Most car insurance companies offer discount programs for safe driving if you join a program that allows the insurer to track your driving habits. Whether it’s Allstate’s Drivewise, Progressive’s Snapshot or GEICO’s Drive Easy program, insurers heavily market these programs as beneficial for all. A discount on car insurance rates sounds appealing but what are the risks of car insurance tracking programs?
How Drive Tracking Programs Work
When drive tracking programs started, insurance companies would send you a telematics device that would plug into your car to collect data. Now, many insurers use a smartphone app or in-vehicle connected service like OnStar. Once turned on, these programs track your driving habits such:
- The time of day you drive
- How often you drive
- Acceleration and braking speeds
- Sharp turns
- Phone usage while driving
These are examples. Keep in mind, every insurance company tracks different metrics and different data points and rewards drivers differently. It’s important to understand what driving habits could earn you a discount (or raise your rates).
For instance, could your insurer penalize you for frequently driving late at night? Driving between 11 pm and 5 am is the riskiest time of day and an insurance company could decide that even though you never go above the speed limit, the amount of times you drive during this risky time makes you an unsafe driver. If you sign up for a program, make sure to understand what behavior will drive a discount and when the discount begins.
Insurance companies may also use your driving data in other ways you may not realize. Some major auto insurers state that they share data with affiliated advertisers. Because you need location data enabled to use the drive tracking program, you could be sharing a lot of personal data without realizing it. If you’re in a car accident, your insurer will look at the data collected from the time of the accident to determine what happened.
How Drive Tracking Programs Affect a Car Accident Claim
When you agree to the drive tracking program and join, you are giving permission for your insurance company to use that data to resolve a claim. The kicker is that they may use your own data against you to deny or devalue a claim.
Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing claims. If you are pursuing a claim against an at-fault driver, the insurance companies will be looking for evidence. It's possible the opposing insurance company could get access to your driving behavior data and try to say, for instance, that you were accelerating quickly around a corner. If an insurer can show that you were partly at-fault for an accident, they will try to lessen the settlement amount.
Before you join a ‘drive and save’ program, you should carefully consider the risks of sharing your personal data with the benefit of the discount. Many people think they are a ‘safe driver’ and are surprised to learn that the data collected isn’t in line with their belief. Remember, a drive tracking program is only tracking your car, not other drivers or pedestrians, so there’s little context to the actual situation. If an animal or person unexpectedly jumps out onto the road and you have to brake hard, you’ll be penalized for that action even though it was the correct, safe action.
Do You Need Help With an Insurance Claim?
If you’ve been in a car accident and the insurance company is denying or devaluing your claim, we can help. Our skilled car accident lawyers understand evidence and how to build a case to maximize compensation for your losses. When you hire a personal injury lawyer from our team, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation. Don’t go it alone in negotiations with insurance companies. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.