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By Anne Dennon, Technology and Finances Writer

Protect America Home Security Review

Protect America offers a flexible range of home security options. Their plans and packages can suit households looking for a simple, landline-based system and those who want to support all the latest smart home tech. Prices range just widely: The advertised price of $20 per month only pertains to the most basic plan, which, since it requires a landline, will not be an option for nearly 60% of U.S. households.

Still, the choice of landline, broadband, or cellular plans illustrates the kind of variety and personalization that Protect America offers, and other home security companies don’t. And while you may pay more than the advertised price to take advantage of Protect America’s options — like the cellular plan required to control your system by app — money-saving elements are also built into the Protect America pricing structure. For example, you don’t pay for any home security equipment — you just pay for the monitoring plan — and that equipment comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Any malfunctioning device will be replaced at no cost to you for as long as you’re a Protect America customer.

The Claim

Simple and affordable home security systems.

Is it true?

Yes, for the most part. Let’s parse out “simple” first.

Three equipment packages and three means of monitoring (using your home’s landline, broadband, or cellular service) seems like a lot of options, but they are easy choices. All three equipment packages include just sensors and a control panel. They differ only in the number of sensors. You choose a package based on the size of your home. A big home with a dozen windows and doors you’d like to monitor would call for the Platinum plan, with 14 sensors. You pay more per month for the cost of monitoring all those devices, but you won’t pay any more out of pocket to receive those devices initially. All equipment is included with your three-year commitment.

As for how those sensors communicate with Protect America’s monitoring headquarters and local responders, the choice will probably be straightforward. Broadband and cellular cost the same within each package, but only cellular allows you to control the system with your phone and tap into the possibilities of integrating further home automation devices. Since home security in 2019 means remote control, this is probably the only real option for many.

Landline, on the other hand, is a niche offering, one that won’t be appealing or even possible for the majority of U.S. households without home phones. If you live outside of cell service, however, and don’t get high-speed internet in your home, this is a valuable option, and one that comes cheap.

That gets us into the “affordable” side of things. Only the landline option with the smallest equipment package rings in at a highly competitive $20 per month. All other combinations of options cost the $40-$50 per month that you will find with practically any other home security option. Not a bad price, but if you are looking for the cheapest option that might not necessarily be Protect America.

Product Overview

Best for

Those looking for a third-party compatible, no-fuss home security without upfront equipment costs.

Not for

Those interested in state-of-the-art smart home technology or those who don’t want to make a three-year commitment.

Features

Price per package Copper: Landline - $19.99
Copper: Broadband - $41.9
Copper: Cellular - $41.99

Silver: Landline - $37.99
Silver: Broadband - $49.99
Silver: Cellular $49.99

Platinum: Landline - $42.99
Platinum: Broadband - $54.99
Platinum: Cellular - $54.99
Standout features
  • DIY installation
  • Professional monitoring
  • Lifetime equipment warranty
  • Economical landline option
  • Number of locations/states served 50 states and Canada
    Fees You are responsible for paying the remaining months left on your contract if you cancel before its termination date.
    Terms 36-month contract

    Simple DIY installation

    While somewhat misleadingly advertised as “free installation,” it’s true that you don’t have to account for installation or activation fees with Protect America. It’s professionally monitored, but the installation is DIY. No tools are required, however, and if you opt for the cellular plan, the Protect America SMART Connect will assist with set up and with configuring settings. You then call Protect America to activate your system.

    Works with Z-wave devices

    Home security is ultimately more about service than products. In the bigger picture of modern technology, the cameras and sensors devised by home security companies don’t stack up against the newest releases from Google, Amazon, and other big players. That’s why third-party integration is so important when it comes to home security. You can get the services — 24/7 professional monitoring and alerts — along with the state-of the-art technology that you want to create a smarter home. Protect America checks both boxes because it plays nice with the industry standard for smart home communication protocol — Z-wave. Sync your Protect America security system with the lighting and comfort controls you want. It also works with Amazon Alexa.

    Free, warranty-backed equipment

    Plenty of home security companies require you to buy the equipment, either upfront or spread out over the course of your contract. With Protect America, the equipment is free and yours to keep. Now, “free” may be the most illustrative word, since you only get the equipment if you sign up for a 3-year contract, the monthly bills for which will be your responsibility even if you decide to terminate that contract. Still, there’s no additional cost for the sensors and control panel, plus the all-important yard sign and window stickers. As an added bonus, if anything goes wrong with your equipment while Protect America is monitoring your home, they will send you replacements at no charge.

    A Breakdown of Xfinity Home Security Options

    Protect America Copper Package Protect America Silver Package Protect America Platinum Package
    Touchscreen control panel
    Door/window sensors 3 9 14
    Motion detector

    Optional add-ons from Protect America

    • HD video service
    • Smoke and fire monitoring
    • Smart door lock
    • Smart garage door
    • Smart lighting

    Possible Drawbacks

    Requires credit check

    Protect America requires an Experian credit check of its new customers, which will register on your credit report. No one likes extraneous credit checks, but if you’re committing to one home security company long-term, that shouldn’t be a huge issue. That said, if that credit check reveals that don’t have good enough credit, Protect America may require you to make a deposit. This extra deposit will be a credit in your account, but it’s an extra chunk of change that you may not be keen on parting with. And if you do make a deposit, you won’t be eligible for Protect America’s Low Price Guarantee, a price-matching offer for new customers.

