Inside-your-home deliveries could raise insurance premiums

Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

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

"In any of those situations, will Amazon be held liable or will the homeowner be at fault?" said Michael Macauley, CEO of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Quadrant. "Amazon Key is still in the early stages. There are so many questions surrounding liability if a problem were to occur during delivery."

Quadrant offers pricing analytics for property and casualty insurance carriers.

Amazon said its service allows customers to set the frequency and length of time for friends and family to access their homes using smart locks. It also plans to release a service making it possible to schedule access for other providers, such as house cleaners and dog walkers.

"It answers the question: What do I do with packages on my doorstep?" Macauley said of the Amazon service. "But I can't imagine what kind of litigation we'll have. The better insured, the more likely you are to get sued."

Macauley said that as people start to use these services, insurance companies are likely start 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.

Macauley suggested that people who use the in-home delivery services call their insurance agents to make sure they are covered.

But, to avoid problems entirely, he said, just avoid the service.

"Frankly, I wouldn't do it," he said. "To spare having packages stolen from your doorstep, have them delivered to you at work. Just don't have them delivered to your home. That seems like the obvious choice."

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