Updated August 31, 2016

Protect America Review: Good or Bad Security?

Read more about Protect America
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Are you considering a home security system? When it comes to pricing, our favorite is Protect America. But you'll have to commit for 3 years. Read on to see if Protect America is right for you.

Protect America
Visit Site

Overall Score

4.4

Discount

5.0

Home Security

5.0

Customer Service

4.0

Installation

4.0

Yard Sign

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Plans start at $19.99/month
  • Free equipment with contract
  • Easy installation
  • 3-year contract

Bottom Line

Best home security system for the money

Thinking About Home Security?

Home security systems are supposed to be good additions to your house.

They help protect against burglaries and provide peace of mind. It can also warn you in cases of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

But most of them also take quite a large chunk out of your monthly budget.

The average family just doesn't have some $500+ to spend on security equipment, and then the $50 monthly monitoring fees.

Is this the reason you've put off installing a home security system?

If this is the case, there is good news for you:

Just because you're on a tight budget doesn't mean that you can't protect your home too. And this is the motto of Protect America Inc - that complete home security should be affordable. For everyone.

Feel Safe Again Without Breaking the Bank

© CreditDonkey

You want the best security system to protect your home, but you don't want to get ripped off.

If cost is a top issue for you, then Protect America is worth a look. It's a solid option for families on a budget who are looking for a basic, no-frills home protection system. They have the latest in security technology should you choose it, therefore offering something for everyone's needs.

Before you decide on a system, make sure you understand the system's details so you can decide whether it's a smart investment.

Read on for the full rundown on Protect America Inc.

Why We Like It

Protect America wins us over for 5 big reasons.

  1. You get free equipment. Most home security companies require a large investment upfront in installation and equipment costs. This is the hardest part for most families.

    But with Protect America, installation is a bargain - as in, costs absolutely nothing. The system is do-it-yourself, but it's nowhere near as complicated as putting together those bookshelves you ordered from IKEA. Even technophobes can get the system set up in no time. Just peel and stick the sensors. The company has made the DIY installation virtually foolproof.

    This means no more waiting around all day for an installer to show up, and then forking over $100 or more to get your system going.

    It's easy to install. If you do have trouble with installation, you'll find detailed instructions for getting started on the Protect America website and you can call customer support for a helpful step-by-step walkthrough.

    The good news doesn't stop there:

    Not only is the installation free, the equipment doesn't cost a thing either. You get up to $1,400 in equipment at no cost when you sign up with a monitoring contract, which is a pretty sweet incentive to make sure your home is protected against burglars.

    And there's more: all of your equipment comes with a lifetime replacement parts warranty. You won't have to ever worry about paying an arm and a leg to fix broken equipment.

    Another good thing about this kind of simple DIY system is that your security can move with you. Spending a bunch of money on a hardwired security system can seem foolhardy if you're not even sure this is your permanent home. With this system, you can just pack it up and take it with you any time you decide to head for greener pastures.

    Tip: Want a free personalized quote? Call (855) 330-0286.

  2. You get reasonable pricing. What is the monthly monitoring cost?

    © Jan-Erik Finnberg (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

    How much value you place on peace of mind is different from your neighbor's, just as every security company offers a different price structure than their competitors.

    You save a lot upfront with Protect America with free installation and equipment, but you still need to factor in the ongoing monthly cost plus any additional equipment you'll want (you may find your needs change over time).

    Protect America plans start at $19.99 a month for 24/7 professional monitoring - instead of the $50 or $60 that other companies charge. To put the cost in perspective, that's about a week's worth of daily Starbucks runs, or two workday lunches out.

    Here's how the pricing compares for this company's five service plans and packages:

    • Copper, $19.99/mo. This is the lowest priced plan you can get through Protect America, and it's good if you just want basic coverage. This package comes with the control panel and a motion detector, plus three door and window sensors.

    • Bronze, $35.99/mo. The next level up may be a good fit if you've got a little more ground to cover. With this plan, the number of door and window sensors jumps to six.

    • Silver, $37.99/mo. The mid-grade plan is still reasonably priced compared to what other companies charge. This one might be good if you live in a multistory home, since it comes with nine door and window sensors.

    • Gold, $39.99/mo. For $2 more per month, you'll get two additional door and window sensors.

    • Platinum, $42.99/mo. Even the most expensive plan is a relatively good deal compared to other security providers. This one's great for people who live in larger homes since it includes 14 door and window sensors altogether.

