How smart locks impact your home insurance rates

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The latest smart home technology makes life easier and safer. Smart or biometric locks add a layer of security to your home by requiring a pin or a fingerprint before they unlock, which can be more secure and convenient than a traditional key. Anyone who has possession of your house key can use it to let themselves in, but your pin or fingerprint are unique enough to prevent others from entering your home. Smart locks can also be easily updated if you want to remove someone’s fingerprint or change their code when you no longer want them to have access to your home.

What is a smart lock?

A smart lock uses technology (and the internet) to lock or unlock your door and offers a more flexible solution than the traditional lock and key. Replacing your home’s lock with a smart lock saves you the cost of having your door rekeyed after someone moves out or a key is lost or stolen.

With a smart lock, you can quickly reprogram access for free and set as many (or few) users as you would like. There is no need to wait for a locksmith to come. Changes happen nearly instantly. Depending on the smart lock, you could even set a user up for a limited amount of time, which could come in handy if you have a contractor working in your home. You could give the contractor access for certain hours within a number of days so the worker can complete the project in the time allotted.

There are a few types of smart locks available:

  • Keypad door lock: You will need to set and enter a pin to unlock the door.
  • Wireless door lock: A wireless lock connects to your phone via Bluetooth or wireless and comes with a smartphone app that can open and close the front door. You can typically also remotely open or lock the door through the app.
  • Proximity door lock: These door locks come with small keyfobs that can lock or unlock a door when you are within close range of the door lock.
  • Biometric door lock: The most advanced type of door lock, it can scan your fingerprints or eye’s retina (more expensive) to open or close.

Most smart locks come with a backup key in case your power or internet connection fails, so you are not locked out.

How secure are smart locks?

Smart locks are generally safe if you follow some basic security protocols. Most smart locks are connected to your home’s network. As long as your home network is secured so it can only be accessed using a password that is not easy to figure out, your smart locks should be pretty safe.

In addition, smart locks that require passwords or pins are only as safe as how the pins are kept and managed. A code of 0000 is extremely easy to figure out, providing little security. Avoid writing down your smart lock code in a way that can be easily found or identified, such as keeping a sticky note labeled “smart lock” in your vehicle or bag. The same goes for the backup key that is meant to be used if the system is down. Keep the key in a safe place, so no unwanted individuals have access to it.

As for the smart lock hardware itself, it may not be any safer than a traditional deadbolt. Determined burglars could pry it open or choose to enter your home through a window or other point. A smart lock is most secure when it is an integrated part of a complete home security system.

Will smart locks affect my homeowners insurance?

Smart locks are generally more expensive than a standard door lock. Most carriers do not currently offer a discount on your homeowners policy for them unless you use the lock as an integrated part of a more extensive security system. Liberty Mutual is currently the only insurance company that specifically offers a discount of 5% just for installing a smart lock.

However, many carriers offer discounts on homeowners insurance for security systems.
A homeowners insurance discount for security system installations will likely reduce your premiums for years to come. Insurance companies that offer a discount for smart locks and home security systems include:

Security system discounts are pretty standard, though, so be sure to shop around to learn more about carriers in your area that offer these deals.

Frequently asked questions

How much does a home security system save on insurance?

The amount of savings depends on the carrier itself and the type of security system installed. Insurance companies tend to offer more significant discounts for professionally installed and monitored home security systems. However, many companies do provide some sort of discount for DIY self-installed systems.

What is the average cost of home insurance?

Bankrate’s report on homeowners insurance costs found that the average price for $250,000 in dwelling insurance is $1,312 per year. However, rates can significantly vary based on your state and the amount of coverage you need.

What are the best home insurance companies?

The insurance company that’s best for someone else may not be suitable for you. To find the one that works for you, get quotes from several carriers to compare coverages and rates. Bankrate has analyzed multiple carriers and identified our picks for the top home insurance companies, but there may be better options, depending on your needs.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance, real estate and international business journalist. Besides Bankrate.com, her work has been featured in Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and SimpleDollar.com. She owns and operates a small digital marketing and public relations firm that works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility. Cynthia splits her time between Los Angeles, CA and San Sebastian, Spain. She travels to Africa and the Middle East regularly to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development.