Protect America ReviewBy - 06/28/2017
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The Bottom Line
Protect America Equipment & Protection
Protect America uses GE and Interlogix security equipment. They warranty the equipment as long as you are an active customer with a current monitoring contract – basically as long as you are paying for service. Their equipment is 100% wireless and easy to install. In fact, installation can be done on your own in about 30 minutes.
While you can purchase new equipment from Protect America, it is possible for them to takeover and monitor your existing home security system.
Protect America Offers Landline, Cellular, and Broadband Monitoring
Regardless of what you choose (existing equipment or new equipment), Protect America offers the option of monitoring your equipment over a landline, the internet, or via a cellular signal. The least expensive package uses your existing landline, while cellular and broadband monitoring are more expensive options. When shopping Protect America, keep in mind that they will often show the entry-level price, which reflects the use of a landline. If you don’t already pay for telephone service, this will increase your total cost of ownership. In most cases, it is more cost-effective to upgrade to cellular, but there are other benefits to choosing cellular as well. For one, a cellular signal is impervious to power outages. Two, both cellular and broadband are faster than communication through a landline. Three, landlines can be cut using a $3 pair of wire cutters; stopping a cellular signal is far more challenging.
Protect America’s security monitoring is done with the help of a control panel. The control panel connects all of your security equipment and notifies the monitoring center when an alarm is triggered. They use a Simon XT panel ($119.00), but you can upgrade to the Simon XT Touchscreen ($129.00) or even the Simon XTi Touchscreen, which offers a larger visual display.
Protect America also sells all the usual pieces of security equipment from sensors that protect to sensors that sense.
Cost of Protect America’s Home Security Equipment
Motion Detectors sell for $99.00. They are used to protect larger rooms and will monitor for movement. The sensor is pet-friendly to an extent and will only detect movement made by objects weighing over 40lbs.
Door / Window Sensors sell for $39.00. These sensors monitor for open, close movement. If someone opens your door or a window when they are not supposed to, this sensor will let you know.
Garage Door Sensor – The garage door sensor sells for $59.00 and it is considered a tilt sensor. It monitors for the tilting motion made by a garage door when opened.
Glass Break Sensors sell for $99.00. They can help lower the cost of monitoring a home with lots of windows. By replacing ten window sensors ($390.00) with one glass break and one motion sensor ($198), homeowners can monitor rooms for less. These sensors detect the sound made by breaking glass.
In addition to the sensors mentioned above, Protect America sells:
- Flood Sensors – $99.00
- Freeze Sensors – $99.00
- Yale Real Living Touchscreen Z-Wave Smart Locks – $279.00
- Smart Light & Appliance Modules – $79.00
- Interlogix Wireless Talking Keypad – $119.00
- Two Button Panic Alarm – $39.00
- Medical Panic Pendant
- Keychain Remote Controls – $49.00
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors – $129.00
- Smoke Detectors – $99.00
- Wireless Siren -$99.00
- Products Mini Pinpad – $49.00
They also sell a GPS Vehicle Tracking device. The option to protect your cars, along with your home, is a rather innovative move. The GPS Vehicle Tracking device will let you know where your car is located and also let you know when you’re speeding, while the Driveway Sensor will notify you when a car enters your driveway. While neither device will call for help if needed, they can both provide a heads-ups, falling into the preventative security category. In fact, you can also use the GPS device to help keep track of company vehicles. And yes, Protect America does offer security for business as well as homes.
While you can certainly purchase equipment a la carte, they also include equipment in their home security packages.
Cost of Protect America’s Security Packages
Monitoring starts at $19.99 per month. The basic package, Copper, includes a free control panel, motion detector, and 3 door/window sensors (aka contact sensors). Of course, as mentioned above, this low introductory fee assumes you have an active telephone line. If you don’t, this price jumps to $41.99 per month for either Broadband or Cellular communication.
The company’s most popular monitoring package is called Silver. What’s interesting about Protect America’s plans is that they don’t increase the level of service by package. All packages offer the same type of service: burglary monitoring, home automation, and remote access via a mobile app. However, with the increased monthly fee, you get more security equipment. When you jump from Copper to Silver, you will receive nine door/window sensors plus the customary motion detector and control panel. Jumping up to the Platinum package will earn you fourteen door/window sensors.
