To determine if a telematics device is right for you or other drivers on your insurance policy you first need to understand the basics of how they work.
What is A telematics device?
A telematics device is a small device that is inserted into your vehicle. It is used to monitor driving patterns of an individual for insurance premium rating rather than viewing the individual as a statistic. Everyone has experienced drastic auto insurance premium increases over the last few years due to the increase in distracted driving accidents. Many consumers are looking into telematics programs so that they are not penalized by the poor driving behavior of others. These devices are definitely changing up the way insurance is rated but there are several factors to consider before you agree to participate in a usage based program.
What are the pros of a telematics device?
Most insurance companies give you an upfront discount for participating. Insurance companies will offer different discount percentages. Some give you the biggest possible discount up front and then adjust your discount percentage as your driving is monitored over a period of time. Other companies will give you a minimal participation discount at first and then adjust to add more discount to deserving participants over time.
Parents of youthful drivers are finding extra benefits in telematics programs that are not given as much advertising attention as the premium savings. Some programs offer curfew settings and geofencing. Parents set up curfews and boundaries. They will be alerted if their teen is driving after their curfew or beyond territory boundaries. Some programs also give you access to an app or website where you can view a numerical score based on your driving habits with recommendations on how to improve your score. Families are taking advantage of this by starting competitions between household drivers to see who can get the best score. This increases the fun family dynamic and also focuses everyone on being better, safer drivers.
What are the cons of a telematics device?
The device monitors what it monitors with no exceptions. Telematics devices are monitoring speed, hard braking, distance traveled and time of day you are on the road. Night shift workers or people who travel a lot are not good candidates for these programs even if their driving behavior is exceptional because of the time of day traveled and distance traveled.
How do I sign up to start using a telematics device?
Contact your insurance agent to see if your company offers a telematics program. Bradshaw & Weil is an independent insurance agency in Paducah, Kentucky representing many insurance carriers. Not all of our carriers offer a telematics device for the state of Kentucky but most do. You are going to start to see more insurance companies adopting telematics programs to keep up with the market. Some companies are just taking longer than others to implement. Most telematics plug ins will fit in all cars made after 1995. Some insurance companies use apps that you can install onto any smartphone.
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