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Can My Auto Insurer Track Me?

Car tracking insurance company savings

Can My Insurer Charge Me More if I’m a Bad Driver?

Yes it can, if you allow it.

Why would you? Well, many auto insurers are now implementing tracking devices that utilize GPS, telematics and other technology to track how you drive. Based upon that data, this could save you money. Or not.

How Does It Work?

Progressive Insurance utilizes “Snapshot.”  You, the insured, allow Progressive to install a device that collects driving data from when you use your vehicle.  How fast you drive, how slowly you brake, whether you follow too closely, all that data is analyzed.  If you are deemed a safer driver, you get a discount on your premiums.  If you are a risky driver, you probably wind up paying more in premiums.

Why Would You Not Do This If It Saves Money?

 Loss of privacy is one reason. Many millennials do not see this as a problem, since so many were raised on monitoring devices, technology, and view sharing intimate details with 1,000s of their “friends” on social media as no big deal. However, others fear a creeping Big Brother concept where the “freedom” of driving is ceded along with privacy in the search for a few bucks saved.

What Other Issues Are There?

Even something as logical as starting your car at night to tinker with it can raise your rates, since the Snapshot devices sees this as “driving at night during a high-risk period.”  Nothing is placed in context—data is data to the device.  Likewise, if you brake abruptly for a pedestrian or a deer or a cyclist, this could also raise your rates, despite the fact you were driving safely.

What Other Technology Can Auto Insurers Use That Can Hurt Me?

There is always social media.  Insurers use this against you already.  Every person who claims injury and files a claim had better assume his or her Facebook or Twitter or Instagram page is being scrutinized.  You cannot hope to collect for your injuries and disability if there are photos or videos of you at Cousin Jeremy’s wedding doing the splits or lifting all 5 bridesmaids on your shoulders.

Another way the insurers use this information is when people are caught in an outright lie.  There is a couple in California who claimed their car was stolen.  They reported it stolen and put in a claim with their carrier.  Unfortunately for them, they are now up on insurance fraud charges because right before they reported their car stolen, their cellphone pinged near where the vehicle was found.

What Should I Do?

You should recognize the risk versus the reward of sharing your private information.  A cheaper insurance premium may be gained but privacy lost.  You may lose the ability to drive “how you want” when you are being “watched” by the plug-in telematic device in your vehicle.  This may also get interesting in families with multiple drivers.  (Sure, son, you can take the car on a date, but you can’t drive over the speed limit.)

In the end, it is up to each driver to determine what price he or she is willing to pay for a better rate.  Many who fear a loss of autonomy, with self-driving vehicles already on the near horizon, may wish to pay more and retain independence, while others will do whatever is required for a cheaper rate.

Takeaways

  • Insurers Have Technology that Watches How You Drive
  • You can Save Money By Allowing This Technology To Be Installed in Your Vehicle
  • This Technology Comes With a Price—loss of independence and freedom
  • Each Driver or Insured Must Make His or Her Own Mind Up About What The Value/Cost of Giving Up Independence In Exchange for Lower Premiums

Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman

If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He has been named a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. 

Stephen handles personal injury and workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.

 

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