    Short decision period for big commitment

    In the home security industry, a three-year contract is fairly standard. Nevertheless, it’s pretty long. And unlike other companies, you don’t have the option to avoid a contract and pay month-to-month until after you’ve been their customer for those three initial years. What’s more, the trial period is just 15 days. If you decide that your Protect America home security system doesn’t work for you, you’ll need to cancel and get all the equipment in the mail within two weeks. If you decide to build out your home security system with further equipment from Protect America, you have a little longer to decide to keep them — 30 days.

    Difficult to cancel

    Protect America lists no solid information about cancellation on their website. Even the terms and conditions that they make available online fail to touch on the question of what you might be on the hook for if you try and get out before the contract’s 36 months are up.

    While Protect America makes it hard to cancel, they do give you workable options to continue your contract without penalty. First off, if you want to cancel because you’re moving, they give you the option to take your system with you — with no relocation fees. They’ll even send you a free move kit to help you take down your installed devices and put them back up in your new home. They also give you the option of transferring your contract to someone else — an option they call Change of Responsibility.

    And if you are committed to three years with Protect America, but aren’t interested in renewing for another term, keep on your toes. The company requires 60-day notice of cancellation or else it automatically continues your service on a month-to-month basis.

    The Competition

    Protect America
    ADT
    Vivint
    Install DIY Professional Professional
    Monitoring Professional Professional Professional
    Starting Price $20 $37 $40
    Package Options 9 5 2
    App Store Rating 2.7/5 4.7/5 4.4/5
    Contract Length 36 months 36 months Montly
    60 months
    In Business Since 1992 1890 1999
    Warranty Lifetime 90 days 120 days or Lifetime

    Protect America vs. ADT

    The mix-and-match style of Protect America is unique amongst home security companies. But while the options appear numerous, for most people there are only a couple real options. With ADT, the range of options are more viable. You get your pick of five plans that run the gamut from simple to sophisticated, with prices to match. Protect America, on the other hand, looks customizable but actually offers few choices for around the same price. If you prioritize name recognition and already built-out device kits, ADT may be a better choice. If you’re looking for a simple landline option, Protect America has that niche offering for a great rate.

    Protect America vs. Vivint

    While Protect America doesn’t offer much by way of in-house home automation options, it does play well with Z-wave technology, and thus with a whole universe of third-party devices. But if you are going into home security with a mind to create a smart home, Protect America can’t compete with Vivint. That company is on the forefront of home automation, plus offers the month-to-month flexibility that Protect America reserves for only its established customers. And while both Vivint and Protect America boast lifetime warranties for their equipment, it’s good to note that that warranty doesn’t apply to third party devices. So you may be better off purchasing Vivint’s line-up of home automation devices rather than piecing together equipment that Protect America won’t cover.

    Protect America Home Security FAQ

    What is the difference between landline, broadband, and cellular?

    Protect America offers three methods of communication between your home’s security system, their monitoring headquarters, and first responders.

    • Landline – This is the old-fashioned home telephone line. Landline is a great option for homes without high-speed internet or areas without cell service. Keep in mind that it’s possible for the alarm capabilities to be literally cut off since communication relies on physical lines.
    • Broadband – This transmission method connects your security system to your home’s internet via your modem or router. While much faster than landline, it still doesn’t allow you to control the security system with your cellphone.
    • Cellular – The current standard for home security systems, this method relies on cellular towers, just like your cellphone does. If you want to be able to control you home security system via app, the cellular option is for you.

    What is Protect America?

    Protect America is a national home security company that offers both in-house equipment and monitoring as well as third-party compatibility for home automation.

    How much does Protect America cost?

    Most of the plans cost between $40 and $50 per month, a standard rate for home security systems. The low price Protect America frequently advertises — $20 per month — is only available to landline customers who require only three door/window sensors. A basic, fully functional system, but one too compact and technologically behind the times to be a real option for most.

    What is Protect America’s Low Price Guarantee?

    Protect America also offers a Low Price Guarantee. If you’re able to find a comparable home security plan for less within the first seven days of having a Protect America system, they’ll match the price. Take a screenshot of the better offer to document it, then send an email to LowPriceGuarantee@ProtectAmerica.com with the following information:

    • Name of Account Holder
    • Email address of your Protect America account
    • Telephone number with area code
    • Date your order was placed
    • Price quoted online by our competitorComplete Web address (URL) reflecting the lower price you found online for the same equipment and service you purchased from Protect America.

    The Bottom Line

    Protect America is carrying its home security offerings into the smart home future by integrating Z-wave technology and equipping its coordinated systems to be controlled by app. But these gestures toward a tech-savvy security system fall short of the competition, without compelling in-house devices and an app that garners around two stars on iTunes and Google Play. Instead, Protect America stands out for offering a truly affordable landline option that would be a great fit for rural homes or for seniors who want to keep their security simple. Protect America also stands out for its online offerings, including a helpful customer resource center and online chat.

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