Overview of Life Alert
The Buying Experience
When I first browsed Life Alert’s website, I was confused on how to navigate the products. At first glance, it appears that Life Alert offers a Master Unit, a Help Button, and a GPS + Mobile device as separate services. There are no prices listed online, and you can’t make an online purchase. The only way I could learn more was by calling Life Alert, which I’d highly recommend for getting answers to any questions.
Here’s a helpful tip I wish I’d known: The phone number listed on the website only takes you to a call center that can send you a brochure — it’s not the customer service or sales line, so they won’t answer any questions. After a quick Google search, I found the separate phone number for customer service. You can reach the Life Alert customer service team at 1-(800)-338-9090. When I called, a friendly woman named Esmeralda was able to answer my questions.
Quick fact: Life Alert is so confident in their service that the company guarantees a complete refund should the customer pass away from an emergency situation on their watch.
I asked for clarification on their product lineup, and she informed me that every Life Alert customer must have the standard Master Unit for service. You can then get the Help Button and GPS + Mobile device as add-ons. I wanted more details on the systems and their pricing, so Esmeralda transferred me to the sales line to get all the details.
Cindy from Life Alert’s sales team cleared up my remaining questions. She informed me that, rather than offering each system separately, Life Alert offers different bundle plans: one with all three items ($89.95 per month), and one with a Master Unit and a choice between the Mobile + GPS and the Help Button ($69.90 per month). I decided to order the plan with all three items to get the best deal and better understand Life Alert’s services.
Setting Up My System
Medical alert systems are designed for simple setup and use. Typically, you can install them on your own, no problem. However, I’d recommend professional installation with Life Alert. Here’s why:
- It’s less stress for you. Few companies offer professional installation, so I would take advantage of this service. The technician will help you set up your system correctly and find the best place for it in the home.
- A technician may already be on the way. Depending on where you live, Life Alert may have a technician deliver the system to you rather than ship it separately.
- Your activation fee pays for it anyway. Life Alert’s activation fees for both plans are almost $200, and opting for DIY installation won’t save you any money.
While I recommend professional installation for Life Alert, I set up the system myself to get a better feel for the equipment.
Master Unit Setup
To set up my Master Unit, I plugged it into the wall and put on my pendant. I placed the base unit in the kitchen, a central location in my home. To make a test call, I pressed the large yellow and white button labeled “HELP” in red letters on the base unit. It made a noise to let me know it was making a call, and I was connected to a Life Alert dispatcher shortly after. The dispatcher asked if I needed help, and I told them I was running a test using the two-way talk feature. There’s also a small gray “cancel” button at the top of the base unit, so you can cancel the call in case of a false alarm.
Next, I tested the pendant by walking across the house into the living room and pressing the gray help button. I could hear the base unit firing up to make a call, and I was connected again to a dispatcher.
Mobile + GPS Setup
I tested out my GPS unit while running errands and found that it worked easily all over town! There’s no setup involved, so all I had to do was put on the necklace strap and press the help button (also the only button) on the pendant, and I was connected to the response center. I then used the two-way speaker to communicate with the dispatcher.
Setup advice: If you opt for DIY installation for the Help Button, place it in a spot where a fall is most likely to happen (bathroom, bedroom, or stairs), and remember to set it at a height that you could reach after a fall.
Help Button Setup
I decided to place my Help Button in the bathroom next to the shower. To set it up, I removed the adhesive’s covering and pressed the button to the wall. It stuck, no problem. I pressed the red help button and was connected to a Life Alert dispatcher like I was for the Master Unit.
Contracts and Warranty
When I asked Cindy if Life Alert offers a product warranty, she told me the company would cover any defective equipment and provide new batteries for the Master Unit if needed. She also informed me that they have several protection plans that you can add to your monthly service, though she would not divulge what all of them were.
The minimum contract length for Life Alert is three years, which may not be as convenient as competitors we’ve reviewed, like ADT Health, that offer contract-free options. Additionally, the only way to cancel Life Alert’s contract is if the customer passes away or moves into assisted living. However, after the three-year agreement, month-to-month payments are possible.