LifeShield Home Security Review - 2019
Pennsylvania-based LifeShield was founded by Louis Stilp in 2004 as InGrid. With over 20 patents in wireless location, LifeShield holds the title of inventor of wireless security systems. In 2013, the company was acquired by DirecTV, and its user ratings have plummeted. In July 2017, Hawk Capital Partners bought the company, and new leadership seems to be hard at work re-establishing the company’s reputation. Currently, BBB rates LifeShield A+, although customer reviews are predominantly negative and the company is not a BBB accredited business.
LifeShield offers alarm systems in all 50 states. Its strongest selling points are affordable plans, availability of month-to-month subscriptions, practical features alongside mobile access available with its lowest-tier package. The biggest downsides include negative customer service reputation and lack of home automation features.
When you sign up, LifeShield provides you with a base set of equipment for free, which means your equipment is leased and will be replaced at no charge.
If you buy LifeShield equipment (some of it is available for purchase), the warranty covers it during the first 12 months. Understandably, promotional items aren’t covered by the warranty. Nor are the items damaged by you, serviced or altered in any way unauthorized by the provider. Notably, normal wear and tear are not covered by the warranty either.
LifeShield features a so-called Quadruple Defense system, which is based on four modes of threat communication – Internet, cellular network, text notifications, and landline. If one fails, or the wires are cut, your system is still up and running because it always has a backup method.
Monitoring is provided 24/7 by Protection 1 through five monitoring centers throughout the U.S. Each of the monitoring centers relies on a triple redundant system that consists of a primary system, backup system, and a disaster recovery center. That way, security monitoring is live at all times.
Remote and mobile access with LifeShield is available in both of its packages, which is a stark contrast to most home security companies that corner you into a high-tier plan to get the mobile access.
The dedicated mobile app, as well as the web portal accessible through any web-enabled device, allow you to arm/disarm your system remotely, manage your video monitoring settings, change system codes, view video feed, set up and receive custom notifications and alerts. LifeShield HOTLink is a company-provided tablet that comes with both of its plans.
Fire Safety Sensor is an exclusive feature of LifeShield. It “listens” to your smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms and alerts the central monitoring station if they go off. It effectively transforms the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home into a monitored system. The fire protection feature is free, and you don’t need to replace your existing fire and CO equipment.
Video monitoring with LifeShield wireless cameras is one of its strongest selling points. The cameras are inconspicuous and easily blend into any background. You can enable video recording on specific dates and times automatically, or when a motion sensor is triggered. Custom alerts also enable you to adjust your camera settings on the go. Your security camera streaming is also available through your mobile app.
Currently, LifeShield offers two plans:
- Security Essentials costs $20.99/mo and comes with a starter kit at $199.99 (pricing of the kit may change). Essentials include 8 items to secure your perimeter – control base, keychain remote, a keypad, two wireless sensors you can use for doors and windows, one motion sensor (pet-friendly), yard sign and window stickers, LifeShield’s Fire Safety Sensor, and the mobile app. Essentials also come with the proprietary wireless security tablet.
- Security Advantage kicks in at $24.99/mo plus the equipment kit priced at $299.99. The plan comes with 11 items, and brings all the features of the Essentials plus video monitoring, one indoor camera, 30-days worth of video storage, four wireless sensors, and a pet-friendly motion detection sensor.
Both plans are available in contract-less form – you can cancel anytime as long as you follow the requirements listed in the provider’s Terms and Conditions and the fine print in your contract.
You will undergo a credit check to qualify for month-to-month payments. Otherwise, you should sign a 36- or 60-month contract, complete with hefty cancellation fees.
Other highlights include:
- 30-day money-back guarantee – you can return the equipment and cancel your service within the first 30 days of your order without incurring any early cancellation fees.
- Early cancellation fees are unsurprisingly restricting. If you should bail early, you will have to pay the entirety of your remaining contract in full. Month-to-month plans do not have an early cancellation fee.
- Auto-renewal – unless you specify otherwise, your contract auto-renews.
- Canceling auto-renewal – if you do not wish to auto-renew, you must notify LifeShield at least 15 days before the start of new renewal term (written notice is required).
- If you prefer professional installation, you can get it for $99.99.
While Protection 1 handles your security monitoring 24/7, LifeShield customer and tech support’s availability varies by location. Typically, live phone customer service is available Monday-Saturday from 9 AM to 10 PM EST, and Sunday 10 AM to 9 PM EST. You can also contact their customer service via email, but there is no live chat.
There is no direct line for installation assistance if you do it yourself. You must go all the way through automated machines to get to a human, who then redirects or handles your technical inquiry.
During LifeShield’s time under DirecTV, its customer ratings were mostly negative due to poor support experience and difficulty setting up the equipment. We have yet to see if Hawk Capital Partners takes a customer-centric approach to turn tables here.
Installation is fairly simple – the equipment ships pre-programmed. It is also freestanding or comes with adhesive strips, so no drilling and wiring is involved, except for cameras, which need a power source.
Although the process is straightforward, LifeShield’s manual and mobile app do not provide nearly as detailed step-by-step instructions you will find with some other top-tier providers.
The smoke and carbon monoxide alarm detector is also easy to set up because it’s a peel-and-stick device you can mount almost anywhere. Replacing batteries is also hassle-free.
Things to Consider
- No home automation is on offer – LifeShield does not support managing automated thermostats, locks, and lights.
- LifeShield requires new customers to pass a credit check.
- If you fail to cancel within the grace period, you are subject to early termination fees.
- Although it’s always recommended to take online reviews with a grain of salt, LifeShield’s customer reviews are mostly negative, which is worrying, especially considering that many of them revolve around hardware quality. Committing to a lengthy contract could be risky under the circumstance.
- LifeShield’s wireless equipment is not compatible with other home security systems, which is a problem if you ever want to switch providers. But since the system is wireless, you can grab it with you if you move.
- Since LifeShield’s sensors are wireless, they do not require direct power. The exception is LifeShield’s camera, which has a wireless video feed and a battery backup, but still needs a direct power connection.
- The base/keypad has a battery backup but should be plugged into an outlet.
- The base provides backup in case the control panel is broken by the burglar, in which case it immediately alerts you and local authorities.
- Customers based in Florida can cancel their agreement by sending a written notice to the provider within three days after they have signed the contract. You can also cancel your contract (without early termination fees) upon a doctor’s order you cannot physically receive the services.
- Members of the U.S. armed forces and reserves called for military duty away from their residence can cancel the service by providing proof of their service.
LifeShield gets a lot right — it’s wallet-friendly, DIY, flexible, and allows mobile access in all of its plans. It could be an ideal solution for small to midsize households not looking for home automation features. But its customers’ reviews and frequent change of ownership in the past few years adds a dose of confusion and uncertainty about the quality of their hardware and support. If you qualify for a month-to-month subscription, it could be a good idea to start with that instead of a long-term contract.
- Mobile access
- Broadband, cellular, and landline connection
- Easy DIY install
- Professional installation is optional
- Fire and carbon monoxide protection
- Security cameras available
- Reasonable prices
- Renter friendly
- Five monitoring stations
- No home automation features
- LifeShield equipment you buy has a one-year warranty
- Limited customer service hours
- Limited equipment selection
- Negative customer service reputation
- 36-60-month long contracts