The idea that we’re being watched all the time isn’t just in our heads. Thanks to things we keep learning about social media and privacy plus all the data Google collects, the idea of “Big Brother” isn’t paranoia. But not all systems are as nefarious as we’ve been lead to believe, either. Some things are truly designed to help people but only with your permission. This includes telematics.
What is Telematics?
A telematics device is a system installed into your vehicle that records your driving habits. It calculates the miles you drive over a certain period of time. This device knows what you speed you travel at and how quickly you brake. Some systems can even tell what time of day it is while you’re driving. When issued by an insurance company, its purpose is to help you become a safer and better driver, while also saving you money.
How many times have you wondered why you’re paying so much for insurance when you never get into accidents? Have you ever thought, “I’m a safe driver! I follow traffic laws! Why is my premium so high?” Telematic systems and programs, like SmartDrive, give you the opportunity to show your insurance provider you’re careful out on the road. In return, they give you discounts on your premiums.
How Does It Work?
Every program is slightly different, but the basics are the same. First, you have to choose to sign up for the telematics program. You’re not forced to take part in it. It only happens with your full knowledge and consent.
The device is installed into your vehicle's OBD-II port. In most vehicles, this is located on your steering wheel column, under the dashboard. Every vehicle built since the 1990s has one of these ports. Once installed, it records information every time you drive your vehicle.
That information is sent, with your consent when you join your insurer’s program, to your insurance provider. From there, depending on your driving habits, you may qualify for additional discounts and savings. The more you can do to reduce your chance of an accident, the less you pay for your insurance premiums. Many insurers do not use this information to increase your rates due to poor driving habits, only to reduce your rates due to good driving habits.
Why Else Should You Use Telematics?
Do you have any bad habits that you find nearly impossible to change on your own? Smoking, biting your nails, drinking too many sodas? Think of some of your worst driving habits. You know you should slow down or simply drive more carefully. But changing our habits isn’t easy.
You can use your telematics device to help you make changes in your driving. The lower insurance premiums might be all the incentive you need. But knowing that a device is recording what you’re doing may be enough, too. If you can become a better driver, you’ll get into less accidents, get fewer tickets, and maybe even stretch your gas a few more miles between fill-ups.
For once, you can have more control over what you pay in auto insurance premiums. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we can help. If you’re interested in learning more about telematics, ask us about the Snapshot device from Progressive Insurance.