Smart lock technology is making temporary access to homes possible for delivery services to gain access to your property meaning you don't have to be around to receive deliveries. Whilst there can be benefits to this advance in technology there are also many concerns regarding how this can affect your property security, your home insurance and even your liability responsibilities to the deliverers entering your property.
Major retailer, Waitrose, is trialling a home delivery service called While You're Away (click for more information) where they install a free smart lock to the door of participating customers. Delivery drivers are then provided with a temporary key code to gain access the property.
The main areas of concern around insurance are: -
- Accidental damage to the home
- Malicious damage
- Injury to the deliverers such as a trip or fall leading to a personal injury claim
Theft, in particular, is a very grey area and to address this some delivery companies are using chest cameras to record the delivery, however, this is not necessarily a fool proof system. Cameras will only give a forward view so someone could sneak in around the deliverer. The deliverer might not close the door properly or they could pick up a spare key for later use or to pass on to an accomplice. On top of all this there is the chance that smart locks can be hacked - click to see the article on Amazon Key
So a key question is - Will these "While you're out" deliveries affect your home insurance?
While this is new technology there are other circumstances when access can be given by a homeowner to their home such as giving keys to friends, cleaners, builders, decorators and house-sitters. In all these examples insurers will treat incidents on a case by case basis and will, naturally, want to know what reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent a loss such as: -
- Keeping high valued items, wherever possible out of view or in a locked safe
- Allowing access only by reputable firms and making sure credentials are checked
- Identifying and remedying potential slip and trip hazards such as loose carpets and wet floors
- If video footage of a visit is available, how long is it retained?
- Are the temporary access codes to the smart lock working correctly? Are they time limited?
- Could a deliverer reuse the access code at a later stage or pass the code to an accomplice?
As this technology is in it's early stages of use it is important to be aware of the implications in it's use and to speak to insurers to address any concerns about the impact on home insurance.