How Vivint Works

    Thankfully, not DIY. I’ve been down that road before. Remember earlier, how I told you I threw our Frontpoint system in the garbage? That was the last home security system we had. Within two years of self-install, our panel battery died, and sensors on 3 doors and two smoke detectors all malfunctioned.

    Unfortunately, when this happens on a DIY system, there is no option for in-person support. You have to call customer service, sit on hold for 90+ minutes (in one call, it took 6 hours for a call back), and then they have to walk you through the troubleshooting over the phone. By the end, I was fed up. I ripped our remaining system off the wall and started searching for alternatives.

    Our Vivint installers were polite, knowledgeable and courteous. The whole job took about four hours. The only annoying thing was that they make you watch these installation videos on their iPads verifying that you agree to everything that they’re doing. Other than that, everything was perfect.

    Vivint Smart Device Capability

    Vivint works with several third-party Z-Wave devices (locks, lights, outlets, speakers, and thermostats). I know personally, it works with SimpliSafe, Nest, and Logitech.

    How Is Vivint Security Monitored

    That’s one of the biggest selling points, in my opinion. Vivint comes with 24/7 monitoring. When a sensor is tripped and I don’t immediately disarm, I get a text, an alert on my phone and a call from the Vivint monitoring service. You can set up custom alerts (like the one I set up alerting me the garage door is open). This can all be customized via the app or the Smart Hub panel.

    Does Vivint Require a Contract

    There are two options with Vivint. You can purchase all your equipment upfront or you can finance it. If you choose to finance, a 60-month contract is required. If you buy everything up front, you can have a month-to-month contract.

    How To Contact Vivint Customer Service

    You can call 800-216-5232. Every time I have called customer service, I’ve received prompt attention and have never waited on hold for longer than five minutes (unlike Frontpoint). You can also chat with a customer service agent online.

    What To Consider When Shopping For Home Security

    If you’re a frequent traveler, or even are away from your home for a period of time, you want to know your home is safe and sound while you’re away. You want to make sure the system won’t go down even if the power is out, monitoring is available 24/7, and that you can check in from anywhere in the world.

    If you’re concerned about price, there are cheaper options out there. That said, I’ve been there and it’s not worth the headache. Personally, it’s worth spending a little more up front to not have to worry while you’re away.