Will installing smart devices save money on your insurance?
In 1999, Disney Channel released Smart House, an original movie about a nerdy teenager named Ben, his widowed father, and his little sister, who win a smart house in some unspecified contest. (Fun fact: the film was directed by LaVar Burton Jr., the iconic host of Reading Rainbow.)
Everything about the house is controlled by PAT, a zingy acronym for Personalized Applied Technology, and, trained on programs like The Donna Reed Show and Leave It to Beaver, she at first seems to be the perfect mom. Unfortunately (and as you might expect), things soon go haywire.
The movie’s screenwriter, Stu Krieger, used research from a trip to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to conceive of PAT. Krieger, it seems, was quite prescient, and it’s uncanny how much he predicted. PAT seems the perfect (maybe too perfect) precursor to the smart devices we find in many homes today.
Ben and his family can only afford PAT because they literally win a contest — and similarly, smart technology today can also be quite pricey. That being said: If you’re weighing whether to purchase smart devices for your home, it’s worth noting that some insurance companies offer discounts for these products.
That’s because they can often detect problems early or keep you and your property safe — which, in turn, prevents costly claims and translates to big savings for providers. Homes with older pipes, for example, might benefit from water sensors that detect leaks before you flood your apartment.
Some of the devices that most often qualify for discounts are smoke detectors, water leak sensors, video doorbells, and security cameras. But that list is far from exhaustive, so you’ll want to check with your provider. In general, if you’re purchasing a smart home device for ease or peace of mind, go forth; if you’re purchasing one hell bent on obtaining a discount, then it’s definitely worth speaking with your policy provider before you do so.
Some insurance companies might offer discounts on installation or have preferences on which product or brand actually works well, for example. And if you already have smart devices but are changing providers, it’s useful to ask if they can still extend you a discount. Remember too that there may be other ways of getting discounted rates, like bundling your insurance or even switching providers.
Although some of us may fear the rise of PAT and her gang, most smart home devices are actually not out to get you; in fact, they could provide you with greater safety and peace of mind. If you’re interested in adding this technology to your home, we suggest you shop around (no surprise there!).
And in the meantime, keep track of your policies in your Marble digital wallet, where you can always compare insurers to make sure you’re getting the best rates and coverage for your needs. Create your Marble account today to start managing your insurance — and get rewards for doing it!