Life Alert medical alert system

Life Alert Reviews and Ratings in 2021

By Sara Lindberg, M.Ed
Updated May 07, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • More expensive than other medical alert services
  • Requires a long-term service contract
  • Large call center located in the United States
  • Hidden costs and aggressive marketing tactics
  • Mixed reviews from customers

You may know Life Alert from the catchy tagline: "Help! I've Fallen, and I Can't Get Up!" As one of the best-known medical alert systems, this decades-old company is often the go-to for older adults when researching medical alert devices. 

But beyond its famous one-liner, Life Alert does not always live up to its reputation. With expensive monthly fees and a long-term service contract, this medical alert system rarely makes any best medical device lists

However, they do have some positive qualities like a shower-mounted HELP button and a large US-based call center that provides fast response time.

Here, our Health editors highlight the pros, cons, costs, and Life Alert reviews, so you can make a decision that's right for you.

Pros:

  • Excellent battery life. Base unit has a 72-hour backup life, which is longer than many other systems. 
  • Family notification service allows you to designate an emergency contact such as a family member or friend. They are alerted when you activate the emergency button.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation since 1987. 
  • TMA Five Diamond Certification (formerly CSAA). This states the company maintains a high-quality call center service. 
  • Pendants are safe to wear in the shower or bathtub.
  • Wall-mounted HELP button for the shower. 

Cons:

  • Website is not very informative or user-friendly. It's difficult to find critical information such as cost and contract terms. 
  • Use aggressive sales tactics that require you to call for a "free" brochure. Other medical alert systems provide this information on their websites.
  • Must call the toll-free number to find out about cost or contracts. An agent answers and asks right away for your zip code, name, and address to send the "free" brochure.
  • Significantly more expensive than many other medical alert services. For example, Bay Alarm offers a system for as low as $19.95 per month. The lowest Life Alert option is $49 per month. 
  • No automatic fall detection system. 
  • Requires a three-year service contract. Other home medical alert systems like Medical Guardian offer month-to-month contracts.

Cost of Life Alert Medical Alert Device

Unlike many other medical alert systems, the Life Alert system does not publish costs or contract terms. You must call the toll-free number and go through a series of questions, including a request for your address, so they can mail you a "free" brochure. 

To save you the time and hassle of the phone call, we did some research, and here's what we found out. 

  • Life Alert charges a one-time setup fee that ranges in price from $96 to $198. It's not entirely clear what this covers. But at a minimum, it covers installation and setup, programming, activation, and equipment maintenance. 
  • You need to pay a monthly fee of $49.95 to $89.85. The exact service price will depend on the system you choose and any add-on features. 
  • They require a three-year service contract, which is not listed on the website. The fine print in the agreement does not allow termination of the contract unless you die or enter into a 24-hour care facility. However, the monthly fee is fixed during the contract term. 

Life Alert Systems Key Product Features

Life Alert is one of the oldest companies in the medical alert device market. Founded in 1987, this medical alert service is based in Encino, California, with additional locations in Florida. 

Extensive call center: Life Alert employs hundreds of workers, which allows them to have a large monitoring center capable of responding to calls. It also means the call center staff are the only people picking up the phone. The company does not contract out to third-party services. Life Alert claims to handle over two million calls a year.

Emergency monitoring system: Life Alert utilizes a live 24/7 monitoring system for emergency services. The representatives can call for an ambulance, law enforcement, fire department, or other authorities. Plus, the two-way monitoring device allows you to stay on the line with a Life Alert representative until help arrives. 

Wireless range: In general, the wireless range for the in-home system is 800 feet from the base unit, and the average response time after the button is pressed is 15 to 20 seconds. 

Product bundles: Life Alert has various product bundles ranging from basic services to on-the-go GPS alert services. 

Unfortunately, they do not offer a pricing plan online, so you need to call for a quote. That said, here is some information to get you started.

Life Alert In-Home System

The basic in-home signature system comes with a landline or cellular base unit with a wearable HELP button. The wearable HELP button comes as a pendant to wear around your neck or as a wristband. 

In case of an emergency, you press the wearable HELP button and connect with the call center immediately. No need to get to a phone or base unit-as long as you are within 800 feet range.

