Life Alert Medical Alert System Review
- Connectivity: Landline, Cellular
- Monitoring Range: 800 feet
- Battery Life: 72 hours
- Cellular Monthly Fee: $59.95
- Equipment Fee: $95.00
- Fall Detection: x
- Languages Supported: 1 (English)
- Customer Support: Phone
- Additional Features: GPS, Multiperson Monitoring, Wall-Mounted Button:
Life Alert is undoubtedly one of the pioneers of the med-alert system business. Though not the first company to offer medical alert systems, it is the most well-known, and its name is still synonymous with medical alert systems for some people. Life Alert was so famous, its “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” commercials became a pop culture phenomenon.
However, as you will see in our Life Alert medical alert system review, its offer has been bested by its stronger competition. The company’s rivals don’t make you sign long, restrictive contracts, pay additional fees, and they offer features Life Alert doesn’t, such as automatic fall detection.
Even the Life Alert website looks outdated, and the company doesn’t publish the cost of its equipment and services. Furthermore, fees can vary depending on the sales representative you talk to. For instance, if you tell them you’ve spoken to their competitors, the otherwise high installation fee can be substantially lowered.
Life Alert Medical Alert System Design and Major Features
We have to give credit to the veteran company for helping create medical alert systems as we know them today. Therefore, Life Alert uses relatively standard equipment which consists of a base unit and a help pendant.
On the top side of the white base unit, there’s a speaker on the left and a microphone on the bottom right. Moreover, there’s a help button, a cancel button, and various indicators on the right.
Lifeline and Setup
If you’re wondering if you have to have a landline to use a Life Alert system, the answer is no. The unit is available both as a landline and a cellular option. As with everything else regarding this system, you’ll have to call and arrange to get a mobile base unit with the Life Alert sales agent. In either case, the backup battery lasts up to an outstanding 72 hours, which is the second-best result for an in-home system, after Rescue Alert’s medical alert system.
This setup uses a minuscule and featherlight white help button, which can be worn as a medical alert pendant or wristband. The portable button is waterproof, so you never have to worry about getting it wet, and it can go with you in the shower. You’ll never have to think about charging it either—its battery lasts up to 10 years. The pendant range is relatively good at 800 feet, and two-way communication through the base unit is loud and clear.
Overall, we were delighted with the quality of this company’s equipment. The LifeAlert medical alert features one of the smallest help pendants around. Though most other systems have a self-testing base unit, we have to note that this one doesn’t perform automatic testing. It will, however, send a trouble signal if it malfunctions.
Additional Features and Accessories
Fall Detection and Voice Extenders
Other than the essential equipment we just described, this system doesn’t come with many additional features and accessories. If you’re looking to get as many additional features as possible, we suggest checking out Alert1’s offer.
We were most disappointed by the fact that the company doesn’t offer automatic fall detection—especially considering that this company built its entire business on helping people who have fallen and can’t get up. There are plenty of systems with fall detection devices to choose from if this is a dealbreaker for you.
Life Alert also doesn’t have voice extenders, but it does offer wall-mounted buttons. Help in shower emergencies is another significant aspect of its marketing efforts, so you can buy a help button for places where you typically take off your help pendant.
GPS and Other Monitoring
Another feature nearly every other medical alert company offers, but Life Alert doesn’t, is a lockbox. Moreover, it doesn’t provide wellness checks and medication reminders.
For GPS, you can choose the Help On-the-Go model with a GPS system, but keep in mind that it’s pretty expensive. There are other, far more affordable systems, including new Bluetooth medical alert solutions that work with a smartphone.
For a long time, Life Alert used to offer fire, smoke, and CO monitoring, but this feature is no longer provided by this company. On the plus side, it does offer affordable multiperson tracking. You won’t have to get an entirely new additional system, and adding a help pendant costs around $10 per month.
We have to say that Life Alert’s own UL and CSAA 5-Diamond certified monitoring center is one of the best assets it has. According to other Life Alert medical alert system reviews and our experience with using its services, its help professionals are among the best in the business. They will stay on the phone until your emergency responders arrive or until you tell them that the emergency is over.
Response Time and Round-The-Clock Care
Life Alert’s monitoring center will provide 24/7 help not only in medical emergencies but also in the event of a fire or home intrusion, dispatching 911 when needed. Its response times were rather average, around 40 seconds, but always under one minute. One more thing you should note is that its language support is limited to only one language—the agents only offer help in English.
Life Alert Medical Alarm Contracts and Fees
Contracts and Cancellations
Arguably the worst thing about Life Alert is the mandatory three-year contract that you have to sign to receive its services. The company doesn’t allow a trial period, which is a huge drawback in our book because how will you know if any medical alert system is right for you or your loved ones if you can’t try it first?
Cancellation is only possible if you present proof that the med-alert user requires 24-hour care (in-home, nursing home, or a long-term care facility) or if they pass away. You will receive a 100% refund of all services, including the installation fee, if a monitored person passes away while home alone.
Is Life Alert covered by insurance? No, but no medical alert system is. So you’ll have to pay for the monthly services unless you opt for an unmonitored system like the LogicMark Freedom Alert.
The basic monthly fee is around $50, which is more expensive than most of the competition. The cellular option costs around $60, and the costs accumulate fast if, for example, you add another $10 for spouse monitoring. Furthermore, Life Alert with a wall-mounted help button costs around $70 per month, while its mobile system costs nearly $90 per month.
That’s not all; you’ll also have to pay for the equipment and an installation fee in the amount of approximately $100 to $200, depending on the selected package. You can usually get free shipping with or without Life Alert promo codes. Replacements are shipped free of charge if there are issues with the equipment, and a lost pendant costs around $50 to be replaced.
Ordering and Setup
You can only order Life Alert over the phone by calling 1-800-360-0329. We’ll remind you that getting the best price requires some bargaining with the sales representative. They will sometimes ask as much as $300 for the installation, but you can negotiate the installation fee down to as low as $100.
Nevertheless, the company’s technician will need to come over and install the equipment for you. This also means you don’t need to do anything—a professional will set up the system for you. However, you also don’t have the option to do it yourself.
- The most famous medical alert company
- Proven protection in medical and shower emergencies
- Home intrusion protection
- Mandatory three-year contract
- Can’t return the device if it doesn’t suit you
Life Alert is perhaps the most famous medical alert system company thanks to its catchphrase “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” But if we compare Life Alert and medical alert systems from rival companies, we can see that many newer and better services have emerged over the years that make its offer look outdated.
Also, Life Alert requires users to sign a 36-month contract that they can only get out of by permanently going into a 24/7 care facility or if they die. This was almost a dealbreaker for us because you can’t know if a system is right for you until you test it.
Additionally, you can’t get much useful information from the Life Alert website or customer service. Still, we wanted to include a Life Alert medical alert system review and allow you to compare its offer with more modern systems.