Security is always a top priority for homeowners, but particularly so during holidays, when people are likely to be traveling or have a house filled with valuable gifts. During this time of year, the same good practices apply.
“Leave some lights on so it looks like people are home,” said James Kass, director of insurance sales for AAA Northeast. “Let your neighbors know you’re going away and ask them to keep an eye on your house. And don’t post anything about your trip on Facebook.”
While these tips are good first steps when you plan to leave your home for an extended period, current technology can offer homeowners improved protection and cost savings.
“Smart home systems are great,” Kass said. “They can add another level of security and give homeowners peace of mind.”
For extra security, Kass recommends connecting them to a central monitor station that can communicate with the authorities.
While AAA Northeast doesn’t endorse any particular smart home security products, here are a few you might want to look into yourself.
Home security starts at the front door. The August Smart Lock ($149) lets you lock and unlock your door using your smartphone. It also features assigned virtual keys, so you can keep track of who is coming and going. In its review of the August Lock, CNET wrote, “from the easy installation to interacting with the app and the hardware itself, the entire process was simple and worked very reliably.”
Sometimes, though, it helps to see exactly what is happening outside your front door. The Ring Video Doorbell ($99.99) sends you alerts when a visitor rings the doorbell and when built-in motion sensors are triggered, ideal for catching someone snooping through packages on your doorstep. Once you receive the alert, you’re able to see, hear and speak to guests from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
The days of security cameras taking grainy videos are long gone. Canary ($169) detects any movement within your home and sends you a high-quality video notification. You can then sound the system’s siren or choose to call the police.
If it’s more of a stealth look you’re after, Novi ($299) is also a functioning smoke detector. The device features a 170-degree high-definition camera, motion sensor and siren, and sends smartphone notifications when something is awry.
Certain smart home security systems operate through Alexa or Google Assistant. Scout ($299-$799) offers kits with various sensors, including a water sensor to detect flooding, and can be controlled simply by talking to your personal assistant devices.
Other security devices come included with artificial intelligence. The Honeywell Security Kit ($449), which senses motion and sound, and captures and sends video, has Alexa technology built into it. So when you tell it to switch to away mode, you can also ask for the weather forecast.
Do you use a smart home system? Tell us in the comments!
For more homeowners insurance topics, visit AAA.com/Homeowners.