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Half of drivers OK with being monitored

Half of consumers would let their car insurance company monitor their driving for a discount of 10%, a new survey finds, and more than a third would even switch carriers for the opportunity.

Image: Car side mirror © Adam Gault, Digital Vision, Getty Images
Usage-based coverage, offers the prospect of discounts for people who drive fewer miles, at the safest times of the day, or demonstrate extreme caution behind the wheel. That information is typically gathered by devices that plug into the car’s onboard diagnostics system and transmit data back to the insurance company. By far the most widely recognized system is Progressive’s Snapshot, though most major national insurance companies have a program of their own.

In fact, more consumers were less comfortable with online banking (51%), search engines that collect their history (57%), or using social networking sites that maintain personal information (61%) than they were with the idea of idea sharing their driving data (48%) or GPS location with a car insurance company (40%).

While widespread willingness to consider telematics, only about 1.4 million drivers have tried Progressive’s program so far. Here are the top 10 factors surveyed consumers said would increase their interest in usage-based insurance:

1. 80% -- Ability to opt out without penalty
2. 79% -- Receiving a discount
3. 77% -- Choosing the information provided to insurer
4. 75% -- Control over what you pay
5. 69% -- Information saved for a short time
6. 69% -- Ability to view driving score
7. 69% -- Additional safety features
8. 65% -- Information on child’s driving
9. 64% -- Collecting accident data
10. 57% -- Maintenance alerts

Many of those puzzle pieces are already in place.

Some carriers offer a discount to drivers simply for enrolling, and all allow drivers to opt out of the program. Depending on the insurer, the discount could be based on mileage alone. Others delve deeper, with how hard you accelerate or brake affecting your eventual discount. Most programs allow drivers to see their data online. And Progressive offers a free trial to customers of other insurance companies.

Posted 6:25 PM

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