As the least expensive option, you can expect to pay about $49 per month with a setup fee of around $96. 

Life Alert In-Home System with Bathroom HELP Button

You can add a bathroom HELP button for an additional $19 per month. This button mounts in a shower, bathtub, bathroom, bedroom, or other space in your home. 

The button is big enough to see from a distance and has the word "HELP" in the center. When you press it, a signal goes to a dispatch operator, who talks to you and sends help. 

You can expect to pay about $68 per month for this package and about $98 for the setup fee. 

Life Alert In-Home System with HELP On the Go + GPS

If you want the deluxe package, add the HELP on the Go + GPS device mobile alert monitoring service to the standard in-home system. 

The GPS mobile device is wearable, or you can carry it in a bag or pocket. This unit provides nationwide coverage. With one touch of the HELP button, you can be located by GPS where GSM cellular phones operate. 

You can't talk to the monitoring center, but it does give you some protection when you're away from home. Plus, you don't need to charge the batteries in the pendant. 

While not an exact price, the approximate monthly cost for all of the features is $89 with a $198 setup fee. 

The Bottom Line

Life Alert is one of the oldest medical alert systems available. And while it is a well-known brand, you may want to shop around before deciding on this device. 

Overall, we found the Life Alert system to be more expensive than other medical alert devices. Plus, the three-year service contract is a definite downside, especially since most medical alert services offer monthly contracts with the ability to cancel anytime. 

However, they do have a good response time and offer add-on products like the GPS device that may make it the right choice for you. 

Life Alert Reviews and Ratings

The website does publish testimonials. Unfortunately, they are all positive. While this gives potential customers some helpful information, these Life Alert reviews fail to acknowledge any downsides of the product.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives the Life Alert Emergency Response company a 3.28-star rating out of 5 stars. This is based on the average of 167 customer reviews. 

According to the BBB website, Life Alert has received 233 complaints in the last three years. However, they are an accredited business by the BBB. 

"This company has poor customer service, and the button for safety fell off after a week after I got it. They would not let me out of the contract. So sorry I ever called them!"

-Colleen B (Review from Better Business Bureau) 

"I had chest pains and trouble breathing. The person stayed on the line and kept me calm until the police and ambulance got here."

-Barbara S (Review from Better Business Bureau)

"I called Life Alert twice to get some pricing as my mom just passed away, and I needed something for my dad. They hung up on me twice because I would not give them my full address. I just had 2 questions and they would not answer them for me- I was told they are in 'the free brochure they will mail me.'  So ridiculous. They just lost a customer."

-Terry N (Review from BestCompany)

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Medicare Cover Life Alert?

The Original Medicare plans-Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B-do not cover medical alert services. But, a Medicare Advantage plan may cover some of the cost. Contact your plan to find out if you're eligible for coverage. 

Is Life Alert any good?

Health editors found that while the company offers a fast emergency response, the cost of Life Alert is much more than other medical alert companies. Combined with customer service complaints, aggressive marketing, restrictive contracts, and hidden fees, Life Alert is not one of our top choices in medical alert systems. 

Does Life Alert offer a warranty?

Life Alert offers a lifetime warranty on the equipment. That said, you need to have the contract and read the fine print to know exactly what is covered. 

Does the system require a landline? 

You do not need a landline to use Life Alert systems. They offer a cellular option for a low fee. 

What is the Technical Support for Life Alert?

Life Support systems technical support is available 24 hours a day, except on Sunday. Plus, they have a mobile app available with iOS and Android. 

Do they charge for shipping?

Life Alert ships for free, and they do not require an equipment fee. That said, there is a setup and activation fee.

Does AARP recommend a medical alert system?

While AARP recommends a medical alert system for seniors, they do not endorse a specific brand. 

Sara Lindberg is a mental health and fitness expert who enjoys writing about health, wellness, nutrition, parenting and education. With a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a master's degree in counseling, she's spent the last twenty years helping people improve both their physical and mental health. Her work has appeared in publications such as Healthline, VeryWell Health, VeryWell Fit, Livestrong, Men's Health, SheKnows, Runner's World and many more.