Ever feel as though everything’s getting “smarter”, and you’re struggling to keep up?
Well, worry not! We’re here to take a peek at some of the newest developments in smart home technology, and what they might mean for the future of buildings and contents protection. Hint: we might all save a few pennies!
The traditional house is being kitted out with a suite of hyper-connected devices. Door sensors record comings and goings, smart meters keep tabs on our energy usage, and what is known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT) lets us remotely run our home from the palm of our hand. So, getting ahead of the smart home game now might actually save us money, in the long-run.
What are smart devices?
These are things like smart meters, Hive systems, early leak detectors and Boiler IQ. They’re new technologies which automate our lives and provide much deeper insight into how our houses “work”. Linked up to the web, they store all of this new information to help improve efficiency.
So, what does this mean for home insurance?
Insurers expect the IoT to tend to reduce claims overall, which would tend to reduce premiums. A study by InsuranceNexus* showed that 60% of the 300 surveyed insurance providers were looking towards "connected" insurance in the future. There’s even a new term, Insuretech, which pioneers of smart insurance are adopting nice and early in the belief that “prevention is better than cure”.
Let’s take water damage. It’s one of the leading causes of insurance pay-outs in the UK. And where there’s a claim, a premium increase isn’t usually far behind. But early leak detectors are helping bring down the cost to everybody. By alerting householders to unwanted moisture before it gets too far, they can minimise the damage caused, and even make it unnecessary to claim.
What’s “Boiler IQ”?
Boiler IQ is a new piece of tech that can run health-checks and predict faults in the boiler system hours before they actually happen - which could mean no more days (or even minutes) without hot water in the winter. Boiler replacement - a costly claim for those not covered by an insurance plan - might be avoided altogether. It even makes the whole callout process easier by ordering in parts, so making sure that the engineer has all the right tools to do the job before he sets off on a home visit.
Then there are smart controls like Hive. This revolutionises home security with motion sensor cameras and alarm systems, 24/7 live streaming and lighting controls. It means we can sleep easy, even if we are as far away as Hawaii, knowing that we can always check on our home.
Whilst all of this is there to make homeowners’ lives easier, it’s also good news for insurers, since it’s said that owning smart devices can reduce losses on claims by up to 25%. And happy insurers might seek to reward this extra care taken.
Much like car insurance, there’s talk of a new tailored approach, which reflects the lower likelihood of having to make a claim. Those who have all the early warning systems of a smart home should be able to really limit the damage caused by leaks, floods or fires — thus getting a better quote from the outset.
Better customer care
Then there’s a whole other service side to all this data. Some insurers are already alerting customers to potential bad weather and flood risks. Another example of “nipping it in the bud”, before the need to make a claim arises.
And it might become a whole lot simpler to discuss your policy or take out a new one, as data points insurers to the questions they really need to ask, and trims away the ones they don’t.
So, are there any downsides?
Naturally, there are fears about what happens to all this data, once it’s “out there”. But the good news is that data protection laws are far stricter now than ever before, and that should offer consumers a lot more reassurance about who’s using our details and how.
It’s early days for the smart world but one thing’s certain: we’d all rather not come home to a flood - or have to shell out for a brand-new boiler - if technology could help us avoid it.
If your home insurance is up for renewal, or you’d just like us to give you a fuss-free quote, visit us here, for details.