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Can Ring doorbells bring down the cost of your insurance?

Walk down any UK street and there’s bound to be a few houses with Ring doorbells attached to their front doors, or perhaps even a security camera pointed at the front or back entrances.

These smart technology devices have given us a new sense of security and peace of mind: they allow us to always know who’s at the door (even when we’re not at home) and to instantly find out if someone is inside our house when they shouldn’t be.

Despite a legal case around the privacy of neighbours and some fears around security, there seems to be no signs of us stopping our new love for smart home tech.

UK Government research shows that there will be around 75 billion internet-connected devices in our homes around the world by the end of 2025.

How much does it cost to have a smart home?

While there are plenty of companies creating these security devices, it’s fair to say Ring has the lion’s share of the market and is probably the most well-known.

A brand new Ring doorbell will currently set you back £89 - and you’ll pay more for its premium models. Then if you want access to your past videos there’s a monthly subscription service to sign up to. However, there are other devices available from around £30.

Yet while we know they give us a new way to see who is at the door before opening it, or to give messages to delivery drivers if we’re not in, what difference can they really make to the security of our homes?

Before the age of smart home technology, some insurers asked new customers if they were a member of their local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, and you’ll often find this question still asked. Although there’s no smart technology involved, the modelling is the same – it’s a way to reduce crime happening in your neighbourhood, and home.

There are currently around 2.3 million members to the scheme which aims to reduce crime. However, no actual figures have ever been given, nor a link to show if a local scheme could save members money off their insurance bills. So would it be any different for a Ring doorbell?

While anything that improves the security of your home or car, and lowers the risk of it being broken into or burgled can only be a good thing, can it actually save you money?

How much could you knock off your insurance bill?

For fully comprehensive car insurance the average is £635 per year and for combined buildings and contents insurance you’ll pay an average of £136 per year, according to our data.

When buying this car or home insurance, you’ll be asked a raft of questions about your own circumstances. This includes your age, where you live, the type of house or car you own and so on - but another question often included is if you have any security devices installed at your home.

Are potential customers being asked this because it can make a difference to premiums? While anything that improves the security of your home or car, and lowers the risk of it being broken into or burgled can only be a good thing, can it actually save you money?

Ring said in a recent report that its mission is to “make neighbourhoods safer and help build stronger communities by designing products that help people stay connected to their home from wherever they are.”

However, when drilling down into the data it’s unclear exactly how much, if any, money you could knock off your insurance bill if you were to install something like an electric doorbell or camera.

In fact, Jonathan Cracknell, Aviva Underwriting Manager, said: “While smart home devices can act as good deterrents or detect intrusion more rapidly to help raise the alarm, the majority don't actually prevent physical entry to a property, so they are not considered as a pricing factor when calculating premiums.

“Some devices are gradually becoming more sophisticated and technology is developing rapidly, so this is an area that we continue to monitor closely.”

LV= told us it doesn’t require customers to have smart doorbells or gadgets installed and it currently doesn’t affect the cost of insurance cover.

So it seems that the big insurance players are not yet saying that smart devices can impact insurance bills... but if we look at other areas of the insurance market, such as car insurance, there are examples of technology being used.

Young drivers, for example, have been benefitting from cheaper insurance premiums thanks to black box technology which has been monitoring how they drive for quite a few years now.

So, if a device like a camera or doorbell could be proven to make a house safer, and lower the risk of it being burgled, maybe it’s only a matter of time before insurance companies adopt them into their risk analysis and pricing models.

How smart tech is used to monitor fitness and slash insurance bills

Smart tech is not just being used in homes or cars; it’s been a feature of health and life insurance products for a while.

One provider, Vitality, currently has a specific health and life insurance product on sale and it comes with an Apple Watch.

Customers pick a health insurance plan, starting at £45 for life insurance and £4.75 a month for the rewards scheme. They are then eligible for a free Apple Watch which monitors their activity.

The watch is linked up to the insurer and it tracks your movement and the more active you are, monitored by the number of walks, jogs, or workouts you complete, the more points you can earn and the less you’ll pay in premiums.

However, if you don’t show you’re keeping active(by earning between 40 and 160 points a month), you’ll pay up to £9.50 a month for the product.

It’s a clever way of getting an Apple Watch plus protection cover, but before signing up to a product like this, it’s always worth comparing the overall costs of other life and health insurance policies and the price of any smart devices included first.

Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.

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