Monitoring your driving can help cut insurance costs

Device plugs into port inside vehicle


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Would you let your insurance company track your driving for a discount? More than a million drivers across the country are already taking part in pay-as-you-drive or usage-based insurance coverage from large providers, such as Allstate, Progressive and State Farm.

"Technology has come to almost every part of our life and auto insurance is no difference," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

Hoping to save some money, Lyndi Cook enrolled in a program offered by her auto insurance company.

"Our next renewal coming up we saved ten percent on one vehicle and five percent on another," said Cook.

Insurance experts say the majority of drivers enrolled save money by releasing information such as mileage, when they drive, how fast, and how hard they apply the brakes.

"I didn't get a very good grade in braking (laughs) so I'm trying to be more aware of that now," said Cook as she laughed.

Some companies track data through a small device that plugs into a port under the car's dashboard, while others log basic driving statistics using programs such as OnStar.

"It's perfect for a young driver. If you have a young driver, a teen driver, and you want them to see how they are driving, what their driving history is, what their habits are – that's a great way for a teen to look at their driving habits and correct those," said Ranjit Puthran, an Allstate Insurance agent.

Some drivers, however, feel the technology infringes too much on privacy and do not want insurance companies knowing everything about their driving habits. Angie's List advises consumers to understand what information the company is tracking and how it will be used before enrolling.

""It does not penalize you for your driving history. It only rewards you, those safe drivers that are driving safe. Right now the average savings for a safe driver is 10 percent," said Puthran.

There are other ways you can save on your car insurance. Talk to your agent. Many providers offer discounts for a safe driving record, low mileage, and bundling insurance plans.