How Smart Home Devices Can Help Keep Your Home Safe this Summer Vacation

Smart summer travel starts at home. Learn about the devices you can use to help keep your stuff safe while you're gone. 

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A smart home allows you to control thermostats, lights, appliances and even your espresso machine remotely using a smartphone or tablet through an internet connection. Smart home programs, like USAA’s Connected Home, provide peace of mind and help prevent major losses while you are away from your home.


Here are seven ways to utilize smart home devices and applications to help have the comfort of knowing your home is safe while you are away:


Doorbell cameras: Services like Ring and Google Nest allow you to detect movement at your front door, track deliveries and monitor who comes and goes while you’re away. Newspapers, mail, packages or deliveries sitting outside are a red flag that you aren’t home. If you’re not home and a package gets delivered, you’ll know and then be able to ask a neighbor to pick up the package for you.


Smart locks: Smart lock systems can be used to lock and unlock your door with your mobile device and can allow you to share a temporary code with your pet sitter or anyone who needs to visit the home while you’re away (this is the new way forward with vacation rentals too). 


Smart lighting: Simulate your family’s routine with automatic lights. The ability to schedule lights to go on and off at set times and to turn lights on with your mobile device when you’re away makes it look like you’re home even when you’re not. 


Indoor/outdoor cameras: Cameras allow you to keep an eye on the house even when you’re not there. I have wished many times to have a view of the garage (I have a habit of not closing it). The cameras can send alerts where there is motion or action detected in and around your home. Some cameras have the capability to send real-time alerts to your mobile device when the camera hears your existing smoke or carbon monoxide detector's alarm. 


Smoke detectors: Gone are the days you must guess which smoke alarm is beeping due to a low battery. A smart smoke detector allows you to check battery life and status through your mobile device. This includes any alerts or alarms that go off when you’re away from home.   


Thermostats: Consider setting your thermostat temperature approximately five degrees higher than your normal setting during a summer trip and about five degrees lower during a winter vacation. That way, you’ll get maximum energy efficiency without hurting your home.


Leak detection: Connected water leak and freeze detectors can be placed near the most common locations a leak is likely to occur: near the water heater, behind the washing machine, beneath sinks, behind toilets and more. These devices can detect a water leak and send an alert to your cell phone so you can take fast action to prevent significant damage. My sprinkler system is run though a smart app and tracks how much water is used on a daily basis – it’s nice to be notified if the sprinklers get stuck on or there is a leak. It saves the worry of a huge water bill.


You will be amazed at the items in your home that now can be synced with a device. My husband has an espresso machine that he turns on when he’s getting ready for the day. He also likes to start the espresso machine when he is on the way home. If I notice it turning on, I know he isn’t far!  


The USAA Connected Home program enables USAA members to enjoy the peace of mind a connected home can provide while providing a discount on their USAA homeowners insurance policy. Members who participate in programs like this have been shown to experience fewer losses. 


Are you using digital home management systems in your home? What smart devices have changed the way you manage your home? 


Read Next: 
Connected Home: Smarter Insurance for Your Home 

Help Protect Yourself and You Home on Vacation 

How Smart Home Devices Can Save You Money 



The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) Connected Home program is optional. Must have an active USAA Homeowners Insurance Policy and agree to share data from connected home devices to receive discount. Smartphone, eligible connected home devices, and download of the Honeywell Home app also required. This program is only available in select states. Program availability and state restrictions apply. 


Review the Program Terms and Conditions for more information. 


Homeowners insurance provided by United Services Automobile Association(USAA), USAA Casualty Insurance Company, USAA General Indemnity Company, Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company, San Antonio, Texas. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its own products.


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