How Good A Driver Are You? Drive Apps Can Help

drive appsImproving driving habits is the key to safer driving. Everyone wants to be safe on the road, and as technology rapidly develops there are more and more tools to make it possible. The newest developments in mobile-based telematics are becoming more consumer friendly, and may be the future to safer roads. This includes apps and hardware that measure driving behavior and give feedback that can help improve the behavior. Some insurance companies have been using plug-in devices for years, but now smartphone drive apps have the ability to take it to a whole new level, helping to keep cheap car insurance California rates low.

In the past, little black boxes have been used to track information about driving behavior, especially in fleet cars. The device can tell if there is excessive breaking, dangerous turning or too much idle time. Although very useful for company owners to keep track of their drivers, the devices didn’t have much value to the average driver. But what if you could have something with you in your car that could monitor your driving and give you feedback? Would it change the way you drive? Kind of like the difference between when you drive by yourself, versus how you drive with your mother in the car.

Cambrige Mobile Telematics (CMT) had developed incentive based apps being used worldwide to make better drivers and safer roadways. Based on years of MIT research, the app runs in the background of your smartphone and collects data. It can detect road types, driving smoothness, speeding, and distractions, like when you are talking on your phone.  The data is compiled to give the driver a score from 1 to 100, as well as tips for improving. The fun part about this is that scores can be used to compete with friends and other drivers worldwide for discounts and prizes.  South Africa implemented such a contest, and safe driving was shown to have increased by 30%. This and other positive reports are now encouraging insurance companies to make use of the apps for incentives and discounts to their customers. State Farm was one of the first to offer the feedback app, for iOS devices. Now Allstate customers can earn discount or cash back if they have good driving scores with their usage-based insurance app. They can also use the app to earn reward points for gift card and merchandise.

Censio produced and app for Progressive that beat out 10 other competitors. The deciding factor was that their app caused much less drain on phone battery life. Progressive tested the app in 2015 and plans to come out with the final app soon. Progressive’s “Snapshot” is the largest app being used, with more than 3 million participants.

Drive Apps Versus Plug In Devices

Plug in devices seem to give people more of a “big brother is watching” feeling, more than the apps do. Apps also cost less than telematics devices and are much easier to use. Apps feel familiar to most customers and only take a couple of minutes to set up. Some apps can even support multiple users, so a whole family can keep track of their scores, and parents can be involved in their teens driving in a positive way.

As with all electronic devices, security is always a concern. However, privacy concerns are taking a back seat to the incentives offered by some companies. In a 2015 survey 92% of people said they would be willing to participate in a usage-based insurance program using an app. Being informed up front is always your best method of protection. Before using an app, know what you are getting into and read the privacy statements and user agreements from any companies providing car insurance in California. This will tell you what information is being collected and how it will be used and protected.

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