What’s the Real Cost of Life Alert?

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If you’ve visited the company’s website in search of pricing information, you’ve probably already realized the frustrating truth: Life Alert doesn’t publicize its prices and fees online. Unless you’ve braved a call to its sales department, you may be asking, “What’s the cost of Life Alert?” We contacted the company to get the facts about its equipment, policies, and pricing to bring you some solid answers.

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General medical alert costs

Life Alert is one particular medical-alert brand. Some folks mistakenly use "life alert" as a generic name for medical alerts. If you're here looking for general medical-alert costs, we've got you covered: Medical alert systems cost anywhere from $20 to $70 per month. Up-front equipment fees typically average between $50 and $200. Our Best Medical Alert Systems page has more info.


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About Life Alert

The Life Alert system is branded as the original “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” company. It was the first medical alert company on the scene, providing specialized technology to safeguard aging adults against medical emergencies at home, and it continues to do things the old-fashioned way. You can’t order a Life Alert system online—you have to call in to request a brochure and talk to a salesperson if you want to place an order. Salespeople work on commission, so don’t expect simple, straightforward answers to questions either (our call lasted a full thirty minutes).

How does Life Alert work?

A basic Life Alert system has a base station and a pendant with a button. When you press the button on the pendant, the base unit acts as an extra-loud, highly sensitive speakerphone and connects you to a Life Alert-owned and operated monitoring center. If you need assistance, the dispatcher can either contact a friend or family member, or if it’s more serious (or if you don’t respond), they can dispatch emergency responders. Additional Life Alert equipment includes a waterproof “help” button and a GPS unit.

How much does Life Alert cost?

You’ll pay $49.95 a month for the base unit and a pendant, with a one-time activation fee of $95. Adding on one additional device—either the help button or the GPS unit—raises the price to $69.90 per month, with an activation fee of $198. For the full package, you can expect to pay $89.85 a month along with the $198 activation fee.

The total cost of a 36-month Life Alert contract can be anywhere from around $2,000 to $3,400.1

What you get for the price

Life Alert is pricey, but is there a good reason for the higher cost? Life Alert certainly has some perks to justify the high price and set it apart from competitors, but it has its fair share of negatives as well.

pro
Pros
pro Fast shipping
pro Worry-free installation
pro Unlimited use
pro Insured equipment
pro No need to change batteries
pro Industry experience
con
Cons
con Pressured sales
con Leased equipment
con Three-year contract
con No fall detection
con No trial period
con No GPS tracking for loved ones

What to look forward to

Fast Shipping

As soon as you order your system, Life Alert pulls a system from stock, tests it, and sends it out to you via two-day air—at no extra cost.

Worry-free installation

On the day you receive your system, you’ll get a call from Life Alert to schedule your professional installation appointment. You may even get same-day installation.

Unlimited use

No matter how many times you push the button, your monthly fee stays the same for as long as you own the system. There are no fees or penalties for false alarms.

Insured equipment

If your equipment stops working or is faulty for any reason, Life Alert will send out a professional technician to replace it.

No need to charge batteries

Pendants and buttons all have ten-year battery life, which means you never have to worry about charging them.

Industry experience

Life Alert has had decades of experience fine-tuning its products and its monitoring service.

What to watch out for

Pressured sales

You can’t get a Life Alert system without talking to a salesperson, so be prepared to listen to a lengthy sales pitch and feel some pressure to buy.

Leased equipment

You won’t actually own the equipment, so you’ll have to return it when your contract is up.

Three-year contract

Life Alert requires a minimum three-year contract, and you can only cancel it if the user dies or goes into a nursing home.

No fall detection

None of Life Alert’s devices offer fall detection, and company representatives say that it’s because the technology is not yet reliable enough to work properly.

No trial period

If you try out Life Alert and you don’t like it, you’re still locked into a three-year contract.

No GPS tracking for loved ones

While some systems allow family members to use a loved one’s GPS device to track their location, Life Alert’s GPS devices do not offer this feature.

How does the price of Life Alert compare to other medical alert systems?

When it comes to medical alert systems, Life Alert is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. You can expect to pay $20–$30 a month for monitoring service with most other medical alert companies, with one-time activation fees between $0–$150. At $50–$90 a month and activation fees between $90–$200, Life Alert costs nearly twice as much as its competitors across the board, without many notable differences in equipment or service.

Life Alert alternatives

If you’re looking for more affordable alternatives to Life Alert, here are a few of SafeWise’s top choices from our guide to the best medical alert systems.

Bay Alarm Medical

Best overall

With in-home and on-the-go options, Bay Alarm Medical offers something for everyone. Best of all, its monthly fees (starting at around $25/month) won't break the bank. We especially like Bay Alarm's Bella Charms for dressing up the in-home button, and its car device is unique too.   

Read our full Bay Alarm Medical review.

Medical Guardian

Best GPS tracking

Medical Guardian’s rates start at around $30 a month, with no contracts or startup fees. The company offers a variety of plans, all of which can be upgraded with fall detection technology. We especially like Medical Guardian's mobile devices, which combine GPS and fall detection technology. 

Read our full Medical Guardian review.

ADT Medical Alert

Most experience
ADT Medical Alert
Starts at
$29.99
/mo

If you're looking for reliability and industry experience, try ADT Medical Alert.  Yep, the same ADT that you trust during a home invasion also has your back during a medical emergency. 

ADT's nine monitoring centers are fully redundant, meaning someone will always answer even if one of the centers experiences technical difficulties. 

Learn more in our ADT Medical Alert review.

 

Final word

If you’re looking for a tried-and-true company with a longtime history of quality products and reliable medical monitoring, then Life Alert may be right for you. It does cost more than competitors, but its equipment and customer service are among the best in the industry.

But if the high cost outweighs the benefits and you’re on a budget, or if you don’t want to be locked into a three-year contract, then there are a variety of other reputable alternatives in the marketplace. Check out our list of Best Medical Alert Systems to explore more options.

Life Alert price FAQ

Yes, the one-time activation fee covers sales tax and shipping costs.

No, the activation fee isn’t charged to your card until the day after your system has been installed to your satisfaction.

Yes. In order to cancel your contract, Life Alert requires you to provide a signed letter from a doctor or nursing home verifying your loved one’s admittance to a nursing home, hospital, or other care facility.

Possibly. We think sales reps may have some leeway with pricing, because our sales rep did indicate that he had some authority to lower the activation fee. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.

Sources

  1. New York State Office of the Attorney General, "Attorney General James Scores Victory for Thousands of Elderly New Yorkers," March 2021. Accessed August 31, 2022.

Compare the best medical alert systems

Brand
Best for
Lowest monthly price
In-home range
Backup battery
Landline option available
Learn more
Read review
Best overall1000 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best GPS tracking options1300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best value1300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon No  LightNo
Best for fall detection400 ft.Not available
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best at-home system1,300 ft.32 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best basic system1400 ft.24 hrs.
Icon Yes  LightYes

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability subject to change.

Kasey Tross
Written by
Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers.

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