Life Alert is famous for its wildly successful “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials, bringing medical alert systems to the mainstream. Unfortunately, despite its early popularity, our Life Alert cost comparison and review reveals that the company disappoints when it comes to price, transparency, quality and customer service when compared to other reputable medical alert companies.
Our conclusion is, that if you’re looking for a medical alert system, there are far better alternatives available, with no long term contracts, at much lower cost than Life Alert, as the chart below clearly demonstrates.
Life Alert Cost Comparison 2020
Medical Alert Companies
|In-home Landline Cost per Month||In-home No Landline Cost per Month||Mobile On-the-Go Cost per Month||Price Lock Guarantee||No Contract||30 Day Trial Period||Value Rating||Learn More||Free Consultation|
|$19.95||$29.95||$24.95 + $79 fee||Visit Site||(855) 692-0104|
|$22.87||$28.37||$36.62||Visit Site||(844) 263-7216|
|$27.45||$32.00||$41.20||Visit Site||(800) 942-1829|
|$49.95 + $96 fee||$49.95 + $96 fee||$69.95 + $96 fee||Visit Site||(800) 360-0329|
|$29.95 + $50 fee||$43.95 + $50 fee||$49.95/ + $99 fee||Visit Site||(855) 410-3191|
|$29.95||$35.99||$39.99||Visit Site||(800) 588-1934|
|$22.95||$29.95||$32.95||Visit Site||(800) 920-1745|
|$19.95||$26.95||$34.95 + $49.95 fee||Visit Site||(855) 622-5040|
Note: In our experience, we've found the best way to get the cheapest life alert cost for medical alert systems, regardless of provider, is over the phone. Let them know you've done your homework, see what they have to offer and don't be afraid to ask for an additional free month, pendant, lock box or for them to waive shipping, equipment or activation fees.
How Much Do Life Alert Systems Cost?
As you can see from the chart above the cost of a life alert system (medical alert system) varies depending on the type of device you're buying and the company you're buying it from.
In-home landline systems are the cheapest, and you can typically get them for $19.95 a month (fall detection is an extra $5-$10 a month typically). If you're looking for value (low cost with quality product and service), we recommend Bay Alarm Medical, (855) 692-0104. They charge $19.95 a month, no contract, no hidden costs and it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, making it risk free to try, which we love. (New Years Special expires January 27th, 2020)
Mobile systems are a little pricier than in-home systems. However, there are also lot of differences in the type of technology and pendant used for mobile systems, which can impact the cost of mobile systems relative to one another. We recommend an all-in one pendant, with fall detection embedded in it. Our favorite for value is the Medical Guardian Active Guardian system, (800) 942-1829. It's $41.20 a month, no hardware costs, free cancellation (even on the annual plan you'll get your unused months refunded), and we like the all in-one system i.e. you don't have to carry around more than one device. (New Year Sale expires January 16th, 2020)
Our Assessment of Life Alert the Company
We do not recommend Life Alert the company to our readers. Not only does Life Alert cost more than most of its competitors, it offers fewer features and locks customers into long term 3 year contracts, when many competitors offer no contracts with 30 day money back guarantees.
What we found most concerning however, was the high number of customer complaints made to the Better Business Bureau. In the last 3 years, there have been 249 complaints lodged against Life Alert to the Better Business Bureau, compared to only 28 made about Philips Lifeline, another leading medical alert company. Many of the complaints against Life Alert had to do with aggressive sales tactics, poor transparency and inflexible contracts.
- Life Alert cost far exceeds its value;
- Life Alert costs nearly $30 a month more than other leading medical alert companies;
- Life Alert has up-front fees of $96 to $198. Many top medical alert companies offer $0 in up-front fees;
- There is no 30 day money-back period. We are strong believers in try before you buy, especially for seniors;
- You must sign-up for a 3 year contract when most competitors offer month to month contracts and easy cancellation;
- Uniquely long lasting battery for the mobile system, but it lacks a fall detection option;
- Red Flag: Life Alert has more Better Business Bureau customer complaints than any other leading medical alert company in the United States.
Our conclusion is that there are far better medical alert systems available, offering more flexibility at a much more reasonable price than Life Alert, as can be seen in the chart above.
Life Alert Pros
Life Alert owns multiple monitoring stations, all of which are located in the United States. Because it owns its own monitoring stations, and doesn't outsource calls, it has more control over quality and training. Its monitoring stations have also been accredited by a 3rd party and are UL listed.
