Plugging in to get insurance break

Published: Updated:
MGN Online

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Insurance companies are offering drivers a way to save money, but it will still cost you something in the long run.

Matthew Mangiapane considers himself a pretty good driver.

“I’ve only really been in one accident. That was some time ago and I’ve gotten one speeding ticket,” said Mangiapane.

So, when he heard about a device insurance companies are using to track your driving, potentially saving you money he was all for it.

“They sent me the device. I plugged it into my car and based on my driving I was able to reduce my insurance by 29 percent,” he explained.

It’s called usage-based insurance, and it’s voluntary. Right now, 18 insurance companies offer it including Progressive, State Farm and Nationwide. It transmits data about how you’re driving and sends it real-time to you insurance company.

“If you’re not stomping on the gas pedal and slamming on the brakes and swerving in traffic and exceeding the speed limit, you’re going to get a better insurance rate than people that are unsafe drivers,” explained Bob Rusbuldt with IIABA.

So what if you’re not a great driver?

“What the insurance companies are saying today is you will not get a higher premium by entering this program…  now, will that change in the future? I think the jury is out,” said Rusbuldt.

Before giving your car insurance company the green light on tracking you, privacy rights experts say you should ask a couple of critical questions.

“First, do they use GPS? Second, does any third party have access to the data like advertisers or marketers? And then third, can those records be subpoenaed? The answer is almost always yes,” said Pam Dixon with World Privacy Forum.

You may be able to opt out of the location tracking portion, but make sure you understand the terms and conditions first. As for Matthew the program saved him $50 a month.

How long the device must stay on your car varies from company to company and driver to driver. Some request just a few weeks, while others want it left on for a full year.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.