    You can feel secure with Protect America's clear-cut pricing. Some home security companies sneak an escalation clause into your agreement, which basically lets them bump up your rate when you renew your service. With Protect America, your rate's always locked in unless you change your monthly plan.

    You can also choose from landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring. One thing to keep in mind here is that this pricing is for landline monitoring only. If you do not have landline phone service and don't want the added cost of setting it up, then you'll have to pay higher monthly charges to Project America for its broadband or cellular service (which start at $41.99 per month).

    To learn more about which Protect America package is right for you, here is a link to Protect America's website. You'll also find the details on their lowest price guarantee and free equipment promotion.

  3. You get advanced features. How does monitoring work? Protect America customers can monitor their system remotely using the SMART Connect mobile app. The app is free to download for iPhone and Android users.

    © CreditDonkey

    Unlike other security providers, this interactive service is available free with any broadband or cellular monitored security system (this is not available for landline monitoring).

    Setup the account now. With the app, you can arm and disarm your security system.

    Plus, you can optionally:

    • Lock or unlock your front door
    • Turn lights on and off
    • Turn your appliances on and off
    • View a live video feed from your system's security camera

    One nice thing to note about the app is that you can set a unique password to use it. That can come in handy if your phone is lost or stolen, since it'll keep a thief from being able to hack into your account and system. My account, my phone, my house.

  4. You can customize the alarm to fit your needs. What equipment options are there? A big part of investing in a security system and professional monitoring involves getting a handle on what kind of equipment you'll need and expect to get for the amount you'll pay. Are you looking to secure just one floor of your house? Do you expect to have the latest technology options - a security camera in the hallway is perhaps not enough for you?

    Here's a brief guide of what you can expect to get with Protect America.

    • Security cameras. The optional security cameras that come with the system are designed to start recording any time an alarm is triggered. They even come with night vision capabilities to catch thieves who might try to sneak in under cover of darkness.

    • Control panel. The control panel is the most important part of any security system because it tells the rest of the equipment what to do. You can choose between a touchscreen or keypad version.

    • Motion sensors. Motion sensors pick up on movement when the system is armed to let you know when someone's there who shouldn't be. The sensors Protect America uses work within a 25-foot range and, the company claims, won't give you false alarms if your small pet (40 pounds or less) is wandering around.

    • Z-wave technology. This is hands-down one of the coolest features of the system. The system's optional Z-wave technology lets you turn lights on or off, lock and unlock doors, or adjust your thermostat from anywhere with just the push of a button (available for cellular and broadband monitoring).

    • Glass break sensors. Approximately 60% of burglaries involve forcible entry, and one of the most common ways crooks break in is through the window. Protect America systems use sensors that can pick up on the sound of glass breaking from 20 feet away.

    • Door and window sensors. More than 80% of burglars come in through the front door, and 23% opt to climb in through an unlocked window on the first floor. When you've got sensors on each door and window in your home, you're giving a burglar fewer chances to get in undetected.

    • Garage sensors. A garage door sensor is a smart investment, at minimum you won't have to worry about whether you left the garage door open again. Garage door sensors are tilt sensors. You install the tilt sensor against the top of the garage door. When the tilt sensor is horizontal, that means the garage door is open.

    • Yard signs.

      Advertising the fact that you've got a home security system can work to your advantage. In one study, 60% of burglars said they'd target a different home if they notice a security alarm. Putting up alarm signs around your yard sends a clear signal to thieves that your home is off-limits.

  5. You get more than just home security. Getting a security system and 24/7 monitoring is not only good for preventing burglaries. You can also add fire and smoke protection, carbon monoxide detectors, medical panic alerts and even a GPS tracker for your car.

    But keep in mind that while basic equipment is free with Protect America, optional equipment such as Z-wave technology, glass break sensors, fire and smoke detectors, etc., come at an additional price. So before you start adding in all this equipment, make sure you go over what is included and what is extra with a customer service representative.

    Protect America

    Get Free Home Security Quote

    Get up to $1,400 in free equipment, 24/7 professional monitoring, easy setup in about an hour, and no installation fees.

Reasons to Consider Another Security System

© GabPRR (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Although Protect America has a lot going for it, it's not the right fit for every homeowner. Here are some reasons why you might be better off with another security system:

  • There's a 3-year contract: Signing up for Protect America means being locked into a three-year contract, and the only way to get out of it is to cancel within the initial 14-day window or pay a penalty.