And while these three plans are the most popular, Protect America also has other lesser known plans including Bronze (6 sensors) and Gold (11 sensors).
|Per Month Landline||$19.99||$37.99||$42.99||NA|
|Per Month Cellular||$41.99||$49.99||$54.99||$44.99|
|Fire Monitoring||$9.99 Monthly||$9.99 Monthly||$9.99 Monthly||Included|
|Smart Home Services||Light Automation Included (Other Services Require Ultimate Plan $5.00 More / Month)|
|Video Monitoring||$9.99 Monthly||$9.99 Monthly||$9.99 Monthly||Requires Ultimate Plan ($5.00 More / Month)|
|Mobile App Access||Requires Cellular or Broadband Monitoring||Requires Cellular or Broadband Monitoring||Requires Cellular or Broadband Monitoring|
|Equipment Warranty||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime||3 Year|
|Control Panel Included|
|Return Period||14 Days, $79 Restocking||14 Days, $79 Restocking||14 Days, $79 Restocking||30 Days, Risk Free|
|Our Review||Frontpoint Review|
Highlights of Protect America’s Monitoring and Equipment:
- Option to Monitor Through a Landline, Broadband, or Cellular
- $0 Upfront Cost
- 24/7 Monitoring – Burglaries, Fire, Medical, and More
- They use wireless equipment that is easy to install.
- Lifetime Warranty on Equipment
When it comes to offering smart home services, Protect America isn’t as advanced as other home security companies. Home automation and video surveillance are controlled through Protect America’s mobile app called SMART Connect. And that’s where the problems begin. App access is included with all of the security packages, so long as you are paying for either cellular or broadband service. Unfortunately, the mobile app hasn’t been a huge hit to date, with ratings on iTunes ranging from a couple of stars to 2.5 stars and ratings on Google Play sitting at around 3 stars. And for Blackberry or Windows phone users that are feeling a bit left out, most reviews indicate that you aren’t missing out on much. Users complain that the app rarely works and that it’s often offline. However, when it does work, it’s used to remotely control your alarm system as well as any connected smart devices. As an app is the heartbeat of a smart home, having one that doesn’t work consistently is a major negative, but that’s not where the problems end.
Protect America does not offer all of the usual smart devices. We’ll start with light automation. Though they say they offer light automation, you’re on your own to make this happen. They sell an appliance module which you can use to automate lamps and small appliances, but they do not sell smart bulbs or wall switches or anything else that will help you automate your lights. And while they do offer a smart lock, they again fail when it comes to temperature automation as they do not sell or suggest a smart thermostat that works with their system.
But perhaps the most shocking news is that they offer home automation without rules, which really isn’t automation at all. For example, your lights can’t turn on when you come home nor can your temperature adjust when you drive away. This is definitely one of the main benefits of a home automation system. While Protect America claims to offer home automation, they don’t. What they do offer is remote control over connected devices. For example, you can manually turn off your toaster using your smartphone.
What Protect America does offer is backed by Z-Wave technology. One feature that sets them apart from other companies, in a good way, is their approach to equipment cost. In theory, you can get started without paying out-of-pocket for equipment, and home automation is no different. Protect America gives customers the option of buying or leasing home automation equipment to keep out-of-pocket expenses low. So while leasing smart home equipment will increase your monthly fee, you won’t pay upfront to get started.
Home Security Cameras
Protect America’s home security camera is fairly industry standard. You can use the camera to view live footage from the mobile app, or you can use it to record based on an event. Online video storage can be accessed at any time. The only downside to their offer is that they lack an outdoor camera.
Currently, they sell one camera that is designed for indoor use. The camera is equipped with night vision and works with your security system. And though your security system can use a landline, broadband, or cellular connection, the security camera requires a high-speed internet connection. The camera is an HD video surveillance camera that records at 30 frames per second using a small, 60° field of view, and it offers two-way audio.
Taking a step in the right direction, Protect America offers an integration with Amazon Alexa devices (Echo, Dot, etc.). Using your voice, you can control your security system. For example, you can ask Alexa to arm your system, turn off your lights, or lock your front door. Currently, you cannot disarm your system or unlock your door using Alexa, but it’s possible that Protect American will update their skill with a pin, which is what most home security companies offer to help secure this feature.
- Remote Arm and Disarm
- Live Video through Video Service (Indoor Only)
- Small Appliance Automation
- Lock and Unlock Your Front Door Remotely
- Poor App Performance
Customer Service & Support
Protect America is working on their customer service model, and they were showing some promise, but have also started to revert back to old ways. For example, they had improved their BBB score to an A rating, but it’s back down to a B. Also, when we secret shopped Protect America, they took my phone number and put it into an auto-dialer. I received calls daily up to 5 times per day.
In regards to creating customer friendly policies, they do a pretty good job. Like ADT, they use an auto renew clause in their contract that automatically renews month-to-month. This is actually a pro compared to other companies that will automatically renew your contract one-year at a time. They also offer lifetime support on equipment and tons of self-help videos online as well as 24/7 phone support to all of their customers, which is helpful compared to other companies that limit calls to business hours.
Where they fail is with their return period. Customers have only 14 days to decide if they want to live with Protect America or not and if you return the system, expect to pay a restocking fee.
- Free EasyMove Moving Kit
- Locked-in Rate
- Lifetime Replacement Parts Warranty
- B Rating With BBB
- No Free Trial Period
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