Can smart technology cut your insurance costs?

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We all love technology whether at home, work or in the car, we're rarely unplugged

 

Here are just some of the ways technology is changing our finances and the way we use insurance.

What are smart homes?

We're entering the age of the 'smart home', in which your house is packed full of technology designed to make your life easier. The central heating can be turned on before you get home so you arrive back to a toasty house. Some homes can even monitor conditions outside and temperature inside to provide ventilation as and when you need it.

Security: there's an app for that

You've probably heard about the Internet of Things technology implanted into everyday devices that allows these pieces of equipment to communicate via the internet and transmit this information back to you.

As a feature of this move towards more connected technology, a new generation of security allows you to control the security features in your home via an app on your phone. For example, Yale offers a range of products that allow you to control your alarm via your smartphone.

In an upgrade to the traditional burglar alarm, connected security systems typically employ motion sensors and wireless devices that allow you to monitor if someone has opened a door or window in your home. This information is also sent back to your phone.

For more information on smart security, see this Which? guide on this subject and CNET’s review of the latest technology.

In the car

Your car is also becoming more connected. Companies are already working hard towards a future that involves driverless cars. Already there is new legislation coming in to govern how these will be insured, even if it may be some time before they become a common feature on our roads.

In the meantime, it can use video footage to warn you about obstacles in the road, talk to your phone and computer and provide information about your driving style. It can scan the local area to see if there are any good restaurants nearby or to detect the closest petrol station. Tracking devices also make it easier to locate the car if it's been stolen.

As with the home, diagnostics devices can tell you about a problem before it becomes critical. For example, many modern cars can detect low pressure in the tyres or a problem with the engine.

How technology affects insurance

So how will all this technology change the world of insurance?

Insurance companies are still getting to grips with connected technology so many of these changes will happen in the future. But two of the biggest are:

1. Big data

2. Preventative insurance

Big data is a phrase you hear a lot about. Essentially, as things become more connected, the amount of information being produced is growing rapidly. We can use some of that data to provide policies more tailored to you.

At Admiral, we are already offering black box insurance in the form of LittleBox. This policy gathers information about the way you're driving and helps us ensure renewal premiums are as accurate as possible.

Head of Telematics at Admiral, Jo Garcia, said: "Insurers are increasingly looking to big data streams and connected devices to offer products and services that are more relevant, personalised, and up-to-date in order to meet evolving customer needs and to take advantage of new data sources that technology opens up."

LittleBox gives us information about how you're driving and helps tailor a renewal price based on how you drive during your policy term. It has helped lots of our customers get better and more personalised deals, which are more suited to them. Read our mythbuster for more information about how it works.

How technology changes insurance

Technology is also changing the way insurance works. Today it's something that can help out when things go wrong, but in the future, using technology could help avoid problems altogether. For example, a tracking device in your car, could help you find it if it gets stolen. Smart boilers that can report on their condition can help you fix problems before they become too serious.

Insurance itself can become more connected and more joined up. In the old days, everything had a separate policy, which meant a lot of time and effort. We all live busy lives and we have a lot of things to insure, so anything which can reduce the time and administration we put into it, must be a good thing.

Admiral was the first to bring in Multi-Car Insurance which lets you insure several cars on the same policy. It provides a guaranteed MultiCar discount, and reduces the amount of time you spend on the phone, or online, arranging policies. There's just the one set of accounts information, one renewal date and one payment making it much easier to keep track of.

Now we're taking that a step further with MultiCover so you can take your existing car insurance and your home insurance and bring them both together under the same umbrella. You can have multiple cars and if you speak to one of our advisors, multiple properties.

You don't have to wait for individual policies to expire at different times you can simply bring them in gradually. So, let's imagine, for a moment, that you need a new car insurance policy, but your home insurance doesn't run out for another six months. There's no need to double up on cover, you can start your car insurance today and transfer your home insurance over when the policy runs out.

To find out whether it's right for you, have a look at our guide.

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