Is it a bad idea to have an auto insurance driver monitor?

It is not a bad idea to have an auto insurance driver monitor if you're a very cautious driver who doesn't mind sharing personal information with your insurance company. Enrolling in a UBI program with an auto insurance monitoring device could save you up to 15% on your rates. To find out if it's a bad idea to have a car insurance driver monitor, you'll need to consider your driving ability and your personal privacy preference.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and ...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2021

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Can't-Miss Facts

  • A telematics device or system will track not only how you drive but where and when you drive
  • Most companies do not use the collected data to penalize drivers, but Progressive and GEICO will add surcharges
  • If you are a safe driver with low annual mileage, enrolling in a usage-based insurance program could save you money

You’ve been on the lookout for more ways to save on your auto insurance rates, but even if you need more affordable auto insurance, is it a bad idea to have a car insurance driver monitor installed in your car?

Such a device is a vital part of an insurance company’s usage-based insurance (UBI) program and can help drivers save money.

The data collected by the auto insurance monitoring device is used by the company to determine how safe the driver is and to calculate how big a discount the driver is able to receive.

In short, if you’re a safe driver, you could save money on your auto insurance. If you still aren’t sure if it is a bad idea to have an auto insurance driver monitor, comparing auto insurance quotes online can help you make up your mind.

Enter your ZIP code above to receive free quotes from companies near you with or without an auto insurance driver monitor. Then read on to learn more.

What are the risks of using auto insurance tracking devices?

While most insurance companies on the market only use the collected data of their drivers to offer discounts, two insurance companies will use this information to raise premiums: GEICO and Progressive.

When signing up for a UBI program with Progressive or GEICO, you run the risk of getting slapped with a surcharge rather than a discount. You should also be aware that, some insurance companies may share your personal data with affiliated advertisers.

But insurance companies also use their UBI programs as a way to provide useful tips to their drivers.

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How do auto insurance driver monitors work?

If you decide to take part in a usage-based auto insurance program, there are a few different ways the insurance company will record your driving habits

Some companies employ an individual auto insurance driver monitoring tool known as a telematics device; this plugs into your car’s diagnostic port while others can make use of telematics systems that are already built into your car like OnStar or SYNC.

Sometimes drivers can even use the insurance company’s app on their smartphones to track their driving.

Generally, insurance companies offer an initial discount just for getting started with the program; this discount amount will vary so you should always ask your insurance company how much they offer.

Drivers will have to wait about six months before seeing potentially more discounts. After analyzing all the data that is collected during that time, a tailored discount will be awarded by your insurance company.

While most advertisements boast that a UBI program can save drivers an enormous amount on their insurance, drivers typically see savings of about 15% on their policies, which is still nothing to sneeze at.

If you don’t want to worry about an increase in your auto insurance rates, is it a bad idea to have an auto insurance driver monitor?

Most UBI programs do not negatively affect a driver’s insurance, but that is not always the case.

Do auto insurance monitoring devices improve driving skills?

Most UBI programs will provide useful feedback to help increase driver safety and, potentially, your discount. For example, the Progressive Snapshot device will beep to alert you if you’re braking too hard, and the Metromile smartphone app will analyze your driving habits for you.

Every program is different, and you should know that different insurance companies hold different driving habits in high regard. For instance some place emphasis on low mileage or safe driving.

Travelers and National General, for example, only track the number of miles you’ve driven. This means that your discount is a reflection of how many miles you’ve logged.

Allstate Drivewise, on the other hand, doesn’t take low mileage into account. This program would prefer if you avoid late-night driving, hard braking, and high-speed driving.

In opposition to the prior UBI programs, Nationwide only tracks your driving habits for a certain time frame, after which you then send back the tracking device. Any discount you earn after that period is applied and remains as long as you remain with Nationwide.

Should I use an auto insurance driver monitor?

If you want to buy auto insurance, is it a bad idea to have an auto insurance driver monitor? Whether or not you should enroll in an insurance company’s UBI program all boils down to your personal preferences and how you drive.

You can tell if you’ll be a good fit for such a program if you:

  • Drive less than 11,500 miles on an annual basis
  • Are a gentle driver
  • Don’t mind being tracked

Your driving skills are primarily what affect your rates for most UBI programs so if you know that you employ great safe driving practices, signing up for an auto insurance driver monitor could be a surefire way to reduce your insurance rates.

If you drive less than 11,500 miles a year, you’re driving below the national average, which can save you money on your insurance. If you’re a stay-at-home parent or working from home, enrolling in a UBI program could reduce your auto insurance rates.

Every driver should be aware that having a telematics device or system in their vehicle means that they are being tracked and monitored by their insurance company.

It is important to ask your insurance company how they protect your data and if they sell your information to affiliated advertisers before you sign up for any car insurance driver monitors.

If you’re interested in trying out a UBI program, the next step is to find a company that offers one.

Which auto insurance companies offer UBI programs?

Maybe you’ve found a great insurance company that has all the coverage options you want, but if you aren’t sure if you can afford that particular auto insurance company, is it a bad idea to have an auto insurance driver monitor to save money?

It could be a great way to save on your rates, and some companies that offer the top usage-based insurance programs include:

  • Nationwide
  • State Farm
  • Allstate
  • Progressive
  • Metromile
  • Liberty Mutual
  • AAA

You can find a wide variety of companies that offer not only great UBI programs but other excellent discounts that can help you save even if you don’t drive as safely as you thought.

For example, just look at the array of discounts offered by Allstate and Liberty Mutual:

Allstate vs. Liberty Mutual Company Auto Insurance Discounts
DiscountsAllstate Discounts Offered (Percentage)Liberty Mutual Discounts Offered (Percentage)
Adaptive Cruise ControlN/A5
Adaptive HeadlightsN/A5
Anti-lock Brakes105
Claim Free35N/A
Daytime Running Lights25
Defensive Driver1010
Distant Student35N/A
Driver's Ed1010
Driving Device/App2030
Early Signing10N/A
Electronic Stability Control25
Farm Vehicle10N/A
Federal EmployeeN/A10
Forward Collision WarningN/A5
Full Payment10$5
Further EducationN/A10
Good Student2022.5
Green Vehicle1010
Multiple Policies1020
Multiple VehiclesN/A10
New AddressN/A5
New GraduateN/A5
Newer Vehicle30N/A
Newly LicensedN/A5
On Time Payments5N/A
Paperless Documents10N/A
Paperless/Auto Billing5N/A
Passive Restraint30N/A
Recent RetireesN/A4
Safe Driver45N/A
Senior Driver10N/A
Students & AlumniN/A10
Switching ProviderN/A10
Utility Vehicle15N/A
Vehicle Recovery1035
VIN EtchingN/A5

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It’s important to remember that even if a UBI program doesn’t score you the biggest discount, you may qualify for other discounts that keep your insurance rates affordable.

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Is it a bad idea to have an auto insurance driver monitor?

To answer that question, you’ll need to consider your driving ability and your personal preference.

If you’re a very cautious driver who doesn’t mind sharing your personal information with your insurance company, enrolling in a UBI program could be a great way to for you save money on auto insurance.

Although, it’s important to note that even if you don’t get as big of a discount as you had hoped for with a UBI program, you could still qualify for other discounts that will keep your insurance rates affordable.

Ready to find the best insurance rates even without a driver monitor? Just enter your ZIP code below to receive free insurance quotes today.

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