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Smart connected homes help protect from big homeowner insurance claims

You’ve probably seen the commercials about home security systems that send video and audio to your smart phone if someone comes to your door. But what happens if your smoke alarm goes off at home and there’s no one there to hear it? If you had early notification you could call for help even if you’re out of town to prevent a much bigger catastrophe.

Discounts on homeowners insurance

Several companies are now making home protection devices that are connected to your home Wi-Fi to send a notification to your smartphone. As more data becomes available about the devices’ effectiveness in reducing or preventing claims, you will see more and more insurance companies offering discounts to homeowners with smart connected devices. One company, State Auto Insurance of Columbus, OH is already offering such discounts for their homeowners policies.

Smart batteries for smoke alarms

There are several types of devices that monitor everything from smoke alarms, water leaks and freezing temps in your home. Smart batteries can be placed in many smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. When a connected device goes off it sends you a notification to your smart phone. The data use is small so it will have only a minimal affect on your data use.

Wi-Fi enabled water leak and freeze detectors

Another smart connected device senses water leaks such as from a sump pump over-flow. Water and sewer backups can be a costly mess to clean up and repair. Insurance premiums for this coverage have been on the rise. Some companies now charge more than $260 for $10,000 worth of backup coverage while others are adding conditions for eligibility.

Additional units can be placed in other areas of the home where water leaks can appear such as:

    • Under your dishwasherWi-Fi water leak detector
    • Near the washing machine drain
    • Ice maker line on your refrigerator
    • Under sinks
    • Near the bathtub or toilet

Some water leak units also sense for out of range humidity and temperatures. If you’re out of town on a winter vacation and your furnace fails, it could freeze your water pipes. When water freezes it expands and the pressure can burst your pipes, releasing a constant blast of water into your home which could go on for days if no one is around. Other smart devices can even turn off your water when a leak is detected.

Encompass Insurance offering customers free connected home program

Smart home connected devices

Images from Roost Home Telematics

Encompass is partnering with Roost, the largest and fasting growing home telematics company in the US to offer smart home devices at no cost. The program includes a smart water leak and freeze detector and a smart 9-volt battery for smoke alarms. The insurance company is offering up to 7,000 packages for policyholders and will be tracking their effectiveness in reducing damage to homes and personal property.

If you have an Encompass homeowner policy in Iowa, contact your agent or Insurance Gurus in Cedar Rapids to register. Supplies are limited. For a free home and/or auto insurance quote from Encompass contact Ed Faber at Insurance Gurus, 319-200-4878.

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Nation’s Lowest Auto Insurance Rates

Auto insurance rates

States with the Lowest Auto Insurance premiums

Do you feel like your auto insurance rates have gotten out of hand? Be thankful if you don’t live in Michigan, Oklahoma or Louisiana. Residents there pay more than $2,000/per year on average to insure each vehicle. Iowans may also complain about raising rates, but should take some comfort in knowing they pay the lowest auto insurance rates in the nation! According to the November 2017 newsletter for Independent Insurance agents of Iowa, Iowans pay on average $1,125/year for auto insurance. Premiums vary by zip code and are based on the loss (claims) experience of insurance companies in each zip code. Therefore rates can vary widely even within a state. For example people in Detroit zip codes will pay a lot more than those in Marquette, MI.

Iowa’s lack of large urban areas helps reduce traffic congestion and accidents. However lower crime rates (theft and vandalism) as well as relatively fewer weather-related losses also work in the state’s favor. On the other hand, Iowa was the fourth highest state for deer-vehicle collisions last year according to State Farm. Of course the car you drive, driving records, credit history and age and experience of the driver(s) are important insurance rating factors too.

Uninsured Motorists

Iowa also is the 12th best state for the lowest percentage of uninsured drivers at just 8.7%*. This is despite the fact that Iowa doesn’t have a compulsory insurance law. Iowa’s Financial and Safety Responsibility act requires that drivers have the financial means to cover injury or property damage to others. Financial responsibility can be satisfied either from one’s personal wealth or with auto liability insurance.

The top 10 states with the lowest average auto insurance premiums are ranked below, with Iowa being the lowest:

  1. Iowa
  2. North Carolina
  3. Ohio
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Maine
  6. Idaho
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Kansas
  9. North Dakota
  10. Arizona

* Percentage of uninsured drivers, as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists claims to bodily injury claim frequencies. Source: Insurance Research Council, 2015.

Get a quote from a Cedar Rapids auto insurance agency.

 

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Top 10 Largest Insurance Carriers in Iowa

Which insurance companies have the largest share of the property & casualty insurance market in Iowa? The following is based 2014 data, published in a recent issue of Viewpoint Magazine.

 

Top 10 largest insurance companies in Iowa based on share of market

Top 10 largest insurance companies in Iowa based on overall share of property & casualty market in 2014

  1. State Farm Group, 9.5%
  2. Allied Group – A Nationwide Company, 8%
  3. Farm Bureau P&C Group, 6%
  4. ACE INA Group, 4.4%
  5. Progressive Group, 4.1%
  6. EMC Ins Cos., 3.3%
  7. Travelers Group, 3.0%
  8. Farmers Mutual Hail Ins Group, 2.8%
  9. American Family Insurance Group, 2.9%
  10. QBE Americas Group, 2.9%

 

Source: Viewpoint Magazine, Summer 2015

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