Published on March 15th, 2017 | by Steve Hanley
How Smart Home Systems can Reduce your Insurance Premiums
Smart home technology like video surveillance cameras, leak detectors, and programmable security systems could qualify homeowners for reduced insurance premiums but you will need to shop around and get quotes from several insurers to take advantage of lower rates. Not all companies recognize how connected homes can lower the risk of loss and justify those lower rates.
Smart home systems that are connected to the internet can minimize loss of life, mitigate damage from natural disasters, reduce burglaries, all while keeping homes and property safe and secure.
What can smart home technology do? It can activating an alarm or allow the homeowner to watch video surveillance footage remotely. It can lock doors, program security systems, adjust thermostats, and turn lights on and off. Changing when lights turn on and off and in what rooms can give the appearance of home occupation,” says Tim Lynch, Ph.D., founder and president of Psychsoft Consulting in Quincy, Massachusetts.
David Bakke, an insurance expert says, “If you purchase a product that will automatically turn your lights on and off at preset times during the day, you’ll be less of a target for a home burglary.”
Smart locks are another tool that can protect your property and lower the risk of an insurance loss. They can be locked or unlocked remotely from any internet connected device. They can also be activated using a Bluetooth key fob or an old fashioned metal key. Some allow guest access using electronic keys (or eKeys) that only work on specific days and times.
Smart smoke detectors react to smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide.They can be programmed to notify police or fire departments directly whether the homeowner is home or not. Early notification reduces the amount of damage that is likely to occur, which limits the risk an insurer needs to prepare for. They also notify the property owner when it is time to replace batteries.
Leaks that go undetected by homeowners or renters can lead to costly repairs. Now, you can buy leak detection sensors and install them in areas where leaks are likely to occur, such as around dishwashers, washing machines, or under sinks.
Smart home sensors and systems are far less expensive than they used to be. Mary Miller is a senior director of corporate marketing at Sigma Designs in California. She is also a board member of Z-Wave Alliance, a group of connected-home product manufacturers.
Miller says, “Once upon a time, it would cost thousands of dollars and require a professional to install smart-home technology. Now retailers and e-tailers sell DIY smart-home devices that make it easy for homeowners to make their home smart.” Many don’t require special wiring and are Wi-Fi based. Simply plug in the device between the power outlet and the device to be controlled.
“The insurance industry still has a bit of catching up to do regarding discounts for installing smart-home technology,” Bakke says. Shopping around could save a significant amount on your home insurance premium. Find out if your insurance company offer discounts for smart home tools. If not, compare homeowners insurance quotes from companies that do.
Bakke points out that “the biggest discounts come through installing home-monitoring services.” If you are thinking of making your home connected to reap lower insurance premiums, that might be the logical place to begin.
This post is sponsored by QuoteWizard; image from StarmanSeries on Flickr Creative Commons