Home security systems used to mean clunky keypads and confusing codes. But with an explosion of smart home technology, security systems now seamlessly integrate into sleek hubs and apps. While much of the new tech appeals to the DIY set, many home-security companies offer similar devices, features and apps—with the bonus that having a professionally installed and monitored system can earn you a discount on your home insurance.
SEE AND SAY
Video doorbells let you see, hear and speak to visitors at your door through an app, whether you’re at home or away. Your phone will alert you when someone pushes the bell. Some systems offer additional options like motion detection, two-way audio and—for a small fee—the ability to create archival video records of anyone who rings the bell or activates its motion-detection sensors. For standalone video doorbells, this latter feature typically comes at an additional cost, but if your bell is part of a professionally monitored security system, it’s likely that recording and archiving is included in your monthly fees.
Some smart home locks let you lock and unlock doors with your phone, and feature apps that log who comes and goes based on personalized codes. Others feature keyless touchpads or will automatically lock/unlock when you (and your phone) move outside a predefined perimeter.
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IN FULL VIEW
Some outdoor security cameras send alerts to your phone the moment someone approaches your door or when they spot activity in the yard. Higher-end models often include night vision, floodlights or porch lights, and can tell the difference between a passing car, animal and person.
LIFE ON THE INSIDE
Interior Wi-Fi cameras can stream video to your phone and send alerts for motion or noise detection. Some feature two-way talk, night vision, and differentiation between people and pets. You can also set tailored alerts to let you know when kids come home from school or if an elderly parent fails to get out of bed in the morning.
With multiple home gadgets, you may need a centralized control system. A smart home hub connects all of your devices via a main console in your home and, usually, a phone app that acts as a universal remote, allowing you to monitor your home wherever you are. Most hubs also automate gadgets—for example, unlock a smart lock and the lights in your entryway will automatically turn on.
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LOOK THE PART
Planning on being away a few days? Most Albertans already know that, in winter, you should have a friend, family member or neighbour check your property regularly to ensure your pipes haven’t burst. (This is a requirement of most home insurance policies.)
But regardless of the season, it’s important to make your home look “lived in” while you’re gone. That means having that trusted person collect your mail and, depending on the length of your absence, keep your yard and sidewalks maintained. You can also put your lights on timers—or automate them via a smart home app. And avoid the temptation to post about your trip online until you’ve returned safely home.
WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED
For more information on home insurance and to get a free quote, visit AMAInsurance.ca/Home or reach out to one of our advisors at 1-800-615-5897.