Give Up Privacy for Lower Rates

Fixed Ops Insight - June 11, 2012

State Farm Using Ford Sync To Help Policy Holders To Lower Rates, A Look into the Future?

Vehi­cle own­ers are always look­ing for ways to low­er their insur­ance rates. Insur­ers are using tech­nol­o­gy to help their pol­i­cy hold­ers to accom­plish this goal. But with every effort to low­er rates there is a trade­off. In the case of auto insur­ance, pol­i­cy hold­ers are being asked to give up a lit­tle of their pri­va­cy for low­er insur­ance rates.

In 2011, State Farm Insur­ance intro­duced a pro­gram called “Dri­ve Safe & Save.” The pro­gram scores a pol­i­cy holder’s dri­ving skill and prices their pol­i­cy accord­ing to the results. The pre­mi­um could go down, but it also could go up. Pro­gres­sive Insur­ance has a sim­i­lar pro­gram called “Snap­shot.”

As a new part of State Farm’s pro­gram, Ford own­ers with SYNC-equipped vehi­cles can go a step fur­ther. On an opt-in basis cus­tomers can allow State Farm to track their vehi­cles’ mileage. Dri­vers who do not put many miles on their vehi­cles could see rates fall. The oppo­site could hap­pen to dri­vers with long dai­ly com­mutes. The pro­gram will start in Utah before a nation­wide roll­out.

The track­ing of miles dri­ven is not unique to State Farm. A num­ber of com­pa­nies elec­tron­i­cal­ly track the mileage of com­pa­ny-owned vehi­cles. This ser­vice is avail­able through a num­ber of third-par­ty providers. OnStar sends cus­tomers a month­ly email detail­ing the odome­ter read­ing and sev­er­al oth­er vital vehi­cle sta­tis­tics.

Most vehi­cles are now equipped with air­plane-like black box­es. The Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion is con­sid­er­ing man­dat­ing black box­es in all vehi­cles.  The qui­et and pri­va­cy of a Sun­day ride in the coun­try may be a thing of the dis­tant past.

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