Protect America Home Security: Review

Serving customers for over 25 years, Protect America focuses on providing affordable home security solutions. They offer home automation products and security cameras to help you create a safe, smart home.

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) seem like many 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. However, if you live outside of cell service 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: $41.99
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 -- third-party integration. 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 Protect America 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 you 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 a 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 a 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

Monthly
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, there are only a couple of real options for most people. With ADT, the range of options is more viable. You get your pick of five plans that run the gamut from simple to sophisticated, with prices to match. On the other hand, Protect America 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 at 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.

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. A landline is a great option for homes without high-speed internet or areas without cell service. Remember that the alarm capabilities can 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 a 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 your home security system via the 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 competitor
  • Complete 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 the 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 remote control. Protect America also stands out for its online offerings, including a helpful customer resource center and online chat.