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Should You Use an Auto Insurance Tracking Device?

Car insurance companies have started using tracking devices to monitor customers’ driving habits, with the promise of lower insurance rates for safe drivers. Progressive’s program is called Snapshot, Allstate has Drivewise, State Farm has Drive Safe and Save, and Nationwide uses SmartMiles. The programs are currently optional and may reduce your insurance premium if the data the device captures show that you follow proper driving practices.

However, some people have raised concerns about privacy and whether using the devices actually saves you much on your car insurance. The discounts these companies promise vary. Nationwide claims that good drivers could see savings as high as 40 percent, with the average discount around 20 percent. However, some users have reported seeing a minimal reduction or none at all.

How Do Car Insurance Tracking Devices Work?

These devices typically plug into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic (OBD-II) port, the same port accessed by mechanics to scan for problems or error codes. Most cars built in the last 25 years have this port. Some of the data that the device can track include:
  • Speed
  • Distance driven
  • Instances of hard braking
  • Time spent driving
  • Location
The type of data tracked can paint a picture of the overall responsibility and safety of a particular driver. Instances of speeding and hard braking can show how much attention you pay to your surroundings. 
Activation of high-tech safety features, when linked to mapping data, can show whether you’re obeying stop signs and other traffic regulations. GPS information that shows you driving into dangerous areas and driving at night could indicate a pattern of risk to an insurer.

Understanding the Privacy Concerns

The location tracking that these devices provide poses some privacy issues, as it’s not entirely clear how this data might be used in the future, or how secure it is in the event of a data breach.
Users of the tracking devices should weigh any potential discounts against their preference to keep their driving habits more private. Some insurance companies are transparent with what their devices track, but others are not. 
If you are considering using a tracking device to lower your auto insurance rates, you should review the privacy policy of the insurer and what they track, as well as how they use that information to determine who is a safe driver. It’s also important to note whether they share any information with third parties or with advertisers.

Need Help Dealing with an Insurance Company After an Accident? Contact Us

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can’t always trust that insurance companies will have your best interests in mind.
You need an experienced attorney on your side if you were hurt in a crash that was caused by someone else. The dedicated team at Ketterman Rowland, & Westlund has the experience and skills to help you demand the full and fair amount that you’re owed. Call us or fill out our contact form right away to schedule a free consultation.