Cars, Insurance 

Let your car insurance company spy on your driving?

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Would you let your car insurance company monitor your driving?There are big changes in the way car insurance gets priced coming, and you’ve got a chance to get in on them now. Question is, do you want to?

All the information car insurers have collected on you in the past — your age, your credit score, whether you’re married, whether you made the honor roll — are designed to help them make an educated, but ultimately flawed, guess about how likely you are to wrap your IROC around a telephone pole while trying to change your fantasy football lineup on your smartphone.

But thanks to the inexorable march of technology toward a dystopian future of robot overlords and Justin Bieber greatest hits albums uploaded straight into our brains, insurance companies now have the ability to measure directly what they could once only guess at: your driving behavior.

Using a “telematics” device installed in your car, they can measure how fast you drive, how sharply you turn, how many miles you drive over the course of a year, and tons of other little data points they can capture using GPS and motion-sensor technology.

Some car insurers are offering discounts to drivers who submit to having their driving habits monitored. This post by Kathryn Hawkins over at, a sister publication to this one, has a good rundown of the pros and cons of doing so.

Personally, I’m going to put off any transition to telematics as long as I can. As a driver who hasn’t gotten a ticket in more than a decade (knock on wood) and who’s married and over 30, I probably look better on paper than I do on the road, where I like to get the lead out from time to time. If you’re the other way around, telematics might be great for you, but I still think it’s a little creepy.

What do you think? Would you let your insurance company monitor your driving? I’m especially interested in hearing from people who’ve used these things.

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “Let your car insurance company spy on your driving?”

  1. Wilma says:

    Since I don’t have OnStar or any of the other services I can’t participate. I’m not paying for that just so I can. The savings would be negated by the subscription to the service. I already drive like I want a lower insurance payment. No tickets or accidents says lower payment to me. They don’t need to ride along with me to see that.

    Like you said….creepy

  2. Carol Ann says:

    This is just one more loss of privacy we all should be concerned with.

  3. Meagan says:

    I def would NOT let my insurance company spy on my driving. I like my accelerator a lil too much 🙂

  4. Cheap Skate says:

    it would be cool to install the gear for yourself for a year, collect the data and then decide if it would be higher or lower based on your actual driving data. I am sure no one is perfect, you may be better than you think relative to other drivers. In the early days they will want to provide incentives for people to get the telematics installed, so it may be easier to get a lower rate (then you will tell ur friends…)

  5. KimNK says:

    I call this: INVASION OF PRIVACY!! Case closed!

  6. I’m going with creepy. Enough people have enough ways to watch me without my permission.

  7. Ed says:

    You don’t need a subscription to On Star or another service. The OBD II system and soon to be OBD III is in every car now. The data is collected similar to the Black Box on an airplane. The insurance company is providing a way to read and copy the data that they will than analyze. Whit OBD III the information will be transmitted to? instead of just stored.

    Although the OBD (Onboard Diagnostic System) has been around since the early years of SMOG control and was touted as “A program to minimize the delay between detection of an emissions malfunction and repair of the vehicle” it has morphed into the beginnings of real “Big Brother” surveillance of your driving habits. See WHAT IS OBD-III? at:

    The future is here and yes it is creepy.

  8. dojo says:

    In my country the auto-insurance companies are just starting to take into account how many years you’ve driven a car, if you had accidents etc. In theory this is good, I’d like to actually pay less since I never did anything wrong than have the same fees as an 18 year old, with a very strong car, who’s already caused 10 accidents.

    Don’t think I’d be too happy with the ‘new gear’ insurance companies would like to install in your car though.

  9. Wilma says:

    If you have State Farm your choices are OnStar, Sync or InDrive if you want to participate in the program. These are all subscription. Like I said, the subscription payment would negate any safe driving savings you’d get.

  10. Jim says:

    As a Defensive Driving instructor, I would have no problem with my insuracne company monitoring my driving habits. If your rates go up, it would be a good indicator to take an honest look at your driving habits. It’s really not about your insurance rate, it’s about your life and the life of others.

  11. Claes says:

    Jim: That’s a good point. Probably more at stake here ultimately than a few bucks a month in insurance premiums.

  12. Murray says:

    My brothers ins. went up because he starts his car before putting his seal belt on and it looks like he is not using it some time. He always does and he is 60 years old. I will say one thing, he explained what he did and they did lower his rate back down. No telling what other things they are collectin.

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