Hey Lifehacker, I've been looking at the new Bluetooth door locks but I am worried about my home insurance if the locks aren't standard. What are the insurance ramifications from installing a couple in my house? Thanks, Locked Out
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First, here's some background information for people who might not be familiar with Bluetooth locks. Bluetooth SMART is a relatively new lock technology that handles communication between the lock and a permissioned smartphone. This UniKey video attempts to explain some of the chief benefits:
While Bluetooth locks have their critics, they can't be easily hacked. Bluetooth SMART uses the same 128-bit AES encryption as online banking and the new spec features adaptive frequency-hopping, which basically scatters whatever encrypted data you’re sending across the 2.4GHz spectrum. You can also get models that send notifications to your smartphone the moment the knock sensor has been triggered. However, when it comes to home insurance, there's one significant caveat.
Most home insurance policies require two-cylinder or double-keyed deadlocks on all external hinged doors. This is to prevent large, expensive items being easily removed from the house during a break-in. (i.e. -- Once locked, the door cannot be opened from either side without a key.)
The problem with electronic locks is that many models only protect you from the outside -- you don't need a digital key or smartphone app to unlock them from inside the house. This is convenient for the homeowner (especially if you're trying to get out in a hurry) but it could potentially void your insurance claim in the event of a robbery.
With that said, there are several digital locks on the market that come with a pin-activated deadlatch. These models cannot be opened from the inside without the correct security code or corresponding key. Some even come with biometric fingerprint readers.
Most insurance providers will happily accept a digital lock provided it meets the same criteria as a regular lock. Naturally, it's a good idea to run the product by your insurance provider and get written approval prior to installation.
If any readers have a particular Bluetooth lock recommendations (or models to avoid), let LO know in the comments section below.
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