Your auto insurance rates could soon be set based on how you, personally, drive–not on your statistical risk.
General Motors Co. (GM) has launched an auto insurance program with its OnStar subsidiary to match data on driving patterns and usage to insurance costs. Tesla and Ford have also announced initiatives, according to Claims Journal.
Right now, insurance companies use criteria such as age, gender, neighborhood and/or credit scores to set insurance prices. Consumer advocates have found this unfair because a good driver could live in a neighborhood that is unsafe and have a lower credit score.
Statistically, a teenage boy is the world’s worst auto insurance risk and insurance rates reflect this. But with usage-based insurance pricing, even a teenage boy might be able to demonstrate he is a good risk.
The mechanism of future insurance pricing will come from telematics–devices that collect real-time information on driving patterns and use.
According to JD Power, demand for insurance based on telematics has increased during the pandemic as customers, working from home, thought they could save money on insurance.
What that could mean for good drivers and drivers who don’t drive much is lower rates. Bad drivers would get higher rates. Depending on how the technology is deployed, drivers might get real-time feedback about how they are doing, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). That could be like having a permanent back-seat driver who is always right. But drivers do respond when they have incentives to drive better, according to iii.org.
A study by Willis Towers Watson showed that, in commercial fleets monitored by telematics, crash rates fell by 80 percent. But will drivers have privacy concerns or will they resent having their every driving move monitored?
Another survey by Willis Towers Watson suggests not. Resistance to the idea of cars monitoring driving is low, about seven percent. GM will use data from its on-board concierge service, OnStar. The service helps drivers in emergencies and with navigation, but it also collects data on driving patterns. It takes special note of hard braking and acceleration. Tesla’s initiative hasn’t yet launched.
Ford Motor Company has teamed up with Allstate Corporation to allow customers to share driving data. GM says its OnStar program has provided the company with more data from connected vehicles than any other carmaker, as quoted in Claims Journal.
The company’s insurance offer will start in Arizona and use braking, acceleration, and general usage data to help set insurance rates. The program is set to expand nationwide using more data, including tire pressure, lane keeping and automated braking. More use of connected car data could be used if regulatory hurdles can be overcome.