Wouldn’t it be nice to pay less to insure your car? If you’re a safe driver, you now have options to drive your auto insurance rates down by enrolling in one of the many telematics programs.
Also known as usage-based programs, several auto insurance carriers now offer some type of program. What telematics and usage-based programs do is track driving habits and vehicle usage either by installing a device in your vehicle, downloading an app on your cell phone or a combination of the two. It’s a fairly simple process that has the potential for big savings.
Each carrier’s version of telematics is different, but most offer the same general benefit: the better your driving, the bigger your premium discount. This is great news for safe drivers!
How do you know if you’re a safe driver?
Each carrier uses their device and/or mobile app to track your driving habits. They take this data and calculate a safe driver score.
The driving habits measured can be any combination of the following:
- Acceleration – leave the rapid acceleration to the professional race car drivers.
- Braking – avoid hard breaking by providing adequate space between you and other vehicles to better anticipate what other drivers are doing around you.
- Cornering – avoid turning corners too quickly.
- Distraction – avoid making handheld calls, texting and any other physical interactions with your phone while driving.
- Idle time – steady flowing traffic is typically safer than stop-and-go traffic.
- Mileage – the more miles driven, the higher the chances of an accident.
Keep in mind highway miles are usually rated differently than in-town miles, so don’t let that be a deterrent!
- Speed – high speeds mean less time to react to hazards around you.
- Time of day – avoid driving really late at night to help improve your score.
Each carrier’s program tracks different driving habits, so you’ll want to check with your specific carrier to find out the details of what will be measured and how the score is actually determined.
Should you consider if you have a teen driver?
If you have a young or inexperienced driver on your policy, you may be thinking this is a horrible idea. Sure, they drive well when you’re in the vehicle with them, but what about when you’re not?
That thinking is actually a great reason to consider telematics! The telematics program provides an objective evaluation on how your young driver is doing even when you’re not in the car. Having this third party feedback helps you correct your teen driver’s unsafe habits without feeling like mom or dad is nagging.
These user-based programs generally give you at least three months to correct unsafe driving habits and improve your score. So you have time to help your young driver boost their score if needed, or the score for anyone on your policy who may discover they have less than desirable driving habits.
How is my discount determined?
Several carriers offer a discount just for signing up for their usage-based program. After signing up, you can show off your great driving habits and be on the road to discovering your driving score.
Good driving scores are then used to calculate a percentage discount on your insurance premium at renewal. Again, it varies by insurance company. But typically the better your driving score, the better your discount.
If you have more than one driver on the policy, each driver enrolled in the program will accumulate their own score. All drivers’ scores will be calculated into the overall discount applied.
If your family members enjoy a little friendly competition, this a great opportunity to see who can get the best driving score. You may see improvement in everyone’s safe driving habits and in return, a greater discount on your auto insurance premium.
With many carriers, your driving score will only affect the amount of discount applied to your premium. Be careful, though … riskier driving habits can result in higher premiums with some companies!
Which insurance carriers offer a usage-based program?
Telematics and usage-based programs are really starting to gain traction in the auto insurance industry. It’s a great way for carriers to gain more accurate and applicable knowledge of the risk they are taking to insure your vehicle.
These benefits have inspired many auto insurance carriers to launch their own telematics programs. Some companies are still gradually rolling out the programs across the country, so not all programs are available to Kansas auto policy holders yet.
Here’s an overview of Eck Agency partners currently offering usage-based insurance programs in Kansas as of May 2020:
|Carrier||Program||Sign up discount*||Potential savings||System||Monitoring timeframe|
|Allstate||Drivewise®||Up to 10%||Up to 25%||Mobile App||Ongoing|
|Nationwide||SmartRide®||10%||Up to 40%||Plug-in device or Mobile App||4-6 months|
|Progressive||Snapshot®||$26 average discount||$145 average discount||Plug-in device or Mobile App||First policy period (usually 6 months)|
|Safeco||RightTrack®||Participation discount||Up to $513 per year||Mobile app||90 days|
|State Auto||Safety 360®||10%||Up to 50%||Mobile app & window tag||Ongoing|
|Travelers||IntelliDrive®||Savings possible||Up to 20%||Mobile app||90 days|
*Sign up discount is generally good only for the first policy, not each policy renewal.
How do I enroll in my carrier’s telematics program?
Enrolling in your carrier’s telematics or usage-based program can be as simple as downloading their app on your phone. Others may need to send you a device for each vehicle to get started.
The easiest way to begin is by contacting your independent insurance agent and let him or her know you want to enroll in your carrier’s telematics program. Our agents can make sure you have all you need to get started and answer questions you may have about the specific program you’re enrolling in.
Don’t wait another day to earn your well-deserved safe driving discount. Contact us today!