Life Alert Medical Alert System Review

Life Alert is a medical alert system geared toward seniors that sends help during a health emergency, but anyone with a medical or mobility issue could benefit from its services.

Life Alert has built a solid reputation over the decades with superior customer service and dependable response times in emergencies.

Life Alert Equipment

If you visit the company’s website, you’ll see the different pieces of equipment offered to customers, but you won’t find the Life Alert pricing without calling into their sales line. SecurityNerd did just that and was able to get up-to-date pricing without any pressure from the sales team to make an immediate purchase. The equipment is actually free — with a 3-year monitoring agreement you’re required to purchase.

Here are the available packages:

  • Life Alert: This is the standard Life Alert button that you’ve likely seen in commercials. You can wear it around your neck, or turn it into a Life Alert bracelet. It works inside your home within 800 feet of the monitoring station. You can also upgrade to the cellular option where you could press the button no matter where you are and receive help via GPS monitoring.
  • Life Alert Help Button: This button is waterproof and designed to place near a shower, bathtub, or any similar location in the home where a potential slip and fall might be a concern. One push of the button sends you to the Life Alert Emergency Monitoring Center where representatives can have a 2-way conversation with you. Life Alert also uses this button to provide home intrusion protection. If users think someone is breaking in, a press of the button will send help.
  • Life Alert with GPS: Whether you wear it as a Life Alert necklace or carry it in a bag, seniors can push this button to access emergency help no matter where they are located. This means if you fall at the grocery store or outside on a walk, responders can figure out your location based on the GPS-enabled button.

Top features and pricing

There are definitely some medical alert companies that provide more advanced features like fall protection and activity monitoring, but Life Alert is the gold standard when it comes to response times and call center service.

Here are the top features from Life Alert:

  • Waterproof equipment: The buttons are waterproof, which means you don’t have to worry about wearing it in the shower or in the rain.
  • Smartphone app: When customers purchase a Life Alert system, they also have the opportunity to use the company’s smart phone app, which can allow them to contact Life Alert through the app as well.
  • GPS monitoring: Users can upgrade service to take the Life Alert necklace or bracelet with you wherever they go.
  • Intrusion protection: If a Life Alert member thinks their home is being broken into, customers can still press the help button to alert authorities even though it’s not a health issue.
  • Family notification: If a customer presses the button for emergency help, a loved one can also be notified simultaneously at no extra charge.
  • Medical history notification: In the event of a medical emergency, Life Alert staff will be able to alert authorities and first responders about your medical history when they arrive as long as you have it on file.
  • Customer service: Life Alert gets high marks in customer service across the board. The company’s response centers are also CSAA Five Diamond Certified. Life Alert reviews are also very positive and many note how calm and professional representatives are during emergencies.

There are no prices listed on the Life Alert website.  You must call customer service for specific pricing or request a brochure. There are three different options, and each package requires a programming fee of $95.

Here is what our SecurityNerd found out about how much Life Alert systems cost:

  • Life Alert: This is the standard button to use in your home. It costs $49.95 per month, plus the $95 programming fee. Customers can enable GPS to use the button outside the home. The monthly fee climbs to $69.90 with the GPS monitoring.
  • Life Alert with Help Button: This option provides customers with the standard Life Alert button, but adds a waterproof help button near the shower, or anywhere in the house. Customers pay an additional $95 programming fee for the button. The cost is $69.95 per month.
  • Life Alert, Help Button, and GPS monitoring: This is the top tier option for Life Alert systems. For the entire system plus GPS monitoring, the rep quoted our Security Nerd $89.85 per month with $198 dollars in upfront fees, which includes programming for each button.

You are required to sign a three-year monitoring agreement. While users pay month to month, they can also pay 11 months up front and get a month for free. You will be able to exit the three-year monitoring agreement if the customer enters a nursing home, receives 24/7 care, or passes away.

