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Smart Home Upgrades and Homeowners Insurance

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Technology is granting people the ability to work and live more connected and more efficiently. Smartphones in our pockets allow us to access a wealth of knowledge while also keeping us connected to those we love. Technology for homes includes everything from high-quality hidden surveillance cameras to building thermostats which allow you to remotely control heating and cooling. Many of these smart home features increase the convenience of a home.

Adding smart technology to your home can also increase the resale value and desirability to potential buyers. A 2018 survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate found that 42% of homeowners would ask their real estate agent how staging their home with smart home products could positively impact the sale. Potential home buyers may be more inclined to purchase a home with upgraded technology features.

Smart home upgrades may also decrease the cost of homeowners insurance. Insurance companies recognize that many of these smart home upgrades can keep homes safer by deterring burglary or detecting maintenance needs. This guide lists some of the top smart home upgrades that can decease home insurance rates.


Smart Security Features

A major factor in decreasing home insurance rates with smart home upgrades is home security. Just adding a simple, non-smart home security system may save you money on your homeowners insurance. Increased features of smart alarm and monitoring systems add even more security. Smart home security technology allows homeowners to receive instant notifications of potential threats and take any necessary action to prevent crime. Less potential for crime means less risk for an insurer. Insurance companies may offer you a discount on your home insurance rate for proactively protecting your home from burglary or other crime.

Potential buyers, likewise, may show increased interest in a home that has technology-rich security features already installed. This offers peace of mind to families looking for a safe place to call home. There is a wide variety of smart security upgrades for your home, including upgraded alarms and remote-control lighting features.

Smart Alarm Systems

Homeowners looking to upgrade their home with a smart alarm system may notice the abundance of choices. Smart home alarms come in very simple, inexpensive packages while others are complex and may cost more up front. The biggest benefit of a smart alarm is the control the homeowner has in the use and management of the system. Traditional home alarms required expensive professional installation and long contracts. These systems were monitored by a home alarm company.

Smart systems, on the other hand, allow the homeowner to install sensors themselves in a relatively short amount of time. You receive a notification directly on your smartphone or other device if a motion detector or door sensor goes off. These smart home alarms allow you to remotely arm or disarm the system, or set a timer to arm it for times when you are gone during the day. Many sophisticated smart alarms provide the ability to give temporary access codes to others. This is extremely helpful if you are going on vacation and your neighbor is taking care of your pets or plants. Additionally, smart alarm systems may include advanced features such as two-way talk, which allows you to talk to potential threats and often startle them into leaving. Smart alarm systems are usually effective in preventing crime before it even happens.

Video Surveillance

Some smart alarm systems incorporate video cameras to heighten their security features, but surveillance cameras can be used on their own. Motion sensors detect movement around a home and the cameras start recording. The high-resolution video cameras, linked directly to a smartphone, send video feeds straight to the homeowner’s pocket.

A particular upgrade from surveillance cameras of the past, many smart video surveillance systems hide their cameras to avoid tampering. Security cameras may come in the form of light bulbs or outdoor décor. Most smart video systems are wireless to further hide them from intruders. Visible cameras, however, exist in smart home upgrades such as a video doorbell. This device allows homeowners to see their front doors and often speak with a visitor whether they are home or not.

Smart Locks and Remote Lighting Control

Other smart home upgrades that proactively protect your home from intruders include smart locks for doors and remote lighting control. Smart locks on exterior doors allow homeowners to lock or unlock doors from their smartphones. Usually these electronic locks attach to the door in place of a traditional deadbolt lock. If you forget to lock the door when you leave for the day, you can simply open your phone and secure your home at one touch. Conversely, if you are away and need to let someone into your home, you can unlock the door remotely.

Remote lighting control in homes is often overlooked as a smart security feature. Smart lighting throughout your home allows you to remotely turn lights on or off. Most often this smart home upgrade is used for energy saving if you or another family member forgets to turn off a light. Remote light features, however, can be used for home security. Turning a few of the lights in your home on for an hour or two at night can deter burglars and criminals from attempting to enter your home.

Flood Detection and Prevention Devices

Criminal detection and deterrence devices help you and your family feel safe from outside intruders. Other smart home upgrades that can decrease home insurance rates provide safety from inside your home. Smart flood and moisture detection devices can find water pipe weaknesses before they become major issues like a burst pipe and flooded house.

A smart moisture detector monitors rooms in your home for moisture from leaking pipes or appliances. If moisture is detected, the smart sensor sends you a notification directly to your phone. You can then inspect your home for leaks or contact your plumber to fix any issues. Smart moisture detectors help you keep up on the maintenance of your home’s plumbing which can help lower your home insurance rate. For insurers, proper maintenance greatly lowers the risk of a claim concerning a burst pipe or flooding.

Having smart flood detection devices in place can also raise the desirability of your home to potential buyers. Most homebuyers don’t want to look at homes with water damage or potential plumbing issues. Installing smart homes upgrades like moisture detectors shows potential buyers that you invest in the upkeep of your home.


Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Like moisture detection devices, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors keep you and your family safe from disaster. In a report by the Insurance Information Institute, fire and lightning home insurance claims paid out an average of over $50,000 each from 2012-2016. Smart smoke detectors can be as simple as a smart battery that sends your phone a notification when the battery is low. More sophisticated smart smoke detectors alert you when smoke is detected. Knowing there is an issue, even when you’re away from home, may give you the time needed to contact the fire department and avoid major damages.

Many of the smart smoke detectors available include carbon monoxide detectors as well, which send you notifications if carbon monoxide is detected. Smart smoke detectors throughout your home provide you with additional information such as the health of the sensor and if it is working properly. For accidental alarms, like a batch of burnt cookies, smart smoke detectors allow you to quickly turn off the alarm by the press of a button.

Smart smoke alarms are an easy way to increase the safety of your home. The installation of smart smoke alarms may help lower your homeowners insurance premium as insurers will feel more confident they will not have to pay a fire claim. For potential homebuyers, smart smoke alarms sit near the top of the list for smart home upgrades they will look for in their next home, with 75% of homebuyers wanting smart fire detectors pre-installed.


Save on Home Insurance with Smart Home Upgrades

Investing in smart home upgrades may decrease your home insurance rate. Safety upgrades like smart smoke and moisture detectors make it less likely that you will file a claim related to fire or a burst pipe. Similarly, installing smart security features such as home alarms or video doorbells can deter intruders from even attempting to burglarize your home. These features may make your home more desirable to potential buyers, potentially raising the value of the property.

If you are thinking of installing smart home upgrades to decrease home insurance rates, or if you have installed smart home features, get a free quote from Wawanesa and find out if you qualify for smart home insurance discounts.


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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.