We recently looked at the boom in home upgrades over the last year. Most updates involved interior and exterior extensions and renovations to make bathrooms, kitchens, dining areas, and living spaces more usable and enjoyable. With more time spent at home these sorts of upgrades make perfect sense. However, one area that many renovation-happy homeowners have overlooked is web-enabled (or Smart) technology. Smart tech is about more than creating a home entertainment experience that rivals that of a modern audio/video production studio. It is now being used to manage everything from lighting and HVAC installations to sewage and security systems. From a pure home protection perspective leveraging Smart tech is a smart decision, but it may also have positive implications for your homeowners insurance coverage. When it can be shown that you’ve taken every reasonable step to protect your property, you will have a better case when filing a claim. In fact, there may be discounts available if you have smart devices that alert you to threats that can be mitigated by a quick response.
Walk from room to room and ask yourself if any of the following can provide you with greater peace of mind.
Smart Tech Installations That Can Protect Your Home Against Common Threats to Persons and Property
Smart Smoke Alarm / Carbon Monoxide Monitors
While most Canadian homeowners (78%) have smoke alarms and/or carbon monoxide detectors in place, few look to web-enabled technology. Why do you need it? Because when connected to your mobile devices you can receive alerts while at the office, when on vacation, and so forth. That way you don’t have to wait for a neighbor to notice smoke or fire, which may be too late. And when it comes to carbon monoxide, wouldn’t you want to know about dangerous levels if your dependents are at home while you’re out? Connect smoke and carbon monoxide detection systems to all of your household’s communication devices so that everyone is instantaneously alerted to threats. Perform a local area search for Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Local municipality websites (i.e. Burnaby, etc.) will also have information specific to your region.
We also encourage you to look beyond detection, real-time monitoring, and emergency rescue transmission. While these are fantastic features, you can take fire prevention a step further with Smart fire extinguishing systems that are activated over specific zones. These tracking system use sensors located around a room to pinpoint a fire source and extinguish it on the spot. This may be preferred to a traditional sprinkler system which can damage all exposed possessions (furniture, electronics, etc.) even if a fire is isolated to one small section of a home.
Smart Home Security Systems
Less than 30% of homeowners have security systems. And for the 30 percent that do, there are often inadequacies due to antiquated technology. Smart systems can provide for all-encompassing protection beyond traditional alarm systems that activate upon forced entry. They include motion detection for all areas of the home in addition to indoor/outdoor video monitoring, and enable around the clock response from emergency teams in your area. With Smart home security installations you can monitor your property in real time. You will also receive alerts that allow you to take measures remotely as needed, be it to turn on the lights to scare away suspicious persons, or issue an audible warning over your web-enabled speaker systems to let them know authorities are on the way.
It’s important to note that various municipalities in BC require that homeowners have permits for certain types of residential security systems. For instance, The City of Vancouver requires homes with alarm systems to have permits that must be renewed annually. This is done to keep track of which homes have alarms, to ensure adequate response to alerts, and also to reduce the number of false dispatches. The proliferation of web-enabled technology has further helped to reduce the number of false alarms, because homeowners can check and manage alerts from any remote location. Before purchasing a Smart security system be sure to check with your local municipality.
Smart Water Leak Detection and Management Systems
Water damage is the leading cause of claims in Canada and yet only 25% have a sump pump and backflow valve. Alarmingly, only 12% have water/leak and excessive moisture detection sensors installed in the home. This gap in home protection opens the floodgates for water damage, and is unnecessary since there are very practical solutions on the market. Smart devices can alert you to water leaks, and prompt connected backflow valves to automatically stop sewer backup, and more.
While integration of any of the above will better protect your homestead, none of it is 100% bulletproof. That’s what homeowners insurance is for. Receive a comprehensive review of your current policy to ensure that your property and possessions are fully covered, including the Smart tech you’ve recently installed. Your broker can also let you know if these new installations qualify you for discounts on your current policy, which can deliver a tangible ROI on your Smart home investments.