How U.S. Consumers Feel About Usage-Based Auto Insurance

September 5, 2013
A study by claims telematics data can show where drivers are going, unbeknownst to most users of the technology.

  • September 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    Greg says:
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    Of course people want the UBI, but ONLY if the insurance company guarantees that the premium won’t increase if their usage is higher than they are currently being rated for! I’m sure the insurance companies that offer UBI will decrease the rate if usage decreases BUT they will ALSO INCREASE the rate if the usage increases. That’s most likely why the insurance companies desire the UBI.

  • September 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm
    Bob Trotta says:
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    People should NOT be so quick to hook up that snapshot device from Progressive because it could cause a problem with the electronics in their car. I know someone who used it in his newer Lexus ES 300 and it screwed up his electronics! Thank God Lexus was able to reset everything because they said that if they had to replace things it would have cost THOUSANDS! So, beware!

    • September 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm
      Mr. Solvent says:
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      I’m calling BS right now. It would be like your diagnostics tool blowing up electronics. Not going to happen. Sounds like Lexus had a scapegoat.

  • September 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm
    Huh! says:
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    I imagine the younger drivers — or any driver — will modify their driving habits while any UBI device is attached to the vehicle. But afterwards???? And if we go to driverless cars in the future, will UBI still be a viable option?

  • September 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm
    Mellie Wackly says:
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    In my experience “good drivers” ask about it up front, “bad drivers” and self proclaimed “paranoid” people tell us up front that they don’t want it. I’m not convinced that the general public REALLY understands it.

  • September 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm
    CSP says:
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    Anyone that signs up for one of those ‘dongles’ is a bloody idiot. It will be a short jump to the government gaining access to the information. Just look at your air-bag readouts that are no longer needed on vehicles, they can be used against you by the police department. Same with your GPS unit, reads back route, speed limit and your speed.

    • September 6, 2013 at 9:50 am
      SWFL Agent says:
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      Don’t worry CSP. I don’t think they’ll be offering this technology in the little town in Utah where you live.

  • September 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm
    CM says:
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    As some often point out, concerns exist over the ability to use the data in multiple ways – most concerning to some is the tracking of speed, etc. Yes, if you are speeding and in an accident, black box data has been available for years to support the fact that you were breaking the law and that your speeding may have been a significant contributing factor in an accident. Those that follow the law, usually don’t have issues with information being tracked – that’s one reason why it is benefitical for insurers—it can attracts better risks.

  • September 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    LiveFree says:
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    Very interesting, it makes sense that the more you drive the more likely you are to get into an accident. In fact for one of my programs were we insure physical damage to aircraft we recently started a “pay as you fly” rating system and it is very popular. We have doubled the book of business this year, our first year with it. Overall the premiums are smaller and people seem to like how much sense it makes to not be charged the same amount for flying as not flying.

    • September 9, 2013 at 10:57 am
      Whodathunkit? says:
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      Miles driven is only one of the many underwriting factors that go into policy rating. How much does this really save someone annually?

  • September 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm
    Water Bug says:
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    My auto insurance agent who is a great guy and my insurance company who were kind enough to cover my Pontiac GTP and my 1958 Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite recently asked me if I would like one of those little spy doo dads on my cars to monitor my driving habits. I said “yes” for the Austin-Healey and I watched one of the agency employees trying to find the OBD2 port to plug the thing into.

  • September 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm
    Usernamehere says:
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    Would be a great idea but let’s be honest about a few things…

    - How are they going to know how much you drive? They aren’t going to take your word for it so either you have to have something in the car to track or you will have to submit something to show your odometer one week vs the next. Enter “spy/big brother” comments. What happens if an individual doesn’t report the info, do rates automatically change?
    – Also, that device that is mentioned in the article. Saves approx 30% assuming you meet all the criteria (don’t drive certain hours, hard braking, etc).

    - What happens if an individual modifies the truth on how much they drive. Will that impact other drivers who decided to tell the truth? What about from a claims standpoint…?

    - You can’t just have one company do this or they are going to absorb so much business that the wouldn’t be able to handle the volume (paperwork wise/assuming that much risk in the market from a claims standpoint)

    - Who defines what a lower rate is? What is being taken into consideration? Lower rates on comp/OTC since the car isn’t out in about? What about for BI, will those rates be lowered or since fraud (here in FL) is such an issue, would that really change? The company still needs to protect themself.

    Sounds great but give more info about how it would work.

  • September 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm
    Rusty says:
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    Good story, Water Bug. I also have a classic car and yes, it would be fun to see how they would hook up that gadget. Realistically, though, we typically drive our collectible cars so little that it appears there would hardly be enough premium to pay for the device, much less claims.

    My question is how use of these gadgets for determining premium would distinguish good and bad drivers or is this a concept that more or less forgives poor habits and doesn’t hold poor drivers responsible for their actions.

  • September 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm
    KentU says:
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    I went to a Progressive meeting years ago when they were doing UBI on a trial basis. Even their chief actuary stated that UBI can’t be actuarially accurate unless you consider where a person is driving and at what time of the day or night. I drive 73 miles one way from my house to my office but, I live in the country and don’t drive through any heavy traffic as I get off the highway shortly after getting into the city. Of course, I pay rates on where I live vs where I work. A person driving a shorter distance in a heavily populated city is going to be a much worse risk. I have neighbors that also make the long commute but, drive at least 10 miles of heavy traffic (close to their workplace) but, pay rates based upon living in a rural area. UBI using braking and acceleration statistics makes sense but, not on the distance a personal drives. I’ve lost some customers to UBI carriers but, even those ex-customers have not been completely happy with the rates they are getting under UBI.



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