Guest Post By: Susan Wells
Lowering premiums is often a top priority for policy holders looking to save money while still having the benefits of insurance. Some car insurance companies are trying to help customers achieve just that with some innovative new technology meant to help people maintain their vehicle according to their policy’s stipulations.
But there’s a catch: this technology promoted by some car insurance companies is tantamount to a spy movie-like monitoring device installed in a customer’s vehicle. The question is whether or not customers will allow themselves to be tracked in exchange for lower premiums.
A recent article from USA Today detailed this new movement by car insurance companies to incorporate tracking software into a lower-premium plan. According to the article, it seems like the primary usage for such technology is parents who want to keep tabs on unruly teenagers who are just starting to drive on their own. Everyone knows that insurance companies have higher rates for teens who drive simply because they tend to be riskier behind the wheel than veteran drivers. It appears that this tracking technology is one way that car insurance companies are trying to cut families a break.
One of the pioneering companies for this technology is Traveler’s. They offer a feature called IntelliDrive that essentially works as a tracking system for a customer’s vehicle. The device collects data about where the vehicle has been driven, at what times it’s been driven, and even the speed at which it’s been driven. The data is readily viewable for drivers, and it also helps car insurance companies make sure that people meet the mileage standards of their policies.
The feature also doubles as a helpful device for parents who want to keep tabs on their kids. Parents can view the GPS data from these devices to make sure that teens behind the wheel were responsible while driving. Parents can view their kids’ speeding patterns, itinerary, and other helpful data through IntelliDrive. And what’s more, they can significantly reduce their kids’ driving insurance premiums for doing so.
Of course not everyone will be willing to submit so much information to insurance companies (or to monitor their kids so closely) in exchange for lower rates. Some may say that this tracking technology is a step too far in monitoring a person’s driving history. The idea of recording every single mile driven might turn away teens who would otherwise want to drive, or it might turn off adults who want lower premiums but not at the loss of their privacy.
In any case, Traveler’s program is still its infancy—and it’s only available in a handful of states. It remains to be seen if customers will increasingly support tracking technology in their cars in exchange for better prices on their policies.
What’s your take on this tracking technology? Would you let insurance companies know your driving habits if it cost less money to have a policy? I’d love to hear from readers about this!
Message from Victoria: I’m all about saving money but I don’t know about having my insurance company track my driving habits. Thanks Susan for the great information…defiintely something to think about and consider!
Susan Wells is a former insurance agent turned blogger trying to help consumers get the best deals on their home, auto, and health insurance policies. Feel free to send any comments her way!