Creating a smart home could get you cheaper insurance

A smart home could reduce your home insurance
(Image credit: Philips)

The best video doorbells, home security cameras, and smart alarms are just some of the smart home gadgets that can help you keep an eye on your property when you’re not there - and in addition to providing you with some peace of mind, they may also be able to save you money on your home insurance.

Locket, formerly Hiro, which launched today (March 30) hopes to shake up the home insurance market by offering discounts to homeowners who have video doorbells, home security cameras, and even leak detector sensors in their home.  

A range of smart home devices

Home insurance quotes are created through the Locket app on your smartphone, when you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi. The app will scan your network for smart devices across six categories: leak, smoke and fire detection, and security, as well as multimedia, lighting and thermostats. 

Those last three may not initially seem like devices that can protect your property, but Krystian Zajac, CEO of Locket, told TechRadar that actually they have a secondary use.

“Speakers and lights can be used to simulate occupancy to deter burglars, while thermostats automate the temperature of the home to stop pipes freezing, causing water damage when not at home,” he said. 

You’ll need to enter your address in the app, which will use this information to autofill answers to common questions you’d usually have to answer for a home insurance quote, for example the age of property, the material it’s constructed from, and the number of rooms it has.

Locket says it uses publicly available sources such as the Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, Royal Mail and Zoopla to provide this information, but you’ll be able to see the information and amend entries if necessary before the quote is generated. If there are any gaps, the app will alert you and ask you to manually enter the information.

You’ll then get a monthly price for your home insurance, which can be cancelled at any time. Currently the app can only quote for combined Contents and Buildings insurance, although Locket hopes to be able to offer these individually as well in the future. 

Differing discounts 

So, just why is Locket offering discounts if you have smart home devices? According to Zjac, homeowners who install smart home gadgets are like car owners who buy alloy wheels and regularly clean their cars. 

“They care more than other car owners,” he said, suggesting that Locket takes the same view of homeowners who install smart home devices.

The level of discount you qualify for is also based on the brand of smart home devices you have. Video doorbells, security cameras and other smart home devices from 30 companies that have joined Locket’s partnership scheme, including Ring, Google and Hue, will net you the biggest discount.

Locket says this is because these devices have been tested, and the app is guaranteed to be able to detect them. Some battery-operated devices can’t be detected, as they may not always be connected to Wi-Fi.

If you have a device that’s not from a brand taking part in the partnership, you can still get a discount but it won’t be as large. You’ll need to manually add these devices to the quote, and upload a photo of each device in your home for the discount to be approved (Locket says it uses AI to ensure the pictures are real and not just taken from the internet). Should you ever need to make a claim, this can also be done through the app.

It’s worth noting that you won’t get further reductions if you have more than one of the same type of device. 

Is it really a good deal? 

We wanted to see whether Locket really does offer a discounted premium, or whether shopping around through comparison sites with traditional insurers will get you just as good a deal. We got a quote for our property, which has an Arlo Video Doorbell and several Arlo battery-operated security cameras, as well as a handful of LIFX smart lights, Sonos speakers, and a Drayton Wiser smart thermostat.

We don’t have any internet-connected smoke detectors or leak sensors. The house also has a wired burglar alarm installed, but in the interests of fairness, we didn’t include this when using comparison sites to generate quotes, as Locket doesn’t offer a discount for it. 

Locket offered us a quote of £31.45 a month, which included a £3.50 discount for our smart home devices. The insurance offered cover for £1m buildings insurance and £75,000 contents cover with a £150 excess. We didn’t include any of the add-ons that are available such as accidental damage, legal cover, or home emergency cover.

Across 12 months this would come to £377.40. We were able to beat this dramatically using a comparison site, where a like-for-like policy would cost £180 for a year, and even when we opted for monthly payments it only worked out at £16.94 per month. 

However, everybody’s circumstances are different, which is why shopping around can really help you to secure the best deal. So, while it may not have been the cheapest policy for us, it’s certainly worth getting a quote from Locket when you’re looking for the best insurance deals for your connected home.

Carrie-Ann Skinner

Carrie-Ann Skinner was formerly Homes Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades of experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, stand mixers, and coffee machines. Carrie is now a copy editor at PWC.