The holidays are finally here and some of you, like myself, may still be searching for the right gifts for the loved ones on your list. Here are a few ideas for the tech lovers in your life that also might help in the event they ever have to make an insurance claim.
Dash cam – Insurers in Canada don’t yet offer a dash camera discount. According a recent survey by Kanetix.ca 10% of Canadian drivers already drive with a vehicle equipped with a dash cam. More than 25% said that while they don’t currently have a dash cam in their car, they think it’s a good idea. The best part is they aren’t even all that expensive.
No matter how much you choose to spend on one, they’re well worth the investment. The footage they capture can make all the difference in the event of an accident where the drivers are providing different statements to the police and insurance adjusters. With the camera footage, it becomes a lot easier to identify and prove exactly what really happened.
Connected car – If you’re giving your child their first car for Christmas chances are you did your homework and tried to find them a safe, reliable and affordable automobile. When it comes to pre-owned cars though you never really know what problems you may face down the road. Some telecommunication companies, Telus for example, are now offering connected car plans that can be added to your phone plan. It’s a small device that plugs into the diagnostic port on the vehicle and can alert to potential issues with the cars systems. It can push alerts to your smartphone alerting to any diagnostic trouble codes, if your battery is low, or if you left your lights on. Pricing starts at around $15 a month
Smart Thermostat – These are becoming more and more popular. Not only are they more energy efficient but they can also provide a huge advantage over traditional thermostats from an insurance perspective. These thermostats can send a push notification to any device running the companion application (smartphone or tablet) alerting you if the temperature dips below a pre-determined value. This is an extremely valuable feature during our harsh Canadian winters as there’s nothing worse than coming home from a hard day at work to find a pipe froze and burst in your home.
Smart plugs and lights – Remember those days of setting up light timers before going on vacation. What about coming home alone late at night to a dark house? Wouldn’t it be great if your lights turned on automatically every day without having to think about it? Or if they turned on when you pulled your car into the driveway? Well, the good news is this is all doable. And it doesn’t have to be expensive if you don’t want it to be. Smart plugs are super affordable now. You can pick these up for about $40. They can run on a preset scheduled &/or use your phone’s location to determine when to turn on and off. If you’re really adventurous a lot of them can be paired with IFTTT service so you can have a light turn on and off according to the weather, or sunset / sunrise. Whatever set up you decide is right for you it provides added security for you and your family. It might just be enough to deter a burglar if they think someone is home.
Wifi Water sensor – Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the new technology that’s offered to homeowners. One example of this is a wifi water sensor. For less than $70 you can set up a smart wifi water sensor in your home. Typically you would want to set this up in your utility room near your hot water tank and floor drain. If it comes in contact with any water it sounds an audible alarm in the home and sends a push notification to any smart devices running the companion application (smartphone or tablet for example). Being notified early on gives you a better chance of minimizing the damage caused. If cost is no object you can also get systems that not only sound an alarm and push a notification but also physically shut the main water line off as well in the event it detects a leak.
Wifi camera system – Much like vehicle dash cams, insurers don’t yet offer discounts for wifi camera systems. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable. These systems can send push notifications to any smart device running the companion application (smartphone or tablet) alerting you to motion within the home or surrounding property. They are also great for pet owners allowing them to check in on their fur babies and some systems even allow for two-way communication allowing you to talk to your pets. Prices start at about $75 and go up depending on how many cameras you want and what features you’re looking for.
There is a lot of really great tech products out there these days and they are all pretty affordable. They can make life easier and provide peace of mind. And in some cases provide valuable data to the insurance company in the event of a loss.