Driving monitors are the latest trend for car insurance companies. Many insurers are offering driver monitor programs that promise to lower rates for safe drivers. The benefits include lower premiums and improved safety, while the drawbacks can include raised prices and privacy concerns. Keep reading for an overview of the pros and cons of using insurance driving monitors in your car.
What are insurance driver monitoring programs?
Driver monitoring programs are becoming increasingly popular for insured drivers. Allstate offers Drivewise for its customers and Progressive has their Snapshot program. Many insurers offer these programs to new clients or existing clients that qualify for the program.
Sometimes driver monitoring programs are referred to as telematics. A device attaches to the OBD-II port in your car, so it can collect data from your vehicle’s computer. The data is then sent to your insurance company and they monitor the metrics of your driving.
Common metrics for telematics include:
- The time your car was used
- How far you drove
- Your speed while driving
- Your braking patterns
- Your location
Pros of insurance driving monitors
There are many benefits of insurance driving monitors. Insurance companies use the concept of telematics based insurance to offer lower premiums of better packages for their customers. The idea is that safe drivers can benefit from discounts and lower costs, essentially being rewarded for safe driving practices. Common benefits of insurance driving monitors include the following features.
The biggest draw for driver monitoring programs is cost savings. Insurers that monitor drivers through telematics provide lower premiums for safe drivers that meet the qualifications of the driving monitor program. In fact, the promise of lower premiums and cost savings is one of the most common reasons that drivers choose to install driving monitors in their cars.
In essence, driver monitoring programs link car insurance premiums to a driver’s habits on the road. This method results in a more accurate premium based on the actual driving behavior of the customer. These devices can also be beneficial if you pay by mileage and drive less often.
While the ultimate benefit of a telematic program is cost savings, the goal is really to encourage safer driving. Drivers are encouraged to drive safer in order to save money on their premiums and enjoy the benefits of a driving monitor program. Drivers also have access to their data, so you can monitor your own driving habits. The more you improve your driving, the more you can potentially save.
There are many ancillary benefits of driver monitoring programs, such as roadside assistance. Some insurance companies offer extra incentives to encourage drivers to use their telematics programs. If you enroll in your insurance company’s driver monitoring program, you may have access to emergency assistance or roadside assistance even if you are not in a crash. If you are in an emergency situation, the tracking device may be able to share your location with an emergency roadside assistance team.
Show your skills
If you feel your insurance premiums are too high, a telematics program can help you prove that you are a safe driver. These programs may be more beneficial for teenagers or other drivers that are traditionally labeled as a poor risk to show that they are safe drivers. You can prove to your insurance company that you are responsible and a skilled driver.
Many driver monitoring devices include location services. These services are typically used for insurance companies to track how far you drive, but they can also be used to locate your vehicle. If your vehicle is lost or stolen, you may be able to locate it through your telematic device. Vehicle tracking devices can be very expensive, so this benefit can provide some additional cost savings.
Accurate damage estimation
The data collected by a driver monitoring device can provide insurance companies with accurate information on any accidents you may be involved in. Your insurer may be able to recreate an accident more accurate and get a full picture of the event. This data can ensure you are provided with the compensation you are owed to repair your vehicle when it is damaged.
Cons of insurance driving monitors
With so much data being shared, there are some drawbacks to consider when using a driver monitoring device. Telematics programs collect a lot of information on you, your vehicle, and your regular behaviors. Some drivers may not be comfortable with all of this data being passed on to an organization. Consider the following cons of a telematics program before signing up.
Concerns over privacy
Connecting a telematic device to your car is essentially putting a monitor or tracker in your vehicle. This device can report your location, regular patterns, and track other invasive metrics. All of this data will be shared with your insurance company. Depending on the fine print of your agreement, they have considerable flexibility with how they interpret and use this data.
Issues in programming
Some drivers who have used a telematics device have reported some concerns over how the program tracks data. For instance, you may be penalized for braking hard at a yellow light and not penalized for driving through a yellow light. The device cannot account for your environment and road conditions, so there are some gaps in the service. In some cases, drivers may be encouraged to drive poorly in order to avoid getting dinged by their driver monitoring program.
Data transfer issues
If you change insurance companies, you may not be able to bring your telematics data with you. You can put in a lot of time and effort to lower your premiums with one insurance company only to lose all of that work when you switch companies. Enrolling in a driver monitoring program may make it difficult to change insurance plans later on.
In some cases, drivers experience an increase in their insurance rates or premiums. If the data is interpreted in a way that makes you seem like a bad driver, your insurance company can raise your rates. Once your rates go up, it can be difficult to get them back down again, even if you drive safely.
Whether or not an insurance driving monitor will benefit you will depend on your unique situation. Telematics programs can benefit many drivers by lowering insurance premiums based on safe driving. They can also offer additional benefits such as roadside assistance programs, vehicle tracking, and general improved driving. However, not all drivers may experience the same benefits.
Our agents can check to see if your current insurer offers a driving monitor program to lower your rates or if we can quote another insurer who does. Call our agents at 1-800-216-4171 to see what’s available!