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Inside-home deliveries may raise insurance premiums

Inside-home deliveries may raise insurance premiums

LIABILITY QUESTIONS

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Smart locks that let retailers deliver packages inside houses or apartments with a digital code while you are away raise liability questions and could raise home insurance rates, experts say.

Amazon's system is being tested in Detroit, Miami and Silicon Valley, California. Walmart is testing similar systems in Silicon Valley and Miami.

"There are a lot of questions," said Kenneth Cantor, an attorney and the owner of Cantor Insurance Group in Southfield, Michigan. "When you have homeowners insurance, it covers you for your property and liability. If you invite someone on your property and they steal something or knock a candle over and the house burns down, would your policy cover it?"

As technology advances, he said, policies will have to catch up, and that could mean rates will go up.

"It's a new development, so we don't have a lot of current experience with this," said Jim Whittle, assistant general counsel of the American Insurance Association in Washington.

Whittle said that as more people adopt the smart locks, and people are able to enter their homes when the owners or tenants are not there, carriers have many liability questions:

What if someone gets injured — slips on a wet floor — while delivering?

What if a pet gets out or violently attacks the delivery person?

What if the front door doesn't get closed, or the system is hacked?

Michael Macauley, CEO of Pleasanton, California.-based Quadrant, said that as people start to use these services, insurance companies are likely to write policies that exclude coverage for accidents or other incidents involving the deliveries. He predicted they will charge as much as 20 percent more for coverage. He suggested that people who use the in-home delivery services call their insurance agents to make sure they're covered.

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