Progressive Insurance Wants to Monitor Your Driving to...um...Offer You a Discount

Posted: Jul 31, 2008 10:52 a.m.

Progressive Insurance has a plan that could save you up to 60% on your auto insurance premiums.  There's only one catch -- they want to ride in the car with you.

The Detroit News reports, "Auto insurer Progressive Corp. has begun offering its drivers the chance to cut their costs based on how they actually drive, not only on their age, credit score and number of tickets or accidents on their record."  The insurer wants to accomplish this with the help of "a high-tech monitoring device" that tracks driving behaviors like "jackrabbit starts and slam-on-the-brakes stops." 

The device, according to the Press of Atlantic City, "plugs into the data port built into all cars made since 1996."  IUT then "tracks all the parameters of travel, including speed, time, mileage and distance, as well as how frequently the brakes are used and how quickly the car stops, and "wirelessly transmits the data back to the company, which adjusts your insurance rates on how well - or poorly - you drive."  Progressive spokeswoman Leah Knapp "said most drivers would expect to see 10 percent to 15 percent savings," though "some drivers could see rates increase by 9 percent."  Under the MyRate program, all drivers would receive a 10% discount initially, simply for signing up for monitoring.  Adjustments up or down could be made later, when the customer renews the policy. 

Although those numbers may sound like a low-risk proposition, Progressive General Manager Richard Hutchison tells the Detroit News, "We want people to know that the program is not right for everyone.  It's for people who drive at low-risk times of day and who keep alert for others on the road.  They don't make fast lane changes or follow too closely behind other drivers so they don't have to overreact or slam on the brakes."

And for those concerned about privacy, Progressive assures the Press of Atlantic City that "it won't sell or exchange the data with other agencies or companies," and "to ward off hackers…the data is encrypted."

Kicking Tires comments, "Although the monitoring system doesn’t track where you go in your car, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has warned drivers that once an insurance company has this information about you, it will own what is essentially a private record about you."

MyRate is now available in Minnesota, Oregon, Michigan and Alabama.  It will be offered in New Jersey next month, and nationwide by the end of 2009.

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