Auto Insurance is Big Brother with Monitoring Devices

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Thinking to save money on your auto insurance by using one of those devices you plug into your car which monitors your driving habits?  I did this myself with my current insurance provider to save the extra change, but when I had access to the DriveSense analytics it made me stop and think a little bit and consider if I am really sure I want this much data shared?

How Much Are You Sharing with Insurance Companies?

Well, if you have one of those tracking devices installed in your car which monitors everything from your driving speed, averages, miles, trips, location and any harsh events it can detect.  You pretty much are giving a fully detailed roadmap (pun intended) of all of your driving habits.

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A quick test to a local store yesterday and it shows I drove 2 miles, had an average speed of 31mph and hit a max speed of 48mph during that 2 mile trip.

I also get a GPS map showing me the exact route I took with the time I left and the time I shut off the car.  You get a full log of all your trips, miles driven and can track if you have any harsh events.  I don’t know what classifies as a harsh event as I haven’t seen any on my record, but I assume it is excessive speeding or something along those lines.

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However, I found a glitch in the DriveSense because it doesn’t always track car speed properly, we take a truck to California periodically and this truck really can’t go above 90mph, occasionally I get up to 95 on the 75 I-8, I know it is speeding but it is abandoned and helps shave a few minutes off of a 6 hour drive.

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Seeing that the car monitor recorded me at speeds of 128MPH was absurd, as this truck can’t even hit that speed and I have never even hit 110 before in any car in my life.  No chance I was doing 128mph so the technology must be reading the speedometer improperly or something here.  Note, the monitor thinks I was going 128MPH yet there was no "harsh event" flag, if I saw any speed really reach that I would think it should flag as a harsh event in my opinion.

You can see that my average miles driven is quite a bit lower than the average DriveSense user over the past 20 days.

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I can even see where my 3 cars are parked right now by logging into this site, so it kind of acts like a stolen theft device if a car thief forgets to remove it, or removes it after their trip, it can lead police right to the last location the car was parked before the device was removed.

You can even setup alerts for exceeding a specific speed or harsh driving patterns (again, not sure what classifies as harsh driving). 

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This however, I see as a great feature for parents of teenage drivers, you can get driving patterns and reports while your kids are behind the wheel, know that they are going where they say they are going and get a report if they are being reckless and speeding behind the wheel so you can help reinforce safe driving conditions before they get into an accident.

So yes, by having your driving patterns analyzed it may lead to savings on your auto insurance at the loss of any sort of privacy around your driving habits, hopefully by having a clean driving pattern this should lead to savings and lower premiums as a result.  You also gain the benefit of monitoring the vehicle if you have children who drive your car, but is it worth the insurance company knowing everything about your vehicle, where you go, how fast you go, and every aspect of what you are doing with your car?

It also poses a security risk if the site should be exposed, it could allow targeting for theft, break ins and more.  Should someone learn that you use this insurance company and service they may be able to find out when you are not home and break in…etc.  The data could be stolen, shared at any point like any other online data and these are all things to consider when installing a device that monitors your every driving habit just to save a few dollars with your insurance company.

For the record, I do have these installed in my own vehicles because I love reviewing and testing all new technology and I wanted to learn more about it.  I am not endorsing any insurance company whatsoever, just merely stating my opinion and views on insurance companies that monitor your car habits.

Updated: January 21, 2014 — 1:00 pm