The word “contract” usually makes people uneasy. Getting locked into a system or service with the only way out being to pay through the nose doesn’t sound like a good deal, and usually it isn’t.
That is unless you’re working with a provider like ADT. Sure, the terms of their contracts are long, but there are plenty of protections built in that make it so you won’t have to shell out additional cash if you want out.
We’re going to unpack everything in just a second, but first, a word about ADT.
ADT is a pioneer in the field of home security. They started way back in 1874, with a telegraph-based “call-box” that could signal for help in a community of 50 homes.1 From there they added live monitoring with security guards called “roundsmen.” All these years later, ADT is still going strong as one of the best home security systems in the industry. They’re known for high-quality equipment, reliable monitoring, and smart home automation.
Fast Facts/Overview of ADT Contracts
There are four ADT security plans to choose from. Before we talk about them, here’s a quick breakdown of these packages for context:
ADT Security Plan Breakdown
|ADT Plan||Monthly Price|
|ADT Basic||$28.99 per month|
|ADT Secure||$55.97 to $60.97 per month|
|ADT Smart||$65.31 to $70.31 per month|
|ADT Video||$75.47 to $82.14 per month|
These plans wrap in the cost of basic equipment, but there are add on options available as well. Professional installation of your equipment is also required, and will require a one-time fee of around $100. Note that these prices are averages, and will change depending on your personal security needs.
FYI: We tested ADT in our home and found their protection + home automation + video package to be stellar. It had lots of smart home features, and the ADT Pulse — Now called ADT Control — app made it easy to control everything right from our phone.
ADT Contract Length
The standard ADT contract is 36 months, unless you live in California, where it’s only 24 months. Once the initial contract period is up, you will automatically roll over into a month-to-month contract that you can end at any time without penalties provided you give the company at least 30 days’ notice.
Also worth noting is that there is a six-month, money-back guarantee on ADT security systems (just be sure to read the fine print). This means you’ll have plenty of time working with the system in your day-to-day routine to determine whether or not it’s right for you.
Early Termination With ADT
If your six-month trial period is up and you decide you want to end your contract early, this is considered an early termination, and it will cost you. You won’t be on the hook for the balance of your contract, but you will have to pay 75 percent of what the remainder would be, due in full upon the termination date.
There are also special offers for ending your contract early if you’re moving and will be setting up an ADT plan at your new home. And also keep in mind there’s a clause for early termination when service charges are increased. (See Increases in Charges below.)
If you’re moving, heads up – ADT makes it really easy to take your system with you, meaning you won’t need to cancel the contract and pay to settle the account. There are also clauses in the contract that eliminate or decrease termination fees if services charges increase. More on that below.
Pro Tip: Before signing an ADT contract, it's a good idea to know what your other options are. Check out our top picks for ADT alternatives.
Increases in Charges
We will hand it to ADT here, if they increase their prices during your initial contract period, you have 30 days to object to the rate hike in writing. If ADT doesn’t adjust your price, you can terminate without a fee.
This is a great protection, and very few services — home security or otherwise — normally don’t offer this type of language in their contracts.
ADT’s Additional Charges
There may be some additional charges, depending on your circumstances. For example, if a local construction/alarm permit is required, you’ll be responsible for that fee. If you've used a DIY security system before, this may be a bit different for you. DIY systems typically don't have extra fees. The good thing is that any of these extra charges with ADT will likely be one-and-done. Just be sure to ask your ADT sales agent to tell you every additional charge in advance so you won't be surprised.
Missed Payments or Breach of Contract
If you miss payments or fail to honor the terms of your contract, ADT has the right to stop providing security monitoring services, and to repossess or disable your equipment, without notice. They also have the right to charge late fees for each month a payment is not made, as well as interest on any unpaid amount. If you miss payments for more than 90 days, they may report you to a consumer reporting agency.
Pro Tip: ADT is one of the best home security systems out there, but there are plenty you want to avoid. Read this guide to some of the worst home security systems out there to help you make the most informed decision you can when determining which service is right for you and your family.
At first glance these may seem rather strict terms, but they’re really quite typical and fair for a long-term commitment. Just be sure you’re able to meet them before signing so you don’t end up getting in over your head.
