Progressive and Allstate are both offering customers the option to have a driver monitoring device installed in their vehicles to garner as much as a 30 percent drop in their auto insurance rates.
The device, which is approximately the size of a pack of cigarettes, monitors and records details about operating speed, miles driven, and braking. The data will be analyzed for such potentially risky moves as hard braking, speeding, swerving, and lane hopping. Both companies say no other data is collected.
Allstate’s program is called “Drive Wise,” while the Progressive version is known as “Snapshot.” Drivers who voluntarily agree to the installation of the monitoring device will receive an immediate enrollment discount. Over time, their movements and habits are scored to determine deeper cuts. State Farm does offer a variant of this insurance model for customers who drive cars that have the OnStar system, which tracks monthly mileage and submits it to the company’s Drive Safe and Save program.
The real time nature of the data collection makes it difficult for drivers to get an actual, traditional insurance quote to use as the basis for a price comparison. Participants do say, however, that the savings is worth the effort involved. Clients that do not exhibit good behavior are not penalized, they’re just not rewarded with discounted premium rates. State Farm’s program is mileage based, so it easily translates to fewer miles and less money paid, often as much as 45 percent less.
Allstate’s Drive Wise is currently available in Illinois only, but the company expects to expand to other states in the second quarter of 2011. Progressive’s Snapshot is an option in 20 states, and State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save is presently offered in California and Ohio. Studies that have examined driver behavior within monitoring programs show that motoristd do adopt safer driving habits and all three companies say they want to see these offerings available nationally as soon as possible.