Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Urges Consumers to Review Their Auto Insurance

August 7, 2017

The proliferation of usage-based insurance options, recent changes in driving behavior and more available transportation options are reasons Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller is urging Pennsylvania drivers to review their auto insurance, according to a press release issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance.

“People working from home, cities establishing bikeways, and the availability of transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft, are reasons some people are driving less and why they may be able to get the coverage they need for less money,” Commissioner Miller said in the release.

Miller also noted over time, families’ driving patterns change. A family member may retire and no longer be commuting to work or may change jobs and work closer to – or from – home. Additionally, a dependent child may move away to college, leaving their vehicle at home.

“I would advise consumers to speak with their insurance professional about any household or driving habits that may have changed to see if and how their premiums could be reduced,” Miller said in the release.

Usage-based insurance (UBI) has emerged as an option in which drivers’ premiums depend in part on driving habits. UBI works by monitoring driving habits through an app or a device that plugs into the vehicle. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), driving elements monitored include miles driven, time of day, where the vehicle is driven, rapid acceleration, hard breaking, hard cornering and air bag deployment. After these elements are taken into consideration, drivers’ premiums could be lowered based on noted driving patterns.

“In Pennsylvania, if you opt into a UBI program, your rates cannot go up solely because of information gathered by a UBI device,” Miller explained in the release.

However, if consumers are receiving a discount on auto insurance premiums because of opting into the UBI program, information gathered through a UBI-monitoring device could result in this discount being reduced or dropped, the release added. Rates can also rise for reasons unrelated to a UBI program. Commissioner Miller said consumers should discuss UBI with their insurance professional before deciding whether to install a device.

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