There have been a raft of smart home gadgets in recent years which – to a varying degree – can help make our lives easier.
One benefit the smart security market could have for homeowners is a potential knock on effect to insurance costs, thanks to lower risk of being broken into.
The more you can convince your insurer that you have sufficiently protected your home, the lower prices tend to get.
Many households have turned to smart security gadgets in a bid to keep their property safer – Go Compare says a quarter now have at least one piece of tech installed, such as Hive Home, doorbell or internal and external wi-fi cameras.
Could having smart home technology installed help reduce your home insurance premiums?
However, it also found that 22 per cent have no other security than standard door and window locks.
Furthermore, research from Aviva shows that 29 per cent of people leave their homes without checking that their doors are locked and 40 per cent don’t check windows, which can make homes easy targets for opportunistic thefts.
For those who don’t have smart home technology, and have previously been broken into, this could potentially mean that insurers are able to insist customers need a higher level of security.
Meanwhile, those who promise to have the latest technology installed, could possibly pay lower insurance premiums.
This is Money asked top insurers whether installing smart home technology could help their customers reduce their premium costs – and if not now, is this something that could happen in the near future?
Aviva: It currently doesn’t offer premium discounts for security devices as this isn’t generally a standard requirement of their home insurance, unless customers have extremely high levels of valuables.
A spokesperson said: ‘While smart home devices can act as good deterrents or detect intrusion more rapidly to help raise the alarm, the majority don’t actually prevent physical entry to a property.
‘Some devices are gradually becoming more sophisticated and technology is developing rapidly, so this is an area that we continue to monitor closely.’
It did say it may insist on improved levels of security following a theft, but this depends on the circumstances of the individual customer and we would consider on a case-by-case basis.
A Ring doorbell is a popular tech product that lets users see who is calling at their property
Admiral Insurance: It does not insist that customers install security cameras or smart doorbells but if an existing customer had suffered a number of burglaries, it would review their policy and might require improved physical security.
A spokesman for Admiral said: ‘From a claims point of view, any footage from smart home technology can prove useful in helping to provide evidence in the event of an incident.
‘We don’t currently offer a discount for customers who have smart home technology installed, but do welcome any technological advances which reduce the likelihood of a customer having to make a claim and are always considering new ways to improve our service and products.’
Direct Line: It doesn’t insist on smart home technologies being used but is happy to discuss the options with customers.
A spokesman for Direct Line said: ‘We always encourage our customers to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions when it comes to securing their home. Smart home and modern technologies can help to protect householders’ properties, although we understand that not all customers will be using these.
Safety first: A Yale keyless entry lock is another gadget aimed at improving home security
LV=: It has started asking customers about smart devices in their home with relation to their home insurance.
It said that if a customer’s home has been broken into then it would usually require for some improvements to be made to protect their home, for example different door or window locks or an alarm.
A spokesperson said: ‘We’ve started asking customers about smart devices in their homes. Our data suggests that the take-up of them is still quite low and their effectiveness isn’t yet fully tried and tested.
‘However, it’s clear this is a growing and evolving market, so we are looking at ways to make sure our products take connected homes into consideration.’
Go Compare: The comparison website acknowledged the introduction of smart home technology as changing the current market but said that traditional security measures can sometimes still be lacking.
Ryan Fulthorpe, home insurance expert, said: ‘The development of compact, wi-fi enabled cameras coupled with smartphones is enabling lots of people to improve the security of their homes for a relatively small outlay.
‘Although traditional security measures such as full burglar alarm systems and outside sensor lighting are still most popular, it’s clear that smart technology is revolutionising home security.
‘However, the best protection on the market is useless if you’re not using it properly. And worse, it may even invalidate your home insurance cover in the event that you need to make a claim.’
Compare the Market: It said insurance providers are likely to offer a reduced premium if security measures have been taken but said it can take a while for new technology to influence premiums.
Chris King, head of home insurance, said: ‘Leak detection technology may sound dull as dishwater, but the startling reality for home occupiers is that insurers pay out £1.8million for water leakage claims every day.
‘Inevitably, the volume of these claims drives up home insurance premiums across the board.
‘New technology which can detect a spillage and warn the occupier electronically that a leak has been detected could conceivably lower premiums in the long-term.’
Zurich: It doesn’t require customers who have been a victim of a break in to have smart home technology installed.
A spokesperson said: ‘Smart home tech is still in its relative infancy, and we are keeping a close watch on how the use of the technology evolves, so that we can continue to offer the best insurance solutions for customers.’
There could be a ‘dash cam’ moment…
Whilst it seems that most insurers are not yet offering discounts for those installing smart home technology, they are all aware of the growth in the market.
Many suggested that in the future they could offer discounts for customers with these products but believe that many households need to master basic safety practices first, such as locking doors and windows.
The insurers also referenced how it can often take a while for the insurance industry to catch up to modern practices, suggesting that it may take a while before all insurers include smart technology in their policies.
This can be seen with the introduction of dash cams and black boxes in the motoring insurance industry.
While the technology was not initially adapted into insurance policies, having one of the devices now reduces premiums for thousands of drivers.
Even if your insurance firm doesn’t offer a reduction for having smart tech installed, it is still a good idea to have a device fitted if you think it could contribute to the safety of your home.
Popular smart home tech gadgets
1. Nest learning thermostat (£249): The smart thermostat helps to control temperature and lower energy bills.
It can be controlled from any smart device, wherever you are. It also learns the temperature you like when you’re at home and turns itself down when you’re away.
It connects to your boiler so can also be used to turn on and off the hot water. However, the clever gadget will set you back £219.
The Nest thermostat helps to control the temperature and lower energy bills
2. LeakBot (£149): LeakBot alerts customers on their mobile phones if they have any leaks in the home.
All they have to do is fit it to their pipes and the device will measure both the air and water temperatures in their home.
If they have a leak it will continually draw colder water from outside into their home, creating a consistent drop in temperature.
LeakBot can sense the prolonged and consistent drop in temperature and alerts you to the problem. For a device that could save huge repair costs, the LeakBot is £149.
3. Ring doorbell (£139): The smart video doorbell will let you see who is outside of your house when they ring the bell.
Customers will get instant alerts on their smart device whenever anyone presses your doorbell or triggers a motion sensor.
This can also help protect the home from intruders or unwanted visitors. In this case, the cost for peace of mind is £139.
4. Eve Aqua (£89.95): This clever device clips on between your garden hose and the tap.
Users can set their water to come on and off at two minute intervals throughout the day and it monitors the amount of water being used.
It can also be voice controlled. To better control your water usage, you can pay £89.95 for the gadget.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.