Protect America Review: Home Security for only $19.99?

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Protect America was founded in 1992. They started as a small security business and they now protect around five hundred thousand homes. Protect America takes a different approach with home security. While others will charge an equipment fee upfront and offer lower monthly fees, Protect America charges $0 upfront for equipment in exchange for a slightly higher monthly fee. This is one of the reasons they are our #3 pick for Best Home Security Systems. Read on to find out more.

How Much Does Protect America Cost?

Protect America organizes their offers into several categories including Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Unlike other companies, these packages are about the included equipment rather than the actual service provided.

When determining if a Protect America package is a good deal or not, I suggest doing a little math. For example, the Silver Package is $2 more per month than the Bronze package. For that $2 per month you get 3 extra door window sensors. If you sign a 36 month contract, you are essentially paying $24 per sensor.

To jump from Silver to Platinum, it would be an additional $5 per month or $180 for the length of the contract. For $180, you get 5 extra door and window sensors at $36 a piece.

To jump from Copper to Bronze, it would cost an additional $576 over the course of the contract, making those 3 extra door and window sensor worth a whopping $192 each!

Protect America does not charge for installation of equipment as they offer DIY installation. They include a Lifetime replacement warranty on equipment. If at anytime during your contract your equipment fails, they will send out parts or a replacement for free if your issue can’t be resolved over the phone.

To help illustrate the way Protect America’s pricing model works, I decided to create a chart that displays the multiple packages. As you can see, the packages offer equal service but more equipment as you pay more per month. The lower introductory prices for Protect America are for landline monitoring. If you want to use cellular monitoring (which we recommend) or broadband monitoring (fastest), be prepared to pay more. You also pay more monthly as you add other features, like fire monitoring. This can make the monthly fee rather high when compared to other home security companies. The flip side is the $0 cost for alarm system equipment, installation, and activation.

Protect America Monitoring Packages Compared

Package NameCopperBronzeSilverGoldPlatinum
View Plans
Monthly Landline Monitoring Fee$19.99$35.99$37.99$39.99$42.99
Monthly Cost to Upgrade to Broadband or Cellular$22$12$12$12$12
Fire and Smoke Monitoring Monthly$9.99$9.99$9.99$9.99$9.99
Video Monitoring Monthly$9.99$9.99$9.99$9.99$9.99
Installation Fee$0$0$0$0$0
Lifetime Equipment Warranty
24/7 Monitoring
Master Control Panel / Simon XT
Yard Sign
Door/Window Sensors3691114
Pet Friendly Motion Detector11111
Package Name Copper
View Plans
Monthly Landline Monitoring Fee
$19.99
Monthly Cost to Upgrade to Broadband or Cellular
$22
Fire and Smoke Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Video Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Installation Fee
$0
Lifetime Equipment Warranty
24/7 Monitoring
Master Control Panel / Simon XT
Yard Sign
Door/Window Sensors
3
Pet Friendly Motion Detector
1
Package Name Bronze
View Plans
Monthly Landline Monitoring Fee
$35.99
Monthly Cost to Upgrade to Broadband or Cellular
$12
Fire and Smoke Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Video Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Installation Fee
$0
Lifetime Equipment Warranty
24/7 Monitoring
Master Control Panel / Simon XT
Yard Sign
Door/Window Sensors
6
Pet Friendly Motion Detector
1
Package Name Silver
View Plans
Monthly Landline Monitoring Fee
$37.99
Monthly Cost to Upgrade to Broadband or Cellular
$12
Fire and Smoke Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Video Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Installation Fee
$0
Lifetime Equipment Warranty
24/7 Monitoring
Master Control Panel / Simon XT
Yard Sign
Door/Window Sensors
9
Pet Friendly Motion Detector
1
Package Name Gold
View Plans
Monthly Landline Monitoring Fee
$39.99
Monthly Cost to Upgrade to Broadband or Cellular
$12
Fire and Smoke Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Video Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Installation Fee
$0
Lifetime Equipment Warranty
24/7 Monitoring
Master Control Panel / Simon XT
Yard Sign
Door/Window Sensors
11
Pet Friendly Motion Detector
1
Package Name Platinum
View Plans
Monthly Landline Monitoring Fee
$42.99
Monthly Cost to Upgrade to Broadband or Cellular
$12
Fire and Smoke Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Video Monitoring Monthly
$9.99
Installation Fee
$0
Lifetime Equipment Warranty
24/7 Monitoring
Master Control Panel / Simon XT
Yard Sign
Door/Window Sensors
14
Pet Friendly Motion Detector
1

All packages provide 24/7 monitoring through Criticom Monitoring Service. Criticom uses three UL Listed, FM Approved monitoring centers that are distributed across the US.

You Pick: Your Phone, Your Cell, or Your Internet

In keeping with their “you pick” philosophy, Protect America lets you pick your preferred communication style. After you pick the Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum equipment package, you get to decide the way your system communicates with the central monitoring center. You can choose to use a landline, cellular, or broadband communication. The landline option requires that you have an active home phone line, but offers the option for two-way voice. Two-Way Voice allows you to talk to the monitoring station through your panel.

