Smart homes create new risks

  • Planning ahead
  • Homeowners insurance
Woman and man with children looking at smart home feature

Our homes continue to get smarter. It seems like every day there is a new gadget or app that promises to make your life more convenient, your house more secure or the world more green. With one tap of a screen, you can lock your door or turn down your thermostat from the other side of the world. Convenience and security, what’s not to love? Let’s take a moment to truly understand what these apps might mean for you and what smart home risks you might not be considering. 

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Threats to your infrastructure 

Many web-based home devices, such as light switches controlled remotely by a phone or tablet, are vulnerable to power surges and lightning strikes. These could cause problems for your home’s entire electrical system. Your time-saving tech could quickly become money-costing tech. Homeowners insurance policies can be hit or miss on covering this type of claim. Talk to your VIU by HUB Advisory Team before installing something new to be sure that your policy keeps you covered or maybe even qualifies you for a discount. 

The smart home risks aren’t always in your house. Sometimes they come from outside, specifically in your garage. While your electric car and its charger may be better for the environment, it can also overload your home’s electrical system, leading to repair costs that aren’t covered by insurance. Make sure that your home can provide the necessary power.

Threats to your web security 

In addition to the possible consequences to your property’s electrical infrastructure, it’s important to also think about web security. Smart appliances like refrigerators equipped with Wi-Fi and LCD touch screens or washing machines that run automatically when electricity is cheapest are really convenient.

That convenience can come at a cost. Whenever you connect a device to the internet, it’s possible for someone else to access it.  

Anything that can be controlled with a smartphone carries a potential risk. Beyond just researching what features your smart devices have, take some time to consider their privacy and security capabilities. Typically, a more well-known company is going to offer better security, but with a little research you can find the right combination of features, price and security for you.  

Threats to your privacy 

Armed with weapons known as remote administration tools (RAT), hackers can access just about any device through the Internet. These attacks can go beyond the web security attacks described above—the hackers responsible can access your Internet-connected cameras, door locks, speakers, light switches, etc. They taunt and prank their victims by remotely controlling these devices, leaving people feeling violated and powerless. One couple who was targeted even had their baby woken up by a man shouting at him through their baby monitor.

Threats to your insurance coverage 

In spite of the risks, these devices and apps are convenient and they’re not going anywhere. Every day more and more homeowners are integrating smart home technology into their daily lives. Environmental efficiency, convenience, time saving and, in some cases, added security are all undeniably attractive benefits.  

If you choose to have a smart home, look into firewalls and password protection. That goes double for anything with a camera or microphone.

Contact our advisory team and let us work with you to make adjustments to your homeowners coverage based upon your home’s technical configuration. With a little planning, smart home risks can be minimized.