Cheaper Car Insurance If We Can Spy On You

from the spyware-in-your-car dept

While there’s been some talk about offering “telematics-specific” insurance policies, it’s no surprise to see GM as the first to really move forward in the space – since they were the ones who revolutionized the market with OnStar. GMAC Insurance is going to start offering specific insurance policies to OnStar subscribers. There’s a basic discount for those subscribers, which fits with OnStar’s continued marketing push to show that OnStar makes people safer. However, the much more controversial part of the program is hidden at the bottom of the article. They’re also going to begin tests of mileage based insurance programs. They’re clear to point out that this will only be with the drivers’ permission, but such policies have not gone over well with people in the past. The system would work by having OnStar send back data about how far the car has driven, and then will discount the insurance rates depending on how little the driver drove the car. Considering the potential for negative publicity to backfire on such a policy, it’s no wonder that they’re trying to sneak it out quietly. However, if it does catch on, expect similar programs to start showing up from plenty other insurance providers. It could become more difficult to get car insurance if you don’t agree to include some sort of automotive spyware in your vehicle.

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Comments on “Cheaper Car Insurance If We Can Spy On You”

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alternatives says:

Let me see if I have this straight.

You are going to pay a monthly service charge of $22 for onstar + cell phone service.

And for this ‘feature’ you are going to get SLIGHTLY less expensive insurance?

In return, you get all the auto-snoop features of On-Star, and your Insurance company can gain info about your mileage, perhaps speed and ‘performance data’ like you jackrabbited your car on Thursday?

Look folkes, if you are this mad at your money and like being rid of your filthy lucre as quickly as possible then I’ll happly take it from you.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

As someone who’s paid roughly 25,000 dollars of insurance over the years (conversvative estimate), I like the idea of being able to get lower insurance rates as long as the overall price is lower (I have no idea what getting the onstar feature costs).

However, I’d rather see this implemented as a ‘menu’ selection of how you’d like to receive your discounts. For instance, you can monitor my speed … but not the distance travelled. Or you can monitor how sharply I take turns, but not how hard I hit my breaks.

I consider myself a better than average follower of a number of the traffic laws (yes, the speed LIMIT is one of them) though not as good in some areas. I figure I’m basically being penalized as the ‘average’ driver (ie you assume I suck because I’m male) so why not let me serve up those things I do better than most and get credit for it (ie knock some cost off). But for those things I do fall into the average for ( sometimes I don’t use a turn signal ) do not spy on me as you’re going to charge me the standard going rate regardless.

While this may be just more spyware, it’s spyware that could work for both the consumer and cooperate with a middle compromise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

As someone who’s paid roughly 25,000 dollars of insurance over the years (conversvative estimate), I like the idea of being able to get lower insurance rates as long as the overall price is lower (I have no idea what getting the onstar feature costs).

So, you want a cheaper rate…..what are you willing to do for this cheaper rate?

(ie you assume I suck because I’m male)

I’ll suggest you look into changing your gender then.

Beck says:

Progressive Insurance

Progressive Insurance tested a program like this in the late 90’s. In certain areas of Texas their customers could opt for usage-based coverage. Progressive installed devices in the cars to determine how much the car was driven, and billed for insurance accordingly. The product was called “Autograph”, and I believe they have a patent on the use of such systems for insurance billing purposes. In the Texas trial on average the insurance bills were reduced by 25%. The insured had to pay $5 per month for the equipment.

Progressive has since cancelled the program, partly due to the cost of the hardware. Since GM cars already have the required hardware, this barrier is eliminated.

Progressive had promised their customers that the information would only be used for billing, and not used for any other purpose.

Cyke says:


And just where did that thing about the FBI being able to turn on the system and listen to everything being said in the car without anyone knowing finally end up?
I agree that the system costs are too high for the value gotten from it. It was a nice idea, but no one ever thought about the security or privacy issues. How long before a hacker can open your doors?

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