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If you drive less these days than before, like many Americans because of the pandemic, you may be able to save a few dollars on your monthly car insurance bill – if you’re willing to trade in some of your life. private in exchange for a discount.
Getting a break from auto insurance premiums for good driving habits has been around for some time. Smartphones and GPS have made these discounts easily accessible to anyone wishing to have their driving tracked by an insurer.
“Especially now we’re in a time where people are really looking where they can save money, ”says Scott Holeman, director of media relations at the Insurance Information Institute. “This is an area where you can. These programs could really help lower auto insurance rates for some.
Most major auto insurance companies offer usage-based insurance discounts. Drive Safe & Save, State Farm’s usage-based rebate program, offers one of the highest discounts available – up to 30% for the safest drivers.
How it works?
Drive Safe & Save and other usage-based programs use automatic telematics, a vehicle monitoring technology. This technology relies on cellular and GPS functions, as well as on-board diagnostics, to collect and transmit driving data such as location, driving speed, distance traveled and time of use. OnStar, for example, is one of the most popular automatic telematics systems. It can be used to help locate stolen vehicles, for example, or to help you find your car.
To sign up for Drive Safe & Save, you will need to download a smartphone app or use OnStar. The Drive Safe & Save app is available for iPhone and Android smartphones. If you are using OnStar, call 888-4-ONSTAR (888-466-7827) or just press the blue OnStar button.
Next, you’ll need a Bluetooth beacon, which State Farm will mail to you. You attach the beacon to your windshield behind the rearview mirror, and you’re good to go. Once you start using the program, it will track everything from the time of day you take a trip to the speed at which you brake.
You will be assigned a safety rating based on your driving habits. This security score is used to calculate the rebate you will receive on your monthly premium.
If you want to save money by using an auto telematics discount program, you need to be a careful driver. Be honest with yourself about how safe you are driving before signing up.
After registering, the State Farm Drive Safe & Save program automatically offers you a 10% discount. After six months, your driving will be assessed for a discount of up to 30%. (State Farm says that in some cases, discounts can exceed 30%.)
“State Farm offers one of the highest potential discounts compared to other companies like Progressive, Allstate, Travelers and Safeco Insurance,” says Katie Sopko, independent insurance broker at Learnandserve.org.
What driving habits does it monitor?
It is important to know that you don’t have to worry about tickets or accidents with this program. Drive Safe & Save does not track this data. However, the program follows almost everything else.
“State Farm tracks more driving attributes than other companies,” Sopko says. Because of this, you are giving up more of your privacy compared to similar programs. “Consumers need to decide if the higher discount is worth the risk of these additional data tracking factors,” Sopko notes.
State Farm Drive Safe & Save examines your score and assigns your discount “based on your annual mileage and driving characteristics,” the company says. Here is all the driving information collected by the program:
Acceleration – The Drive Safe & Save app will log you in if you accelerate too fast, so you will have to pay attention to how fast you accelerate after stopping the car. The idea here is that quick acceleration can make the car difficult to control.
Braking – If you stop too quickly, you will also lose points. State Farm says it understands that braking quickly is sometimes unavoidable, but doing so can often mean you’re following the car in front of you too closely. Even if you have to drive in heavy traffic that requires frequent braking, you will still get a lower score.
Turn – The app does not like tight turns. The reasoning behind this is that you need to give yourself plenty of time to make a stable and safe turn. Again, if you are in heavy traffic, it can be difficult to maintain your score in this area.
Using your phone – The app tracks your phone usage whenever the car is in motion, so watching your phone while driving will affect your safety score. It is important to be careful with this, because if the app is enabled and records a trip when you are a passenger and you are looking at your phone, it can also affect your safety rating. This only happens in your own car, however. If you’re a passenger in a vehicle that doesn’t have a Bluetooth beacon paired with your phone, State Farm says the app won’t record the trip.
Speed – The app tracks the speed limit of the road you are on, and your rating will decrease if you exceed that speed limit by eight miles per hour or more. Some of us like to drive fast on empty highways, which should be avoided if you want to get the most out of this program.
Time of the day – If you drive late at night, you could lose points. The same goes for driving when the traffic is too heavy. The idea here is that driving during heavy traffic or late at night increases the risk of accidents. If your work schedule means you have to drive regularly during these times, this program may not offer much benefit.
Once you arrive at your destination, the app will show you the map of your route and all driving events along the way. State Farm says that “while anything the app shows you doesn’t impact your discount, they all help make you the safest possible driver.”
How does this help me save?
Drive Safe & Save can reduce your monthly premium by up to a third, but you’ll have to drive very, very carefully to get this discount. Unless you’re a very careful or occasional driver, the most likely scenario is you’ll save around 10-15% – and even then you’ll have to drive safely.
“You have to go into it by understanding what the expectations of the program are and what the monitoring will do, and also have a good understanding of your driving and your experience,” said Holeman.
The app records your driving habits every moment you drive, and if you score high enough after six months, you’ll get a discount. But an interesting perk is that you get a 5% discount just for signing up. This reduction disappears if you quit the program, which you can do at any time.
Is the Drive Safe & Save program worth it?
If you are a very careful driver or drive infrequently, this program can save you money on auto insurance. But the program has strict guidelines for safe driving, which should be kept in mind.
“Some of the downsides of the Drive Safe & Save program are that hard braking is sometimes unavoidable, especially in high traffic areas and on the highway,” says Sopko.
“This mobile application also tracks how much the customer uses their phone,” adds Sopko. “Nowadays, many people use car trips as an opportunity to catch up with their families or take care of family matters using their phones. This feature can be annoying and lower the customer’s overall rating, which affects their discount.
The program could actually increase your overall auto insurance premium if you are currently receiving a premium reduction for low estimated annual mileage. If the app records your mileage at more than 7,500 miles per year, your policy renewal will reflect the higher mileage on your premium.
State Farm Drive Safe & Save Program Frequently Asked Questions
How often are discounts calculated?
The discount you receive from Drive Safe & Save is adjusted with each policy renewal, usually every six months. Your discount may decrease or increase during this time.
Do all cars in a household have to participate?
No, only the car benefiting from the reduction must participate. If you have multiple cars listed in a policy, you are not required to include all of them in the program.
Where can I see my program discount?
The amount of the rebate can be viewed on the State Farm mobile app or on your Drive Safe & Save account page, which is listed on statefarm.com.
This story has been updated with new information from State Farm.