Insurance companies like smoke detectors. They're fond of security systems and new appliances. The more you protect your house from burglary or fire, the happier your insurance agent.
Savvy homeowners can often save a lot of money on their insurance policies. Depending on your coverage, you could shave 20 percent off your premium for installing a sprinkler system. Many homeowners get discounts based on the age of their house.
The latest trend is technological: smart homes. Investing in the right smart gadget could land you a big discount.We don't mean just any smart gadget; you can't invest in Fire TV and expect savings. But here are some ways to win some tech rewards, and make your house a little safer.
Invest in smart security
Many insurers will reward you for installing certain security systems in your home, such as a Canary Home Security monitor. The monitor is a small, weatherproof tower with a tiny camera. The monitor surveys your home and sends photos to your mobile phone.
The benefits of this technology are obvious, especially to insurers. Here's Canary's good-humored video on the subject.
Ask about free and discounted gadgets
Some companies are so enthusiastic about the new technologies that they will send the devices to you or offer specific discounts on their purchase. For example, State Farm Insurance will take 10 percent off the price of installing ADT Pulse. The system can automate your thermostat, lights and locks, saving money and increasing domestic security. Buy a Canary system and State Farm will send you a $20 Visa gift card and save you an additional $20 on the service's annual membership.
Protect against theft and accidents
Many of the subsidized devices are designed for minor emergencies, such as the Generac backup generator, which activates during power outages and maintains the electrical flow in your home. Other gadgets are geared toward more urgent situations, such as the Ring video doorbell, which not only records the people on your front stoop, but can transmit that footage to your smartphone, whether you're in your house, at work, or sealed in your panic room.
Homeowners accustomed to paying large sums for leaky roofs and old water heaters may also be surprised by their affordability: Ring doorbells cost between $199 and $249. The Nest Protect smoke detector retails at $99, and Liberty Mutual offers to send one to its customers for free. Other items are designed for higher-end domiciles: Generac generators may put you more in the $4,000 range. But there are plenty of items that are available to any income bracket and can be installed in virtually any home. Just make sure your insurance company knows that you've procured them.
The "smart home" is still a relatively new concept, and with so much data being transmitted through your house, many experts assert that these signals are vulnerable to hackers. But insurers are betting on their increasing popularity in future years.