    But keep in mind, in exchange for the 3-year agreement, you get up to $1,400 in free equipment. And you can take the Protect America system with you if you need to move to another home.

  • Only 14-day return period: Some security companies give you a trial period to use the equipment and the service to make sure it's a good fit. If you're not completely sold, you can return it and get your money back. Protect America doesn't give you much wiggle room if you change your mind; you have just 14 days in which to return the equipment once you receive it (and you'll pay a "restocking fee"). In our opinion, 14 days is a reasonable period to know if you like or dislike a system.

  • Low rates are only for landline service: As mentioned before, the low rate starting at $19.99/month is only for landline monitoring, and not for broadband and cellular. That price is hard to beat if you do have a home line and just need the most basic monitoring (keep in mind that you don't get use of the mobile app with this option).

    But if you would like cellular or broadband, then the lowest tier plan is $41.99/month (and the highest tier going up to $54.99/month), which is on par with other companies. But then again, equipment and installation are free with Protect America, so some people may find that it's still worth it overall.

  • Be careful of equipment costs: Be sure to discuss the equipment you want and additional costs (if any) with a customer service representative before you're locked into the long-term contract. Protect America does have a free equipment promotion (which include door sensors, motion sensors, and control panel), but optional equipment comes at an additional price. So talk with a rep about your unique security needs and fully understand the pricing costs.

Not sure if Protect America is right for you? Call (855) 330-0286.

To learn more about Protect America, including getting a free personalized quote, click here to visit Protect America's website.

What are customer service hours?

If you run into a problem with your system or you have a question, you can get in touch with a helpful customer service rep from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT on weekends.

Tip: If you don't want to tie up valuable time waiting on hold, you can always connect with a support person through Protect America's helpful live chat feature. We couldn't find a customer support email address, but there is a form on the site that you can use to send feedback to the CEO.

Common Complaints

There is a wide range of customer reviews online about Protect America, and many of them are positive. Protect America has been in business for over 20 years. The company usually responds publicly to negative complaints and makes an effort to resolve the issue.

In fact, employees love working there. We took a look at Protect America reviews on Glassdoor, the website where employees and former employees can leave anonymous reviews about their employers, and found that a majority of employees would recommend Protect America to a friend.

An overriding theme with the negative Protect America reviews is concern over the three-year commitment that users have to make. A California consumer claimed she found the service less than satisfactory and did not get a replacement unit that she had requested. When she tried to negotiate for a new system at a new house, she reported being told she'd need to sign up for another three years of service and she'd still have to make payments on her old service. Some users also complained about sensors that fall off the windows and false alarms to the local police department.

How to get out of Protect America contract: New customers have 14 days from the shipment date to return their equipment without being locked into their 36 month contract. But a $79 restocking fee will apply. In order to keep costs down for everybody, after the 14 day period is up, you are locked into the contract and if you still wish to cancel, you'll have to pay out the remainder of the balance due. While we would love a 30 day return period, in our opinion, 14 day period is a reasonable compromise. Remember, Protect America offers new customers up to $1,400 in free equipment with a 3 year agreement.

We also checked out the Better Business Bureau to see if any consumer complaints had been filed, and we found over 400 Protect America complaints made during the last three years. More than half involved issues with the equipment or service, but billing complaints were also pretty common. The good news is: all the complaints we read are listed as resolved and the company has an overall A score.

One thing that kept popping up in the negative reviews we found was complaints about the quality of the company's customer support in terms of sales tactics and resolving issues. That's something to think about if you want to avoid telephone salespeople or you don't want to deal with a customer sales rep when you've got a problem.

