Insurance for Smart Homes: The Future, Today.
Smart home technology is becomingly increasingly common, with a growing number of homeowners now able to control their lighting, heating and air conditioning, media, security and camera systems with the tap of a button, even when far from home.
According to figures by Fortune Business Insights, the global smart home market size is projected to reach over $620 billion by 2026.
In this blog, our insurance experts share advice on achieving digital domestic bliss when insuring smart homes, and understanding smart home insurance cover.
THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)
The Internet of Things refers to physical objects that are embedded with sensors, processing ability and software, that are capable of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
In smart homes, the IoT gives homeowners the ability to control domestic appliances via internet-connected systems, with IoT devices forming part of the home automation concept.
VULNERABILITIES & THREATS
Smart homes give access to a range of tools to help manage resource efficiency and security, but these benefits also make smart homes vulnerable to threats not faced by “normal” homes – and often not covered by “normal” home insurance policies.
Here are some of the common threats to smart homes, how to protect yourself against them, and the insurance implications.
Smart home devices are prone to a range of security vulnerabilities that can put your data or property at risk.
Hackers can gain access to devices in many ways depending on the level of in-built security. Once access has been gained a hacker has several options, including setting up accounts in your name, installing malware, stealing data or remotely controlling your devices – including lights, appliances, cameras, microphones, and even entry locks.
To prevent being hacked, it’s vital to ensure that all devices on your network – including smart speakers, internet routers, computers and smartphones are secure. Smartphones, if hacked or stolen, could put an entire home security system at risk.
Here are some more handy tips for keeping your smart home secure, courtesy of the security experts at Kaspersky:
- Use the screen lock on your smartphone
to ensure no one can access it in your absence.
- Ensure all your computers and smartphones are password protected.
Use strong passwords that are difficult to crack.
- Ensure your main computer account is not at an administrator or root level.
If a hacker gets in, this will limit what they can do to your system since they won’t have administrator privileges.
- Change the default username and password on your router.
Changing the name will stop hackers being able to guess the device or network you’re using.
- Use firewalls on any computers and on your router.
Most routers have a firewall built into their hardware, but it must first be enabled by the user.
- If your existing router doesn’t offer you good security features, replace it.
- Use strong security software on your computers and smartphone
to avoid installation of malware or infection by viruses.
- Always run security patches and updates and keep your software up to date.
Outdated software has vulnerabilities that are easy for hackers to exploit.
Does hacking a home security system to gain access satisfy the standard policy requirement of evidence of forcible or violent entry?
Our advice would be to talk to your broker if you have concerns about smart home hacking and insurance, so that they can make sure you have the most appropriate level of cover.
If you’ve invested in a smart home, you’re likely to have an assortment of expensive gadgets and appliances linked via smart technology.
Power surges and lightning strikes can have a devastating impact on these sensitive devices. While you might notice them, power surges happen all the time, with statistics saying the average home could experience up to 20 surges a day.
Power loss and load shedding can also cause damage to devices when the power supply is restored.
To make sure a lightning strike or power surge doesn’t ruin your expensive smart home setup, surge protectors are an essential tool to help protect your smart home and devices and prevent unnecessary damage.
Installing surge protection could also affect your home insurance premiums.
BEING SMART ABOUT YOUR SMART HOME
While smart homes are growing more common, they’re not – yet – considered standard.
Insurance products focused on smart technology are in their infancy globally, and the best way to ensure you have sufficient cover is to talk to your broker about whether or not your smart home meets your policy requirements, and how to fulfil policy obligations to ensure potential claims are paid out in full.