In 1992 the first twenty-four satellite system was launched and in 2000 the Department of Defense purposefully decreased the accuracy of GPS to prevent enemy combatants from using it against us. After the year 2000, GPS became ten times more accurate and civilian usage exploded in every industry. From the transportation of goods, to fishing boats and cell phones, GPS trackers are used to track almost everything, no paper map required. Now you can monitor your teen’s driving, recover lost or stolen property, and even help you keep track of your two-year-old. When you are considering a GPS tracker just for use in your automobile, it is a good idea to call your car insurance agency first. Most major carriers have incentive programs that can allow you to get cheap car insurance by saving hundreds off your insurance bill when you install their GPS tracker. Some might feel this usage-based insurance is considered an invasion of privacy, but many responsible drivers who already want a GPS tracker in their car don’t mind giving up a little privacy to save a few bucks. For many high risk drivers, cheap car insurance seems worth a little interference from Big Brother. Wiki has a great review of all the new trackers in their article, 10 Best GPS Trackers. Another great gizmo is the TrackR Bravo. It is a coin-size Bluetooth device that helps you locate your lost belongings. It has a very attractive low price point of $29.99, and you can attach the gadget to your keys, wallet, or anything else you’re prone to losing.
Or you can just put it in your car and give yourself some added piece of mind. It is also a great way to find your car in a crowded parking lot like Disneyland or Sea World. No more wandering around looking like an idiot. It’s a sleek-looking tracking device, but it’s not quite as useful as the Tile.
At around $25.00, the Tile has a more informative app and sounds a louder alarm. As for battery, the TrackR uses a standard CR1616 coin cell that must be replaced yearly. It is nice that you don’t have to worry about recharging the tiny device, and the settings app on your phone can tell you when the battery is getting low.
Many of these devices use crowd GPS monitoring to help you find your lost items. This works great if you live in a well populated area where there are many users the host server can use to retrieve information. The other devices let you know exactly where your car or lost item is, and relay the information on an easy to read google map, and can even give you directions. You can share access to your TrackR with a community of users in case your phone or TrackR go missing. You can use the alert notify, or if you’re uncomfortable with this feature you just turn it off in the settings.
Regardless of how you plan to use your GPS tracker, the two most important things to keep in mind are cost and battery life. There are many devices to choose from, including more sophisticated devices that can tell you your fuel consumption and give you detailed logs of when your car was started. However, some devices have monthly costs that can vary widely, from getting the first year free to $25 a month and up. Read the fine print to find out if a cheaper monthly fee could also be tied to a lengthy contract.
PC Magazine also has a lengthy review of the smallest and least expensive tracking devices. Even if you use these devices for your own information, it is still a good way to decrease your risks while on the road. Anything that helps reduce risk also helps to maintain cheap car insurance.