Protect America’s Broadband option uses internet. The master control panel plugs into your modem or router and communicates back to the monitoring center via internet. They say that their Broadband connection takes just two seconds to phone home for help.

Cellular uses the cell phone towers around you. The benefit to cellular is that it is wireless and not dependent upon your phone or your internet and is therefore the safest and most secure. With the broadband or cellular option, you can use Protect America’s mobile app or their interactive site to control your system.

Monitoring PackageLandlineBroadbandCellular
View Plans
Two-Way Talk
Access to Mobile App
Access to Home Automation Features
BenefitCheapestFastestMost Secure
ConsRequires active landline service and least secure.Requires high-speed internet service and susceptible to internet outages.Requires a cell phone signal at your home.
Monitoring Package Landline
View Plans
Two-Way Talk
Access to Mobile App
Access to Home Automation Features
Benefit
Cheapest
Cons
Requires active landline service and least secure.
Monitoring Package Broadband
View Plans
Two-Way Talk
Access to Mobile App
Access to Home Automation Features
Benefit
Fastest
Cons
Requires high-speed internet service and susceptible to internet outages.
Monitoring Package Cellular
View Plans
Two-Way Talk
Access to Mobile App
Access to Home Automation Features
Benefit
Most Secure
Cons
Requires a cell phone signal at your home.

Protect America Equipment

Though Protect America Security’s defined packages are limited to a control panel, motion sensors, and door sensors, you can purchase additional equipment from them. They sell security cameras ($180) for video surveillance, a mini pin pad, panic alarm, and wireless keypads. You can also purchase garage door sensors, glass break sensors, and additional contact or motion detectors.

Protect America’s life safety options include a medical pendant, smoke detectors, disaster sensors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Disaster sensors are actually three in one sensors that replace traditional flood sensors and freeze sensors. In addition to monitoring for these hazards, they can monitor for fires by alerting you and your monitoring center if extreme heat is detected.

Protect America even offers an option for GPS tracking of cars and a driveway sensor. Though, the driveway sensor is an alert only device and will not trigger your alarm. In my opinion, that’s a good thing.

Installing Protect America’s equipment is easy, as the components are wireless. If you can put a sticker on the wall, you can install their security equipment. If you get stuck, their customer service team is happy to assist. They are extremely helpful throughout the installation process.

What About Protect America and Home Automation?

Protect America Mobile appProtect America’s home automation equipment runs off of Z-Wave technology. They currently sell options to automate lights, small appliances, the temperature, and door locks. These options do not add to the monthly fee, but they do add to the equipment cost. For example, Gold Cellular customers would still pay $51.99 per month for lock automation, but the equipment fee would increase to $280 to cover the cost of the lock. Their light module is $80 and can also be added to any of the packages above.

Home Automation does not add to the monthly fee, though it does require that you are monitoring with either cellular or broadband service so that you have access to Protect America’s mobile app.

Protect America’s home automation service is controlled using a proprietary app. Currently their iTunes app has a measly 2.5 star rating. Google Play shows a 3.2 star rating. Both apps rate on a 5 star scale. The reviews show that users are upset with the recent app update. They state that “it doesn’t work” and “the app freezes”.

One user on iTunes remarked, “Unlike other security systems you’re not able to see notifications including if windows or doors are opened (when the alarm is both armed or disarmed).”

Secret Shopping Experience

Protect America Phone HarrassmentI’ve secret shopped Protect America multiple times. Recently, I shopped them using a TracFone. My sales rep was very kind and helpful, but as soon as I gave up my phone number, I went straight into the auto-dialer.

During a two week period, my phone rang off the hook. In fact, Protect America called me from 512-218-7700 AT LEAST 38 times in 14 days. That’s a lot considering the fact that the phone’s battery died during this period and I didn’t feel compelled to charge it…I’m sure you can understand why. If you choose to give your phone number to Protect America, beware. On most days they called three to four times per day. If you’ve already made the same mistake that I did, I suggest adding your number to their Do Not Call List.

They called me AT LEAST 38 times in 14 days. If you choose to give your phone number to Protect America, beware.

Final Thoughts on Protect America

PROS

  • The low entry fee is appealing; They do not charge an activation fee, installation fee, or an equipment fee
  • They have a simple DIY installation process and loads of videos to help you through the entire process on their website
  • They offer complimentary EasyMove Moving Kits. This is handy if you have to move while still under contract with Protect America
  • They’ve improved their BBB score from a C- to an A

CONS

  • Complaints about tech support seem to be rather common.
  • They have a short 14 day return policy and charge a restocking fee. After that, you will be locked into a 36 month contract. If you want to cancel the contract, you will need to pay the complete balance of the contract.
  • They make you pay for features that are included by other home security companies.
  • They have a poorly-rated mobile app.

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