What should you look for in a monitoring service?
Picking the right monitoring service is just as important as picking the right personal alarm. When you come across a provider you like, one of the first things you should do is evaluate how much information they provide about their products and services. The more diligent providers will want to help you find a personal alarm that’s right for you, and may even ask to visit your home so they can assess your property.
Connectivity and futureproofing
Traditional telecare services operate using landlines. In recent years, personal alarm providers have started moving away from this type of connection in favour of SIM cards as the telecoms industry is replacing analogue telephone lines with VoIP, a newer digital technology.
The migration to digital is going to take several years, with the switchover lasting until 2025. Joining a personal alarm service that doesn’t rely on landlines means the migration to VoIP won’t affect your service or your personal alarm.
In-house monitoring centre
A personal alarm is no good without a 24-hour monitoring service. Before subscribing to a telecare provider, make sure they are accredited by the TSA, the industry body for Technology Enabled Care (TEC), and have a customer care line that users can call to resolve non-emergency and troubleshooting issues.
In addition to verifying your provider’s credentials, ask if their monitoring centre is in-house or operated by a third-party company. Many personal alarm services outsource their monitoring, which means the people who monitor you could be employed by an external provider. By opting for a company that supplies both the personal alarm and monitoring, you know where your device has come from and who is monitoring it.
The cost of a personal alarm service is usually no more £450 per year. Reliable personal alarms services will explain their pricing clearly, breaking down each payment. Most personal alarm services ask for a one-off payment upfront. This covers the delivery and registration of your device.
Once your device is set up, you will be given the option to pay for your 24-hour monitoring. You can pay for this in one go (usually the full contract period), annually or in smaller monthly instalments. Whichever is easiest for you.
VAT is a sales tax added to goods and services sold in the UK. It is taxed at 20%. Products that are used by people with disabilities or those with long-term health conditions are sometimes exempt.
When shopping online, be sure to look for prices that exclude VAT. A quality service provider will advertise these lower prices.
To qualify for VAT exemption, you must either:
- have a physical or mental condition that significantly affects your everyday life,
- a condition that is regularly treated by a medical professional,
- or a terminal illness.