Rankings: Top Home Security Companies

 Protect AmericaFrontpointADT
Discount
Home Security
Customer Service
Installation
Yard Sign

How It Compares

© Richard (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Just as giving home security reviews the once-over is wise, so is stacking up the company against top competitors. We take a close look at Protect America's top competitors below:

Protect America vs ADT

ADT: ADT is the largest security company in the US, but is it the right for you? Is Protect America better than ADT? A key difference with Protect America, is that you can self install and save on the installation and equipment costs. While ADT and their authorized independent dealers usually require professional installation. (See Protect America vs ADT)

 

Protect America

ADT

 

Benefits and Features

Home SecurityPlans start from $19.99/month to $54.99/month. All plans include free equipment, no installation fees, and 24/7 monitoring.
$54.99 Cellular Monitoring Plan includes cellular connection, smartphone control, automated door locks, and lighting control.
Plans start from $28.99/month to $55.99/month. All plans include 24/7 monitoring for burglary.
$55.99 ADT Pulse Video Plan includes remote secure video and smartphone control.
Mobile AppSMART Connect app allows you to arm and disarm your security system remotely, monitor sensor activity, view live video, and control locks and lights. App is available on App Store and Google Play.ADT Pulse app allows you to activate alarm, check sensors, watch live video feeds, control lights and appliances, adjust thermostats and view history of home activities. Available on App Store and Google Play.
Home AutomationSupports Z-Wave Door Locks, Lights, and ThermostatsADT Pulse allows you to arm/disarm your house, control your lights and thermostats, and watch live video remotely.
Contract
3 year contract
3 year contract
Control Panel
GE Simon XT
ADT Pulse touchscreen control panel allows you to know alarm status, arm/disarm your alarm, control lights, check weather, and view live video from security cameras. Also allows you to quickly send an immediate alarm (medical, fire, or police).
Customer ServiceMonday to Friday 8am to 9pm Central. Saturday to Sunday 9am to 7pm Central. 24/7 Monitoring24/7 customer support and monitoring.
Door Lock
ADT Pulse door locks allow you to remotely lock/unlock your door from any internet-connected device.
Door Sensor
Wired and wireless door sensors. Wireless door sensors can be installed yourself with no drilling or hardwiring necessary.
Glass Break Sensor
Detects if a pane of glass is shattered
Installation
Do It Yourself
Professional installation available.
Motion Sensor
Outdoor Camera 
Security CameraIndoor use only camera. Up to 2 streams
Thermostat
Touch Screen
Simon XT Touch Screen
Water Flood Monitoring
Window Sensor
Yard Sign
ADT-branded yard sign
Z-Wave
Discount
Home Security
Customer Service
Installation
Yard Sign

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Protect America: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on January 13, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

ADT: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on January 8, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Protect America vs Frontpoint

Frontpoint: Frontpoint has a lot in common with Protect America in terms of the cost and the kinds of equipment the system uses. The plans start at $34.99 per month and you have to spend at least $100 on your equipment, which only comes with a three-year equipment warranty. In comparison, Protect America has a lifetime warranty for replacement parts.

Like Protect America, Frontpoint has its own security app and it uses Z-wave technology for home automation. One big difference between the two is that you do get a 30-day trial with Frontpoint, so you have a longer time period in which to return it if you're not 100% satisfied. (see Protect America vs Frontpoint)

Frontpoint is 100% wireless while Protect America offers wireless, landline and broadband connection options.

 

Protect America

Frontpoint

 

Benefits and Features

Home SecurityPlans start from $19.99/month to $54.99/month. All plans include free equipment, no installation fees, and 24/7 monitoring.
$54.99 Cellular Monitoring Plan includes cellular connection, smartphone control, automated door locks, and lighting control.
Plans start from $34.99/month to $49.99/month. All plans offer 100% wireless and cellular system with 24/7 professional monitoring. $49.99 Ultimate Plan supports video streaming, automated door locks, and advanced thermostat control.
Mobile AppSMART Connect app allows you to arm and disarm your security system remotely, monitor sensor activity, view live video, and control locks and lights. App is available on App Store and Google Play.
Alarm.com mobile app
Home AutomationSupports Z-Wave Door Locks, Lights, and ThermostatsAutomate your lights, door locks, and thermostats using Z-Wave technology.
Contract
3 year contract
Equipment discount with 3 year contract. 30-day trial period.
Control Panel
GE Simon XT
Standard control panel includes cellular technology. Optional touch screen control panel upgrade.
Customer ServiceMonday to Friday 8am to 9pm Central. Saturday to Sunday 9am to 7pm Central. 24/7 MonitoringMonday to Friday from 8am to 11pm Eastern. Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm Eastern. 24/7 Monitoring.
Door Lock
Supports Z-Wave door locks.
Door Sensor
Wireless door sensors. Recessed door sensors available. Garage door sensors available.
Glass Break Sensor
Installation
Do It Yourself
Do It Yourself: Most sensors are simply peel and stick.
Motion Sensor
Pet-friendly wireless motion sensors.
Outdoor Camera Wireless outdoor camera (requires power)
Security CameraIndoor use only camera. Up to 2 streamsIndoor and outdoor wireless camera options available (requires power)
Thermostat
Supports many Z-Wave thermostats
Touch Screen
Simon XT Touch Screen
Water Flood Monitoring
Window Sensor
Wireless window sensors.
Yard Sign
Z-Wave
Discount
Home Security
Customer Service
Installation
Yard Sign

