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Should you sign alarm contract for your personal residence if serviced by your company

May 16, 2024
Should you sign alarm contract for your personal residence if serviced by your company
          Should I sign an alarm contract for my personal house with my alarm company?
I can see how it makes sense from a liability standpoint in the event of a loss.  Should I also be charging myself for monitoring? Would $1 a month be enough to make the contract hold weight in the event of a claim or do I need to charge standard rates? 
          A great question and I am sure most of you are second-guessing the answer because most of you have not signed a contract with your alarm company. 
          It’s a good idea; easier than “finding” a contract if the need arises. And, when would that be?
          I think Ryan hits the nail on the head focusing on liability issues.  There could be a massive loss [use your imagination to pick the casualty or cause].  You or others in your residence at the time or otherwise affected, suffer loss to property or person.  The loss could be covered by insurance or you or others affected simply want to look for a deep pocket to recover for the loss.  Could be the alarm equipment or service may have contributed to the loss [not a position I would typically take].  Who is at risk?
          Your alarm company if it was involved with the alarm or alarm services.  Your central station if what may have gone wrong involves monitoring, and that puts your alarm company right back in the mix because it indemnifies the central station; same of some of the software providers and manufacturers. 
          I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some fine print in your E&O coverage that you won’t be covered for a loss to your personal property [the insurance experts are welcome to comment on that issue]. 
          Certainly your central station is going to be looking for your contract; your E&O carrier as well.  If you don’t have a contract, even if the claim is covered, you may find the central station and your carrier souring on continuing to do business with you. 
          Keep in mind that a claim for a loss need not be made by you; it can be made by your carrier through subrogation or by third parties affected by the loss.  Those claims would be out of your control but you would certainly be blamed for the claims, especially if large enough to really matter.
          What’s the downside to signing a contract with your company?  None.  Do you need to charge $1.00 per month or for the entire contract terms?  No.  While contracts do need to be supported by “consideration” that doesn’t always mean money.  The lawn sign in your yard, or the company’s bragging rights that it services your alarm, might be enough consideration. 
          So, the answer to the question is yes, have a contract and for consideration you can put “$0.00 and other consideration”

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301