Home Insurance Discounts? Unmonitored, monitored? California

There’s a hardware issue. The only UL listed central monitoring services I know, even the $9 a month ones that work with self installed systems, require cellular or landline connection. No internet or WiFi, it’s just not considered reliable enough for fire and security.

This is typical:

Your security system is designed to plug into a device called an RJ31X jack installed at your premises on one of your regular telephone lines. When activated, a relay in your security system “seizes” your phone line and gives the security system priority use of this line, allowing the security system to report its signals to the central monitoring station using a toll-free number. Don’t have a landline? No problem. Most security panels offer a GSM cellular option (SecureLinc for example). These panels are compatible with this monitoring service.

This is the hardware piece a typical ST installation is missing.

Hopefully the USB port(s) on Hub V2 will allow us to fix that.

Hi @Ben,

Do you recall some time ago you told all of us that ST will look into getting a Certificate to the effect of monitored or unmonitored Alarm system which we can give to our home owners insurance companies for discount? Is that still in the works or am I spinning my wheels in the mud?

I can tell you that I heard from a little-birdie that SmartThings is working out various relationships with and/or figuring out what will satisfy insurance companies.

Considering Nest is doing this for Nest Protect, it’s not unexpected that ST is (hopefully) working in this direction.

Home Insurance companies face internal struggles convincing their actuarial departments to price risk adjustment based on unproven technology.

1 Like

Nest protect (the latest model) is sweet. The earlier model is now on sale at HD for 79. The new ones for 99.

I had considered several different options for a security monitoring tools for my new home, but I decided not to proceed with a SmarThings alternative because insurance companies would not recognize this approach as a valid “monitored security solution”. Any progress on getting insurance companies to buy into the SmarThings type of approach?

SmartThings does not at present meet the UL requirements for monitored security systems, so not much chance at present. Maybe with V2, but no guarantees. For one thing, UL mandates at least 8 hours of battery backup (it may be longer).

There are multiple other DIY install systems (Frontpoint, Scout, Simplisafe etc) using similar sensor devices that can typically qualify for insurance discounts from some companies, so I believe the issue is the current ST hub communications infrastructure–and that this could definitely be changed if ST believes they have a business reason to do so. :wink:. But it would require both hardware and software changes, it won’t be an instant fix, and it’s unlikely to be something you could retrofit onto the v1 hub.

1 Like

I have independently discovered that SmartThings is working in partnerships / relationships with at least one or two home insurance vendors.

It is likely to be a sales and/or revenue opportunity for SmartThings as well. User activity data is very valuable to the insurance companies (aggregate and specific).

Monitored systems are more and more likely to require video verification of burglar alarms for police response (I have a link I may add…), so that’s a big reason SmartThings will offer video streaming and recording… Along with battery backup and cellular data connection, etc.

1 Like

OK, as of August 25, 2015, scout alarm and smartthings have an official arrangement where you can pay $20 a month for scout monitoring apparently using your smart things installation, and get the kind of certificate that insurance companies usually want before they give you a discount.

Check all the features and requirements very carefully. As of this writing, scout does not have any integrated smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors. So you can set up to send yourself a text if these alarms go off, but their monitoring center will not be notified, and they will not call 911 for you if it’s a smoke detector that goes off.

In some jurisdictions, they can call 911 as a burglar alarm going off for contact sensors. But they don’t have any glass break detectors either.

So it’s always good to see new integration, and this is the first time that there has been a smartthings security integration that might qualify for a typical homeowners insurance discount, but again read all the features carefully to make sure it fits what you’re looking for. Don’t make any assumptions about what you think “any monitored security system” should provide. Or whether your own insurance company will accept it. Check the details.

1 Like

Are they certified for your County JD? They have not gotten back to me.

I haven’t looked very deep into them as a potential personal solution because they don’t provide fire department calls. Fire safety is my personal biggest concern for my security system.

1 Like

Yeh. Will probably hold off on them until they support my Smoke/Co detector for my family.

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: SmartThings + Scout Professional Monitoring Now Available

Just a quick update:

The V2 hub battery backup feature is not long enough to meet UL certification requirements and if it does switch to battery you no longer get any notifications from it, not even on your phone (it doesn’t offer cellular communications), so the SmartThings system by itself can’t be UL certified as a monitoring system.

The monthly fee Scout integration is now official. May work for most insurance companies that will give a discount for intrusion monitoring. But they don’t have fire monitoring so if your insurance company requires that for the discount, you’re out of luck.

The ADT canopy integration that was announced at CES 2016 has not yet been implemented. That seems to be an issue on the ADT side as none of the other announced partners have implemented it yet, either.


One way around this could be to use the Universal Virtual Device Type to turn on a virtual contact sensor when a Smoke/CO/Glass Break/Motion sensor goes off. :wink:

1 Like

Doesn’t help, because the monitoring service will only call the police, not fire department.

If there’s a fire, I want the fire department. :sunglasses:

1 Like

They don’t call local 911, who then dispatches the police? Our fire is only dispatched via our local 911 center. I believe our police is too. Also for us when fire is dispatched, police is too, and are almost always first on scene (I’m a volunteer firefighter).

It works differently for third-party call centers. A person can call 911 for themselves, and either fire or police will be dispatched after a conversation with the dispatcher.

A paid call center has to have authorization in order to call emergency services on behalf of another person. They have to get separate authorization from police and from the fire department. The reason for this is that fire services typically have fewer resources and cities don’t want them called out on false alarms if possible. They assume that a third-party has less information to verify the problem.

When you investigate a monitoring service read the descriptions carefully. They will say whether they are authorized to report “intrusions” ( in which case only the police are called, not fire), “fire” ( in which case the fire department is called) or for “medical emergencies” (in which case the paramedics are called).

Many of the low-cost services are only authorized to report intrusions.

Higher cost services, such as ADT in most areas, will specify if they can call fire.

For example, a smoke detector event will cause the alarm monitoring service to contact the fire department, while the signal from a medical alert pendant will be routed to ambulance or paramedic services.

The service that SmartThings integrates with, scout, is only authorized to call police departments for intrusion alerts , not fire services.

Again, the rules for the services are different because this is not a first party call. But just ask any monitoring service that you’re interested in, they can explain what services they provide.


Let’s say I’m at work 50 miles from home and I get a ST notification that there is an intrusion or fire which I think is real. How do I call the 911 dispatch at my home residence and not 911 dispatch where I’m currently at? The only way to dispatch our local fire companies is via 911. Same may be true for police.

You have to know the local dispatch number. There are some apps that have this information.

For fire, if you use the Leeo audio sensor, it automatically gives you The correct number to call, even though it doesn’t make the call itself. :sunglasses: