Insurance and Your

Technology: From digital kitchen appliances to automated thermostats to complex home security and home monitoring systems, technology is a much a part of our modern home as the hall closet and the kitchen sink Did you forget to turn the stove off before you left on vacation? You can turn it off with your phone from the airport

Are you expecting a package while you're away? Use remote cameras to keep an eye on your front porch Trying to manage home heating and cooling costs? Well, there's an app for that, too Some of these conveniences like home security systems, smoke alarms, and fire alarms might even save you money on your homeowners policy But while technology might bring convenience, it also brings risks for unprepared homeowners Gadgets like your phone or your laptop have strong security

Other gadgets like your refrigerator or thermostat may not And if all those devices and gadgets are connected to the Internet through the same portal, you might be opening a doorway into your home for thieves In other words, a thief hacking into your low security refrigerator might then gain access to your smart phone, your laptop, and your bank account In fact, a recent study showed that 42 percent of homeowners who had been hacked lost between 1,000 and 5,000 dollars Depending on your homeowners insurance deductible, that might mean money out of your pocket

Do you have a smart home? Keep it safe by following these simple tips First, keep the number of gadgets and devices in your home to a minimum and keep track of the digital access points into your home Second, use separate networks for your gadgets and your devices so the thief who breaks into your refrigerator can't necessarily break into your smart phone Third, consider a multi-factor authentication process, like a password plus a code sent to your phone to authenticate that it's you

And fourth, keep your passwords changed regularly and your security systems up-to-date on all your electronics For more information about insuring your smart home, contact your professional insurance agent and check out the Northwest Insurance Council's website Thanks for watching!