Smart Homes= Lower Insurance Rates

Smart Homes May Lead to Reduced Premiums

When the auto industry introduced smart cars, the insurance industry had to figure out how to insure them.

Luckily, engineers intended smart cars to be safe cars. Recently, the 2014 Smart Fortwo and the Scion iQ received “Good” scores in three out of four crashworthiness tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

This certainly makes drivers and insurance agents happy, but smart technology isn’t limited to the roads. One of the next innovations many people want to take advantage of is smart homes.

According to a survey recently conducted by Harris Poll for Lowe’s, most Americans crave the ability to control things in their home by accessing their phone. Sixty-two percent of those polled felt that a smart home was crucial for “monitoring safety and security.”

Cranky morning jokes aside (e.g., How does turning on your coffeepot from the comfort of your bed make you safer?), some smart home features are designed for convenience and others for energy efficiency.

Is the ability to remotely adjust the coffeepot or the thermostat likely to impact your insurance? Probably not.

However, some smart home features will. In fact, your insurance rates may drop significantly if, for example, your home comes equipped with moisture sensors located near sinks and toilets (think flood avoidance).

Or, what if your built-in security system is able to notify you via a phone app as soon as something goes wrong at home, such as a break-in?

Other apps allow you to lock your door from afar. And Nest-a company heavily involved in designing smart technology-has just released an advanced fire alarm that alerts you at the first sign of smoke and senses carbon monoxide.

If you’re considering purchasing a smart home or making smart upgrades to your current home, don’t forget to notify your insurance agent. It saves to be smart.

How to Change Those Red Lights to Green

LightsEver wish you could cut your bike commute? Hey…that would be magic. But who needs magic? Veloloop, the latest in bike gadgetry, may do just that.

Invented by an avid cyclist who was sick of getting stuck in traffic, Veloloop is a metal ring that attaches to your bike and claims to turn red lights green.

Today’s roads have electronic sensor systems buried under the surface to keep cars from waiting too long at red lights. These sensors detect the presence of iron (in steel) in vehicles and maintain traffic flow by keeping cars moving. But bikes? Not so much, as they don’t contain sufficient metal.

According to an article in The Atlantic’s, Veloloop uses a patented circuit, detects when you reach an intersection, triggers the sensor…and, best of all, let’s you know it’s done.

Is it the answer? At press time, the cyclist/inventor was still seeking funding. But ask any frustrated cyclist whether the idea of turning red lights green is a good one; chances are the answer will be a resounding yes. It bodes well for Veloloop.

March’s Smile: Laughter in the Headlines

Headlines We all know headlines can invite you into an article or put you off reading it. But double up with laughter? More often than you might think. Take these examples…Please!

“Bugs flying around with wings are flying bugs”

“Threat disrupts plans to meet about threats”

“Bridges help people cross rivers”

“Bill would make it illegal to break rules”

Then there are the “ironics,” like:

“Missippi’s (sic) literacy program shows improvement,” and “Dam road sign keeps disappearing”

And last, but certainly not least, there’s this effort: “Total lunar eclipse will be broadcast live on Northwoods Public Radio”…Huh?

4 Myths About Rental Insurance And Why They’re Wrong

When buying a home, you must buy homeowners insurance to satisfy mortgage lenders. But when you’re renting, it’s different. Many landlords don’t require renters insurance, so many renters just go without. According to the Insurance Information Institute, “only 35% (of renters) have insurance.” Why? Well, it might have something to do with these four myths:

Myth #1: “My landlord’s insurance will cover damages”: A landlord’s insurance policy will provide coverage for any damages that occur to the building, but not to your possessions.

Myth #2: “My possessions aren’t valuable”: Many renters sell their possessions short. Add up what it would cost to replace everything you own. Chances are it will amount to thousands of dollars. And while your furniture may be old, you’ll spend big bucks replacing it (not to mention your electronics). Renters insurance can help cover losses after a disaster.

Myth #3: “Renters insurance is too expensive”: The amount of renters insurance you purchase is your call. But you’ll want to purchase enough to cover all your belongings, and that can be considerably less than you might expect.

Myth #4: “I don’t need liability coverage as a renter”: If someone injures himself or herself in your apartment, you could be sued. Renters insurance will cover your legal expenses, as well as medical bills, in this situation.

As with homeowners insurance, not all renters insurance policies are equal. Talk to your insurance agent; he or she will explain different policies and help you select the one that’s best for you.