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Protect America: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on January 13, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Frontpoint: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on January 13, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Protect America vs SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe: SimpliSafe offers rock-bottom pricing for security protection, with monthly monitoring starting at just $14.99. And you don't have to sign any contracts to get service. That means there is no hefty cancellation fee to worry about.

But you do have to spend a few bucks on equipment: packages start at $229. There's a security app for mobile monitoring, but you'll have to upgrade your monthly plan to access its features (which is a potential downside). SimpliSafe systems don't incorporate video cameras and they're not set up for home automation, so this system is better if you want basic monitoring without a lot of extras. (see Protect America vs Simplisafe)

 

Protect America

SimpliSafe

 

Benefits and Features

Home SecurityPlans start from $19.99/month to $54.99/month. All plans include free equipment, no installation fees, and 24/7 monitoring.
$54.99 Cellular Monitoring Plan includes cellular connection, smartphone control, automated door locks, and lighting control.
$14.99 Standard Alarm Monitoring
$24.99 Interactive Alarm Monitoring includes SMS/Email Alerts and Smartphone Control
Mobile AppSMART Connect app allows you to arm and disarm your security system remotely, monitor sensor activity, view live video, and control locks and lights. App is available on App Store and Google Play.SimpliSafe Home Security app allows you to arm/disarm remotely and monitor sensor status. Requires Interactive monitoring subscription plan and SimpliSafe2 system.
Home AutomationSupports Z-Wave Door Locks, Lights, and Thermostats 
Contract
3 year contract
No Contract
Control Panel
GE Simon XT
Customer ServiceMonday to Friday 8am to 9pm Central. Saturday to Sunday 9am to 7pm Central. 24/7 Monitoring9am to 6pm Eastern, 7 days a week. 24/7 Monitoring.
Door Lock
Door Sensor
Glass Break Sensor
Installation
Do It Yourself
Do It Yourself
Motion Sensor
Security CameraIndoor use only camera. Up to 2 streams 
Thermostat
 
Touch Screen
Simon XT Touch Screen
 
Water Flood Monitoring
Window Sensor
Yard Sign
Z-Wave
 
Discount
Home Security
Customer Service
Installation
Yard Sign
Online Community

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Protect America: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on January 13, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

SimpliSafe: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length were obtained on August 4, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Bottom Line: Is Protect America Worth It?

© CreditDonkey

To review, here are the good and bad when considering Protect America.

Pros:

  • self install with no installation fee
  • no equipment fee
  • lifetime warranty on equipment replacement
  • plans starting from just $19.99 per month
  • choice of landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring
  • locked-in rates for life

Cons:

  • you're locked into a 3-year contract
  • 14-day return period (plus restocking fee)

The lower cost and the kind of technology Protect America offers make for a tempting buy. Your dollars will go far with this system. In fact, Protect America has a lowest price guarantee.

But it comes with a few catches. There's that three-year contract you have to sign and the lack of a 30-day trial period, so there's little room for error when it comes to your buying decision. And if you choose cellular or broadband monitoring, that attractive $19.99/month jumps to $41.99/month. But remember, the basic equipment is free, and overall, we feel that Protect America is the best security system for the money.

Hopefully, we've helped you analyze the pros and cons. Was this review helpful?

The best thing to do is to do your homework (this article was a smart step in that direction) and give them a call before you make a choice. Still can't decide? Take a look at our extensive home security companies rankings and reviews.

    Protect America

    Get Free Home Security Quote

    Get up to $1,400 in free equipment, 24/7 professional monitoring, easy setup in about an hour, and no installation fees.

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a home security comparison and financial education website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More from CreditDonkey:


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    Protect America

    Get Free Home Security Quote

    Get up to $1,400 in free equipment, 24/7 professional monitoring, easy setup in about an hour, and no installation fees.


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