Tracking Devices – Money Saver or Privacy Threat?

Tracking Devices

Tracking Devices

During the last couple of years, insurance companies have been offering tracking devices to lower your insurance premiums. Allstate call it the Drive Wise system, State Farm the Drive Safe and Save, and Progressive Pay as You Drive program (or snapshot tool). Progressive’s Snapshot Tool has recently been seen in the “Rate Suckers” campaign on TV.

The idea is not new, in fact it has been around for a long time, but technology has made it easier to use. Most of the well-known auto insurers in United States now have some sort of program to offer or being in trials.

Are They a Money Saver?

In some cases you get an immediate discount for joining these programs, typically 10 percent. Additional discounts are offered after the device shows that you are a safe driver.

Tracking data is supposed to relate to safe driving habits and calculate accident risks. If the data shows that a driver is doing harder braking and sudden stops, the more likely this driver is a distracted driver. This also means, the greater the chance of running into another vehicle and the greater risk for the insurance company.

All companies say that data will not cause insurance premiums to rise. Instead, only good drivers will receive a chance to lower their premiums.

For Arthur Stuart, 47, in Massachusetts it is a real saver. He tends to think more about defensive driving than before. This includes braking early and smoothly before a traffic light changes to red, keeping a safe following distance to the vehicle ahead and stay within the speed limit. A proven record of no accidents and no traffic violations does not hurt, either. He is the typical customer that can gain a lot from any of the programs.

Safety should pay.

Younger drivers, with less experience, may not have as much to gain from letting the insurance company track their driving habits.

Progressive, however, claims that about 70 percent of the people who sign up for their program end up with a discount. This undoubtedly will appeal to many customers.

Privacy Concerns

The tracking devices are allowed in most states. This does not mean that they haven’t raised privacy concerns. The discussions about the possible misuse of tracking data exist in several places. Some call this a Big Brother mentality that should be stopped. Many are worried the tracking will eventually become mandatory and an industry standard.

Are you prepared to have your driving habits tracked?


  1. No way. Does Geico also offer this?

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