Americans have become more privacy conscious this century with the maturity of the digital age. There are practical reasons for that too with fraud and identity theft presenting an ever-present threat online.
However, there are instances where choosing to sacrifice some privacy can save you money.
For example, your auto insurance may monitor your driving in exchange for a discount on your premium. Should you let them? That’s what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.
Should I Let My Car Insurance Monitor My Driving?
Is it OK to let auto insurance monitor my driving through a mobile app?
That’s what listeners will want to know on the March 15 episode of the podcast.
Ask Mitt in Minnesota: “What do you think about allowing insurance companies to monitor driving? USAA will provide discounts of up to 30% for safe driving. With a teenage boy our rates were sky high. What danger could be lurking if we install their monitoring app, and is it worth it?”
Progressive Insurance first experimented with this technology in 2006, Clark said. The insurance company monitors your speed, sudden starts and stops, fast lane changes, use of the phone while driving and other things. They use predictive analysis to determine your true risk factors.
Clark is well aware of historic driving data involving teenage boys and young men. The potential money savings aren’t the only reason you might consider adding an invasion of privacy for your son.
“If your teen becomes a very different driver or a very different driver while they are being supervised, this could save your teen’s life,” says Clark. “To let them know they are being watched and how they are driving would be a problem.
“As a parent, you have to decide what logical consequences there are if it turns out that your teen is driving like he thinks he is in NASCAR, not on public roads.
“But this technology is far more accurate than the original experiment 17 years ago. And you really feel how you drive or how other people drive.
Pros and Cons of Car Insurance Monitoring on Your Car
Installing one of these devices in your vehicle is not a reverse proposition.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that all of this data is recorded. And it can legally be used against you later in the event of an accident, for example.
The insurance company also records where you were and when you were there whenever you were driving.
Maybe technically your premium could be even more expensive if you’re a bad driver. But usually you get an automatic discount just by installing a driving app. And rates can drop from there if you drive well.
When auto insurance companies first introduced monitoring, some of the telemetry received criticism and appeared skewed. That’s no longer the case, Clark said. And these devices, even if you sacrifice privacy, can make you a safer driver through enforced accountability or granular feedback.
“As a longtime driver, you may be surprised at the habits you or I may have developed that make us more dangerous on the road than we realize,” says Clark. “So there’s a real security value for all of us, and an invasion of privacy, with this system.”
While auto insurance monitors aren’t perfect, they can often save you money. And they can help you or your family members drive safer.
For many people, it’s worth giving up privacy for those double results. But that’s a choice you have to make for yourself.