Due to the development of Smart technology the security technologies once only installed by companies and the super-rich, are now viable purchases for the average homeowner, and provide a boost in home security. They can also lower Insurance Premiums.
Marketing of smart devices and press coverage of their advantages proves why, according to a MoneySuperMarket survey, 77% of Brits have heard of the phrase “connected home”, and we presume they know what it means as well!
Connected homes seemed space age just a decade ago, but you won’t have to ask too many people before you find a friend or relative who has a smart thermostat, smart lighting or a video doorbell. They’ll rave about how they can control their heat, lighting and music via their Alexa device or their phone. They’ll demonstrate to you how they can turn on their heating so that their home is up to temperature as they walk through their front door and their lights turn on automatically to welcome them. Phrases like “Alexa, lights on” and “Siri, play morning playlist” are becoming as familiar as the phrases “pass me the salt” and “honey, I’m home”.
While some of these functions might seem like pure laziness, smart devices bring a much wider benefit to every home that deploys them, a massive boost in security. With 79% of British adults now owning a smart phone, they have the possibility to control a security system once only deployed in museums and art galleries. What security devices are available for the connected home?
Smart Cameras and Sensors
Smart cameras and sensors are at the forefront of a secure connected home as they are placed throughout the property to alert when an intruder enters an area, or when motion is detected at a time of day or in a location when it isn’t expected. Such actions trigger the cameras to notify the owner, often feeding the live video feed to their smart phone or tablet so they can see what is happening. Using infrared technology this is also possible at night. The homeowner then has the ability to react to the intrusion or movement, either knowing its not something to worry about, like the teenage son creeping in late, or it’s a concern and needs reporting to the authorities.
Connectivity also means that the sensing devices can trigger other smart devices in the home such as lights or speakers to create a response which will deter the intruder.
Combined into one package for the front door, smart doorbells such as Ring and Nest, allow the homeowner to review live or past video footage of their doorstep. They also allow the homeowner to talk to those pressing the doorbell through the device, even from abroad, to give instruction of when to call back, where to leave a package, or otherwise. As with smart cameras, settings are available to change notification to the owner of different types of events, allowing a smart development of reducing nuisance notifications.
Implications on Insurance
There are obvious advantages of connected homes for insurance purposes. A reduction in break-ins, a higher security level, and deterrence devices to prevent damage to property. This should impact premium levels as well as number of claims. Some insurance companies are now recognising use of smart devices and there is expected to be a large uptake in the future.
However, another area where smart devices are under-utilised is in the water leakage sector. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), escape of water is the cause of 30% of home insurance claims. Interestingly the technology has already been developed to sense and shut off water leakages, but has yet to be adopted to the same levels as smart security devices.
As technology firms continue to innovate in this area and insurers like Insure4Retirement reward consumers who install such devices, it is expected that the adoption of smart water leakage technologies will increase. Surely an adoption of more connected technologies to protect the home is beneficial to all parties, the homeowner, the insurer and the technology firms. 58% of Brits agree that they would buy smart devices if it reduced their home insurance premium, so watch this space!
- Ofcom Communications Market Report 2019
- Home Insurance UK, December 2019 Mintel Report