Any equipment ADT installs in your home remains their property unless you have a written agreement with them that says otherwise. This means you’re basically paying to rent ADT equipment for the duration of your contract. At the termination of your contract, ADT has the right to remove, disable or abandon any of the equipment they own. Typically, they’ll simply leave the equipment on the house, and you (or a new owner, if you sell) can re-activate service at any time. If you have existing, previously-installed equipment at your house when you start your ADT contract, that equipment is, and will remain to be, your property.
Theft Protection Guarantee
ADT will pay up to $500 of your homeowner’s insurance deductible if you’re the victim of a burglary while your ADT system is active.4 This is a rare guarantee in the home security biz! It shows ADT is confident their system will keep your home safe — and that they're willing to put their money where their mouth is if they're wrong.
Keep in mind that you may very likely be able to get a discount on your home insurance simply for having a professionally monitored home security system installed. When you add in this extra guarantee of theft protection, you get some real peace of mind.
FYI: When you choose ADT, you're choosing 24/7 professional monitoring from the largest home security provider in the country. ADT ranks high on our list of best home security systems with monitoring.
When you sign an ADT contract, you get a 90-day limited warranty on equipment. A limited warranty is standard in the industry, but this one is pretty short compared to what's offered by other industry leaders, like DIY powerhouses SimpliSafe and Frontpoint, whose warranties are three years. Even Vivint, which requires a contract like ADT, has a 120-day warranty. That said, ADT has an optional extended warranty, and they do offer an impressive six-month money-back guarantee that you don't get with other top companies. So there are trade-offs.
While your equipment is under warranty, ADT will repair or replace any defective part of the alarm system, including wiring, using new or functionally operative parts — at no cost to you. The limited warranty excludes battery replacement. And ADT won’t perform warranty services on any device they don’t personally install.
ADT’s Extended Warranty
ADT’s extended limited warranty is called the Quality Service Plan (QSP), which you can get for an additional monthly fee. The QSP will repair or replace any part of the alarm system installed by ADT if the repairs are due to ordinary wear-and-tear or malfunction. (This excludes batteries.)
The QSP starts when your alarm system is installed and operational, and it extends through the end of your initial contract. (Again, that standard contract length is three years, except in California, where it’s two.) When your initial contract period is up, your QSP will automatically renew on a monthly basis at ADT’s then-current QSP rate unless/until you cancel it in writing with 30 days’ advance notice.
Did You Know: If you’re transferring your ADT service from one home to another, ADT will likely have you leave your old equipment behind. They’ll install fresh equipment at your new place based on exactly what you need/want in the new layout.
Moving With ADT
If you’re an ADT customer who’s moving, there are some great discounts you can take advantage of. Check ADT’s website for the latest deals, or better yet, give them a call (at least 30 days before your move date, if possible). They’re going to want to do what they can to keep you in the ADT family.
ADT contracts are specific to the physical location where the alarm system is installed, so ADT will likely cancel your current contract and set you up with a new one at your new home. They’ll walk you through the whole process and discuss any options.
Final Thoughts: Is Signing Up with ADT Worth It?
Like we said at the beginning of the article, contracts can make people nervous. We understand, but after going through every word of this agreement with a fine-toothed comb, we can’t find any major red flags.
ADT offers a generous six-month trial period, meaning you have plenty of time to decide to opt out. By the time the terms of the contract are in full swing, there’s really no reason to be still on the fence of if the service is right for you or not. If you move, the service will go with you, and if your rates go up, you can back out from that as well.
So overall, yes, we will say that signing up with ADT is worth it. They’re one of the best home security providers out there, and the flexibility this contract offers is almost as good as the service itself.
No, ADT only offers home security systems that include professional monitoring, and all plans require a contract. Standard contracts are three years long, except in California, where they’re two years long. If you’re looking to avoid a contract, you may want to check out some of the top-rated no-contract security systems.
If you want to cancel your contract within your initial three-year period (two years in California), ADT can charge you 75 percent of your total remaining monthly charges, due immediately upon termination (ouch). However, if you’ve completed your initial contract period and are now on a monthly renewal plan, you can cancel at any time with no termination fee. Just give ADT 30 days’ notice.
If you’re a current or former ADT customer and want to set up service at your new home, ADT has a mover’s package guarantee that includes a variety of deals for different situations. ADT wants to keep your business. Read their terms and conditions for a full list of relocation offers and qualifications.
Yes, your ADT contract automatically renews, but not for the full initial term of two-to-three years. It renews as a monthly contract. You can end that monthly contract at any time without penalties by giving ADT at least 30 days’ notice.