Telematics Devices for Cars: How Do They Work?

From smart vacuums to even smarter coffee pots, there seems to be a “smart device” for just about everything these days. And the insurance world is jumping in on the action by providing their customers opportunities to save on insurance when they use smart technology.

Many insurance companies, including American Family Insurance, offer car insurance monitoring devices (or to get technical — telematics devices) that connect to your smart phone and track your driving habits. This means the amount you pay for your auto insurance can now be partially based on how safe of a driver you are.

Let’s take a closer look at how this can benefit you.

What Is Usage-Based Insurance?

If you haven’t already heard of it, now is a good time to introduce usage-based insurance (UBI) — a term that goes hand-in-hand with your car insurance monitoring device. Simply put, usage-based insurance means “pay how you drive.” In other words, it’s setting your auto insurance premium based on how safe your driving habits are.

Your insurance company will typically give you an adapter for your vehicle, which goes in the onboard diagnostics port (OBD-II port) in your vehicle. You’ll sync the device with your smartphone, and the adapter (telematics device) will collect your vehicle’s data and send it to the app where you’ll then be able to view your driving behavior. And, if you’re a safe driver, you’ll save money on your premiums!

We know what you’re thinking: “What if my driving habits could use some work? Will my premium go up?” Thankfully, no. When it comes to usage-based insurance, you’ll always have your initial premium amount as the maximum amount you’ll pay. You won’t be penalized with higher premiums even if your driving includes some risky maneuvers. But on the other hand, this means you won’t receive as high of a discount.

So, What Exactly Does a Car Insurance Tracker Track?

Every car insurance company will monitor different driving behaviors to calculate your discount, but for the most part, an insurance company will track the data that displays what kind of driver you are.

For instance, some of the factors used to calculate your discount at American Family Insurance include vehicle usage (how often you drive), braking (how smoothly or abruptly you apply the brakes when stopping), and acceleration (how quickly or smoothly you accelerate after stopping). Speed and time of day are also factored in, among other driving behaviors. So, the safer you drive, the more likely you’ll increase your eligibility for a higher program discount.

Is My Privacy Protected with a Car Insurance Device?

We can’t speak for every insurance company out there, but at American Family Insurance, it’s our top priority to keep our customers’ personal information confidential. We’ll protect the data collected from our usage-based insurance program (you’ll find out more about that below) and we won’t share it unless we’re absolutely legally required to do so.

How Can I Get an Insurance Tracking Device for My Car?

Now for the fun part — here’s how you can get your car insurance tracking device! American Family Insurance offers a program called KnowYourDrive, which is our version of usage-based insurance. Depending on where you live, you can sign up for the program with your agent and we’ll send you a free plug-in adapter for your car (a.k.a. that nifty car insurance tracking device) and we’ll give you a 5% discount before you even put your foot on the pedal.

You’ll need to download the affiliated smartphone app so the data from the device gets sent back to us, and also so you can track your progress to adjust your driving behavior. With the KnowYourDrive powered by Automatic discount, you can get up to 40% off on your auto insurance. Not bad!

Are Car Trackers Worth It?

It’s really up to you! But our take on it? 100 percent yes. We think it’s worth giving it a try, because, as we noted before, your insurance premium will never go above what you originally set.

What’s the worst that could happen — finding out your driving habits aren’t up to snuff? But in return, you’ll make the road a safer place and maybe even put some extra change in your pocket. And, if you ever want to opt out of the program, it’s as simple as getting in touch with your insurance agent and cancelling at any time.

Does a discount on your auto insurance premium and becoming a safer driver sound good to you? Connect with an American Family Insurance agent to find out how you can save on your auto insurance with KnowYourDrive. In the meantime, learn more about insurance telematics.

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Related Topics: Car Safety , Technology , Safe Driving , On The Road