Nerd Pros

  • Response time: If you or a loved one is in need of help, a 20-second response time is a great feature. Life Alert reviews cite speedy service. Seconds count in a medical emergency, so this is an important feature to have.
  • GPS monitoring: While many medical devices offer service inside the home, the downside is there’s no protection if the user moves too far away from the base station, or outside the home. With a GPS monitoring optional as an upgrade, you’re able to bring the Life Alert button anywhere. When it’s pressed, first responders will be able to pinpoint the exact location thanks to the GPS technology.
  • Customer service: While it may be a pain to call in to Life Alert because prices aren’t listed on the website, customer service over the phone is prompt. Questions are answered thoroughly, and customer service reps are professional. Life Alert reviews also signal professionalism and superb customer service during medical emergencies, which can be an important plus in case you actually have to press that button.
  • Waterproof equipment: If you forget to take off the Life Alert necklace or bracelet in the shower, don’t worry because all of the equipment is waterproof.
  • 2-way talk option: Within 20 seconds after the button is pressed, Life Alert staff can hear the user and respond back. Sometimes that means comforting the person until first responders arrive. It is also helpful to leave your medical information with Life Alert, as representatives can communicate that to first responders in the event that you cannot.

Nerd Cons

  • No fall detection: Many companies have better technology that can actually detect a fall when it happens and alert authorities or loved ones. If a customer falls and cannot press the button, that could become a problem. Life Alert does not offer any equipment with fall detection at this time.
  • Cost: There are definitely other medical alert companies that cost less money. But Life Alert was the pioneer of medical alert devices, so customers are paying for the trusted brand and track record.
  • Three-year service agreement: There are other medical alert and security companies who provide medical alert buttons without having to sign a contract. While Life Alert stresses this is not a contract, it is a three-year monitoring agreement that you can’t get out of unless the customer’s living situation changes or the customer passes away. It sounds a lot like a contract to us, so make sure you read the monitoring agreement and know the different scenarios where you’d be able to exit the agreement.
  • No listed prices: Because the website doesn’t list prices for the Life Alert system, it’s tough to know if you’re getting the best deal, or if prices fluctuate. It’s also a pain to call in and listen to a salespersons' pitch when the company could simply list prices on the website.

What to look for when shopping for a medical alert system

  • Types of detection: Medical alert devices aren’t necessarily just for emergencies and falls. Some companies offer features like fall detection or activity monitoring. If a customer wants to get notifications that their loved one is moving around, or perhaps hasn’t moved around in a set amount of time, those features exist. Fall detection allows a monitoring company to know when a customer has fallen without them having to press the button.
  • Price: Make sure to figure out the price of the equipment along with any activation fees and monthly fees. Some companies like Life Alert will offer free equipment while requiring a lengthy monitoring agreement. Make sure to price out your equipment and add monthly monitoring fees before making a decision on any device.
  • Monthly monitoring: Monthly monitoring fees are commonplace in the medical alert system world. There are a few panic button options where customers can just alert friends and family. But if you are truly worried about a serious medical emergency, monthly monitoring is a must-have to make sure first responders get to the emergency in a timely fashion.
  • Range: Some medical alert devices only work within a certain number of feet of the hub of the system. For larger homes, make sure the button will work within range. Or else, upgrade to a type of system that works anywhere with GPS technology.
  • Cell vs landline: There are pros and cons to having the device work on cellular service or a landline. Cellular service is great for most people, but if the customer lives in a remote area, it might not be an ideal option due to poor cell reception. Landline service is reliable, but it can be cut and cause coverage issues.
  • Customer service and brand reputation: When looking for a medical alert device, there are many new options out there with state-of-the-art technology. But sometimes customer service and brand reputation can be lacking.
  • Contract: There are some medical alert devices that can be purchased without a contract. But in many cases, you could be required to sign onto a contract with a chance to get out if the customer’s living situation changes, or if the customer passes away.

Life Alert: The Bottom Line

Life Alert was the first and most popular device on the market to help quickly in case of serious medical emergencies. It’s an ideal choice for people who want to make sure they or their loved ones are protected no matter what in case of a fall or any other emergency health situation.

While a three-year monitoring contract may seem lengthy, it also allows the company to let customers utilize the equipment without additional costs. The packages can be pricier than other companies with more features, but you’re paying for the name and trust with Life Alert.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James Banta

Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.