Monitored Fire / Smoke / Carbon Monoxide
Life Alert can also monitor for fire, smoke and carbon monoxide. The cost is extra, but the service is available.
Long Back-Up Battery Life
If there is a power outage, Life Alert's devices do have a longer back-up battery life than the average medical alert device of 5 days. Most other medical alert devices offer back-up battery power of close to 3 days. It's mobile Life Alert, which uses lithium ion batteries, claims to last 10 years, which would make it the longest lasting mobile system available, although it does not have fall detection.
Life Alert Cons
Life Alert Cost For Monthly Monitoring
The Life Alert cost for the basic system is $49.95 (confirmed by company sales associate). That is significantly more than the average of $19.95-$29.95 per month most other medical alert systems charge. Life Alert basic doesn't even come with fall detection and offers no additional product feature or service that merits a higher price. At a full $20-$30 more per month, we just don't think Life Alert is worth the extra cost.
In addition to its monthly charge of $49.95 for monitoring services, the Life Alert cost also includes up-front fees between $95 and $198, for things like shipping, programming and processing fees. Many other companies offer $0 start-up fees.
No Automatic Fall Detection
One of the big advancements in medical alert systems is the development of automatic fall detection. In the event a senior falls and is unable to press their emergency button themselves, the automated fall detector will call the emergency response center and they will send help within minutes.
Life alert does not offer fall detection. They said they had researched fall detection, but ultimately determined it was unreliable. While we agree that fall detection does not detect 100% of falls, we understand the best systems catch around 90% of falls, we think it performs an essential service and is a great back-up plan in the event the user can't press the button themselves due to shock or loss of consciousness.
Long Term Contracts
Another big drawback of Life Alert, is that it locks its customers into 3 year contracts. Most of Life Alert's competitors have migrated to no contracts, allowing customers to cancel at any time, for any reason with no penalties. Life Alert only allows contracts to be terminated upon death, if you move into a senior living facility or if you receive 24 hour care, however, you will have to provide a letter from your doctor or the long term care facility as proof.
The problem with long term contracts for medical alert systems, is that sometimes people's needs change, especially those of the elderly. Perhaps you don't like the way the equipment looks or feels, you move in with a family member, get a full-time caregiver or simply don't use the equipment often enough to make it worth your while. With Life Alert, you're stuck paying $49.95 a month until then end of your 3 year term - not so with the competition.
No 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee
Life Alert does not offer a trial period, plus you're locked in for 3 years. Many of the leading medical alert companies will give you a 30 day money back guarantee - get your money back, no questions asked - and a month to month contract. This is important for a few reasons. First, sometimes you may find that you or your loved one don't end up wearing your help button. Second, if you order a mobile alert system, you may find that you don't get good reception. Third, you may find it's too uncomfortable, big or unpleasant and want to try a different system that's a better fit.
Lack of Transparency
We find Life Alert's sales and marketing practices less than transparent, especially given their target population. Neither the monthly Life Alert cost, nor its upfront fees are disclosed on their website. When we called, we found they engaged in high pressure sales tactics, which was also a frequent complaint customers made with the Better Business Bureau. We're not fans of the high pressure sales tactics, especially for a vulnerable senior population that is trusting and likely feeling anxious or fearful at the time they're calling for a life alert system.
Lots of Customer Complaints
One way to get a feel for a medical alert company's customer satisfaction levels is to check out the number of complaints lodged against it through the Better Business Bureau. Unfortunately, no medical alert company had more complaints against it than Life Alert - a total of 249 complaints. Some companies like Philips Lifeline, which is of similar if not larger size, only have 28 complaints!
Of the 249 complaints against Lifeline, 157 were for problems with the product or service, 56 were for advertising or sales issues and 35 were for billing and collection issues. We just can't recommend a medical alert company who has so many more complaints against it than its competitors.
If you're looking to get a personal emergency response system, we don't recommend Life Alert. We believe the cost of Life Alert, a full $30 per month more than other leading medical alert companies, plus up front fees of up to $198 and an inflexible 3 year contract, are unfair. Moreover given that other companies are cheaper and offer more flexible contracts, it's unnecessary for you to pay more than you have to and get locked into a long term contract, when there are great alternatives offering the same service.
Despite its early success, we believe the customer complaints and negative reviews as seen on the Better Business Bureau website offer a cautionary tale to prospective customers.
The bottom line is, we believe you can find medical alerts that are as good or better, at far more reasonable prices and much more flexible contractual terms than Life Alert.