Protect America ReviewBy - 02/25/2019
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
Please keep in mind that we have hands-on experience with several home security systems, but Protect America is one we have not tried. The information below has been compiled over the years based on research, conversations with Protect America, and secret shopping experiences. Also, we have hands-on experience with some of the devices Protect America uses including the Simon XT control panel, August Smart Lock, Alarm.com Smarter Thermostat, and more.
Protect America Equipment & Protection
When purchasing a home security system, there are two initial upfront costs: monitoring and equipment. Protect America does things differently from other security providers in that all of their monitoring plans include the same service. The difference between the packages lies in the equipment you receive. The more you pay, the more equipment you get.
Cost of Protect America’s Security Packages
Protect America has three packages sliced three ways. All packages offer the same type of service: burglary monitoring, home automation, and remote access via a mobile app. The first step is to select a package. The second step is to decide how you want your security system to communicate with Protect America’s central monitoring station.
Monitoring starts at $19.99 per month. The basic package, Copper, includes a control panel, motion detector, and three door/window sensors (aka contact sensors). The catch? This low introductory monthly fee assumes you have an active telephone line. If you don’t, the price jumps to $41.99 per month for either Broadband or Cellular monitoring.
The company’s most popular monitoring package is called Silver. 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|
|Per Month Cellular||$41.99||$49.99||$54.99|
|Fire Monitoring||$2.00 Monthly||$2.00 Monthly||$2.00 Monthly|
|Smart Home Services|
|Video Monitoring||$9.99 Monthly||$9.99 Monthly||$9.99 Monthly|
|Mobile App Access||Requires Cellular or Broadband Monitoring||Requires Cellular or Broadband Monitoring||Requires Cellular or Broadband Monitoring|
|Equipment Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Control Panel Included|
|Return Period||14 Days, $79 Restocking||14 Days, $79 Restocking||14 Days, $79 Restocking|
Protect America Offers Landline, Cellular, and Broadband Monitoring
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 options are more expensive.
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 uses Interlogix security equipment. They warranty the equipment so 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. Installation can be done on your own in about 30 minutes.
The only required piece of equipment is the control panel. The control panel connects all of your security equipment and notifies the monitoring center when an alarm is triggered. Protect America uses the Simon XT panel (free), but you can upgrade to the Simon XTi-5 Touchscreen ($99.00).
If you have an existing alarm panel, it might be compatible with Protect America’s service. If you are interested in a takeover, give them a call, and they will check to see if your current panel will work.
Cost of Protect America’s Home Security Equipment
After selecting a control panel, you will need to select devices to protect your home. And Protect America offers all of the right sensors for home security.
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 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
Protect America also sells devices to protect your car and the people who drive it. The option to protect your cars, along with your home, is a rather innovative move. First, they have the GPS Vehicle Tracking device. This device will let you know where your car is located and if the driver is speeding. Second, 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. You can also use the GPS device to help keep track of company vehicles. And yes, Protect America offers security for businesses as well as homes.
Highlights of Protect America’s Monitoring and Equipment:
- Option to Monitor Through a Landline, Broadband, or Cellular
- 24/7 Monitoring – Burglaries, Medical, and More
- They use wireless equipment that is easy to install.
- Lifetime Warranty on Equipment
- Fire Monitoring is Extra
Using the SMART Connect App
When it comes to offering smart home services, Protect America, in my opinion, falls behind 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.
Protect America offers a fairly complete list of smart home devices, but there’s a catch, and we’ll get to that in a moment.
First, let’s start with light automation. Though Protect America claims to 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.
They also don’t have a smart thermostat for temperature automation. Instead, Protect America recommends a couple of third-party Z-Wave thermostats that can connect to their system: the GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat and the Alarm.com Smart Thermostat. If you’re a customer, you can request Protect America to send you either of the two thermostats. You’ll have to pay for it, of course, and they might require professional installation, which means additional upfront fees.
Their system also works with smart locks. Recently, they added compatibility with the August Smart Lock Pro. Besides functioning as a smart lock, August Smart Lock Pro can relay your door’s status (open/closed, locked/unlocked) using Door Sense.
Now it’s time for the catch. The catch is that Protect America sells smart home devices, but they offer home automation without rules, which 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. Automation is one of the main benefits of a home automation system.
While geofencing is missing, they do offer Scenes which is an acceptable workaround. For example, you can schedule certain lights to turn on during Stay mode. Also, they offer remote control over connected devices. For example, you can manually turn off your toaster using your smartphone.
Now let’s talk home automation equipment cost. 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 for $99, 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 cameras are industry standard. They offer an indoor camera and an outdoor bullet camera. You can use the cameras to view live footage from the mobile app, or you can use them to record based on an event. Online video storage can be accessed at any time.
The indoor camera is equipped with night vision (4 IR LEDs) 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 (720p) that records at 30 frames per second using a small 60° field of view. It also offers two-way audio.
The outdoor camera also offers a 720p resolution at 30 frames per second, but it has a better night vision range that can see up to 65 feet ahead. Like the indoor camera, Protect America’s outdoor camera requires an internet connection.
Soon, they also have plans to launch a pan and tilt camera. The pan/tilt camera will be an indoor camera with the ability to detect motion and follow motion by panning and tilting on its base.
Skybell Video Doorbell
Finally, you can connect your Protect America system to the Skybell Video Doorbell. The doorbell has its own motion sensor to detect activity but will also notify you if someone rings your door. When the alert comes through, you can open the app to talk to your guest. If you have a connected smart lock, you can also unlock the door to let them in.
Works With Amazon Alexa
Taking a step in the right direction, Protect America offers an integration with Amazon Alexa devices (Echo, Dot, Spot, Show, etc.). Using your voice, you can control your security system. For example, you can ask Alexa to arm/disarm your system, turn off your lights, or lock/unlock your front door. For your protection, every time you ask Alexa to deactivate your system, you’re required to provide a PIN. Otherwise, it won’t comply. This extra step is added to prevent burglars from potentially disarming your home security.
Summary of Protect America’s Smart Home Features:
- Remote Arm and Disarm
- Home Security Cameras
- Small Appliance Automation
- Lock and Unlock Your Front Door Remotely
- Mediocre App Performance
- Alexa and August Smart Lock Integrations
Customer Service & Support
Protect America is working on their customer service model, but they have difficulty being consistent. Over the three years that we’ve maintained this review, we’ve seen their BBB score bounce between A and 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 a pro compared to other companies who 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. You will also be responsible for the monthly service rate collected, which is not refundable.
Summary of Protect America’s Customer Care Policies:
- Free EasyMove Moving Kit
- Locked-in Rate
- Lifetime Replacement Parts Warranty
- A Rating With BBB
- No Free Trial Period
Protect America Customer Review
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