Life Alert ® Medical Alert Systems
- Available on:
- Approximate Price:
$100 + starting from $20/month
Life Alert is one of the most well-known companies in the home medical emergency services space, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best.
The company had an early lead on services, and currently offers a mix of fall and call-button options plus fire and CO detection. Unfortunately, it is currently struggling under a lot of negative reviews because of the limited distance that its service works and the high-pressure sales tactics that it employs when people first call.
Life Alert it is famous for its “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” ad campaign and helped establish the pendant or wristband device that connects to a home base unit attached to your home phone line. The system connects to a Life Alert monitoring service which then calls your local emergency service system.
The big difference for this package is that a professional will install the system for you, so you don’t have to have any tech proficiencies. It also makes it a decent choice if you’re buying a system for someone who lives far away from you.
The system doesn’t necessarily come with a long-term contract, but they do heavily push a three-year contract which will cost you upfront and you’ll not get the money back if you cancel after the initial 30 days.
Life Alert has a single setup that is a little unique on our list. It adds in a little extra to the standard options and has some additional monitoring options that branch off of its base station.
All of its services use the company’s own monitoring center and calls are answered within 50 seconds, though many users say they get a response in closer to 30 seconds. Operators will stay on the phone with you throughout the entire process, even after medical services arrive. This will provide great assurance that you’re not alone during a medical or non-medical emergency.
Life Alert will provide you with a base station and a pendant that has your emergency button. When you select your payment option, you’ll also set up a time for a service technician to come to your home and install the system for you.
Unfortunately, the installation will cost you roughly $100.
The technician will show you how the home unit works – it requires a home phone line – and how the Life Alert buttons work when you need to call for help. When you press the button, it will activate the two-way speaker on the base station, and the company says you can use it for medical emergencies as well as to scare away intruders.
If the company rep hears any dangerous sounds, they will loudly announce that police and an ambulance are on their way. You’ll also receive emergency help if you cannot get to the base station to respond to the provider’s questions about the help you need.
The downside to the base station is that only supports a range of 150ft.
Services start at $20 per month, but Life Alert does not publish other prices and notes that additional services or shorter contracts will raise that cost.
The Life Alert Protection Services also has an option to add different monitoring options to your home. The main addition the service notes are fire and smoke monitored through smoke alarms and carbon monoxide poisoning via CO alarms.
You can also get the “Life Alert HELP” cell phone for protection when you are not at home or if you’re outside of the protection area.
These systems are setup and installed by the technician that Life Alert sends to your home and the detectors will automatically place calls to Life Alert centers and local EMS professionals whenever they detect any danger.
These services add to the cost of your monthly bill, but Life Alert does not provide pricing online – many sites that claim to list the prices differ on exactly what these additional services add to your cost.
Free Information Programs
You pay for a Life Alert Membership with your service and that comes with various free information programs and an assistant to discuss your options. The Life Alert free services will help you out when you need to discuss repairs or help concerning:
- Advising relatives on your health and service
- Contacting the power company
- Dangerous weather conditions
- Electric or water damage
- General health information
- Medical suppliers
- Picking a doctor
- Selecting a phone company
- Using a pharmacy
It is unclear if Life Alert has partnerships with any pharmacies, doctors, medical suppliers or phone companies. They may have a vested interest in steering you toward a program.
“What does it cost?”
When we contacted Life Alert, the company said the basic package starts at roughly $20 each month for a very long-term commitment. Packages can push this price up to more than $50, though we were unable to get a firm number. You will also pay $100 for an installation.
“Do I have to use a contract?”
You don’t have to, but the Life Alert salesperson will likely try to get you to sign a three-year contract. We recommend avoiding these since they have very specific and cumbersome requirements to exit the contract.
“What is its range?”
The base station has a range of 150 feet for the pendant or wrist item. This is among the lowest on our list.
“What monitoring is available?”
The company offers health monitoring via its buttons as well as home intrusion, fire and CO gas monitoring. All of these systems can be tied to your emergency call buttons so you won’t need to get any additional equipment in terms of using alerts.
“How many dispatch centers does it operate?”
Life Alert operates one call center but says that it has twice as many call representatives available compared to its competitors.
“Who does Life Alert notify during an emergency?”
Life Alert will notify the proper authorities or EMS personnel during an emergency – police, ambulance, or fire – plus your family members or another party you designate. You can set up specifically who will be notified and when.
“Is there a warranty on the devices?”
Devices come with a limited lifetime warranty. For a refund, you’ll need to contact the service within the first 30 days. Some users have said they were unable to get a full refund.
“Does the phone have GPS?”
Yes, the emergency phone service automatically turns on its GPS tracker and transmits your location whenever you make an emergency call.
“How long does the phone last?”
The phone’s battery does not need to be recharged often and Life Alert says it will last up to 10 years.
|Good for small homes or apartments.|
|Quick response time.|
|Live 24/7 support.|
|Devices can last up to 48 hours after a power failure.|
|Fire and CO monitoring systems.|
|Emergency cell phone service options.|
|Limited range, so does not work well with a large home or apartment. This likely will not cover you outside of your home.|
|Installation costs around $100.|
|Consumers report very aggressive sales tactics.|
|The contracts presented are not in line with competitors and are much more cumbersome to leave.|
|Rates are higher than many competitors.|
|Devices offer limited testing and do not provide automatic testing.|
|Since rates are unpublished it is hard to know if you’re getting a fair deal or if another discount is available.|
|Costs quickly mount when adding additional services.|
Life Alert handles over two million calls annually. On average, the company and emergency services estimate that one life is saved every 11 minutes with the Life Alert system.
While it has a great history, its current track record is very mixed from reviewers. The company doesn’t do a good job explaining its limited reach, so many have reported problems with being too far from the home to have the button contact EMS. The additional options are very good, despite their costs quickly rising. The additional CO and fire monitoring options seem to be better than many of their competitors’ solutions.
The one thing that makes this not a 100% recommended product for those living in a small space is the current reviews online about customer service. Many adults who have used the Life Alert service – drawn in by the successful ads – say they receive poor help and costs aren’t or limitations aren’t well explained. The complex cancellation terms have also led to a lot of senior confusion and inability to not pay for the system when they’re upset. This frustration seems almost purposeful, dropping Life Alert down on our list.
We do not sell Life Alert products, only review it. We’ve located a great retailer for you to get this service and they can be found at LifeAlert.com.
Have you tried the services from Life Alert? Do you have thoughts you think our readers should hear? Scroll down and give us your feedback so we can help everyone choose the right medical alarm system to keep them safe and sound.