|We truly are living in a golden age of technology. Although they used to seem like a sci-fi concept, so-called smart homes are quickly becoming commonplace, if not yet the norm. The Internet of Things allows us to be in control of just about every single appliance in our homes through a computerized device.
Voice activated systems like Google Home and Amazon Echo allow us to unlock our doors, turn on some music, or dim our lights on command. Smartphone applications allow us to do the same thing, but they can also work remotely — just in case you forgot to close the garage door when you left the house, or want to turn on your slow-cooker while you’re in a meeting.
While the commercials advertising these “smart” devices and the convenience factor are extremely compelling, an often overlooked component of the smart home movement is how this could affect insurance policies.
There hasn’t been a lot of coverage on the topic, but many insurance agencies are testing pilot programs that offer incentives to those who have a connected home. Some companies are subsidizing the cost of smart devices or offering better terms and conditions in relation to their coverage. The number of these pilot policies increased from 9% to 22% from 2014 to 2015, and is only expected to grow as this calendar year comes to a close.
In the U.S., there is no insurance policy that will cover all of your connected home devices across the board, but some companies will give you a more enticing regular policy if you have a home connected with smart devices.
But in the U.K., an insurance company describes itself as the first connected home insurance provider in the kingdom. Neos is set to launch soon, and plans to expand into North America.
Neos co-founder and CEO Matt Poll says that insured people hate to file claims just as much as insurance companies dislike processing them.
“If we can use smart technology to put the customers in control and alert [the insurers] if there is a problem, then hopefully they are happy and hopefully our insurer partners are happy,” said Poll.
The concept of the smart home isn’t perfect, however. While many people feel comfortable with a nearly entirely electronic-controlled home, some are more hesitant to adopt this technology, and for good reason.
These systems can burn a pretty big hole in your wallet. Not only is the initial investment high, but finding a technician to install or fix any bugs in the system can cost a pretty penny as well. And they’re not 100% reliable, either. After assessment, nearly three quarters of Bluetooth Smart door locks are vulnerable, leading to more probable hacking cases.
The Internet of Things isn’t quite perfect yet, but there are many homeowners who are wiling to live with the bugs if it means they can control their environment with a tap of the screen.