Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could pay for just the miles you drive and no more? There is an option for this type of insurance billing, but before we jump into it, there are some things to consider.
Usage-based car insurance, also known as telematics insurance or insurance by the mile, is a type of car insurance that charges rates based on how much you drive. Proponents of usage-based insurance argue that it’s a more fair way to charge for car insurance since those who go less would pay less in premiums. On the other hand, critics argue that usage-based insurance could lead to higher rates for some drivers and that it could invade privacy.
How is Telematics Insurance Traced?
There are a few ways that insurance companies can track how much you drive. The most common way is through telematics devices, which are small devices that plug into your car and record data about your driving habits. This data is then transmitted to the insurance company, which uses it to calculate your rates.
Other insurance companies may use usage-based insurance without telematics devices. For example, some companies may use your car’s odometer reading to estimate how much you’ve driven. Or they may track your driving habits through your cell phone or GPS.
Pros and Cons to Consider
Considering switching to usage-based car insurance, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding.
Pros of usage-based car insurance
- You could save money on car insurance premiums if you drive less.
- You’re rewarded for driving safely and carefully.
- Usage-based insurance could make the roads safer since bad drivers would be penalized with higher rates.
- Usage-based insurance could make rates fairer since those who drive less would pay less.
- It may incentivize people to drive less, leading to fewer accidents and less road congestion.
Cons of usage-based car insurance
- You could pay more for car insurance if you drive more than the average driver.
- Usage-based insurance could invade privacy since insurers know how much and where you drive.
- It’s unclear if usage-based insurance would lead to fewer accidents and less road congestion.
- There could be errors in the telematics devices that record your driving data.
- You may have to pay for the telematics device upfront, which could be expensive.
Should You Switch to Usage-Based Car Insurance?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if the pros of usage-based car insurance outweigh the cons. If you’re concerned about privacy, telematics devices may not be for you. And if you drive more than average, you could pay more with this type of insurance. But if you’re a safe driver who doesn’t mind having a telematics device in your car, usage-based insurance could save you money.
Whether or not usage-based car insurance is right depends on your circumstances. If you’re a low-mileage driver, you could save money on car insurance premiums with this type of insurance. But if you value privacy or think you might drive more than average, usage-based car insurance may not be the best option for you.
Examples of Prime Candidates for Usage-Based Insurance
- Low-mileage drivers: If you work from home or commute on your bike or public transportation more than you drive, this option was designed with you in mind.
- Safe drivers: If you’ve got few or no traffic violations or collisions on your record, there’s a good chance this service can save you money.
- Drivers who don’t mind telematics devices: We already carry technology that tracks our every step. Our phones can pick up what we’re talking about with our friends and push ads and interactions based on those overheard topics. If you’re okay with this type of tracking, this may be an excellent choice.
- Drivers who want to save money on car insurance premiums: If you fit the above criteria, there is a good chance you’ll see nearly instant benefits in your budget from this type of insurance.
Examples of Poor Candidates for Usage-Based Insurance
- High-mileage drivers: If you’re a ride-share or delivery driver, have a long commute, or frequently travel for work, this isn’t an excellent choice for you. And frankly, this type of insurance isn’t designed with you in mind.
- Drivers who value their privacy: If you’ve got your Facebook profile on hard lockdown and run your emails through three or more layers of encryption before you send them, perhaps the use of telematics or GPS tracking programs to help you save money isn’t of interest to you, and that’s okay.
- Drivers whose mileage varies from month to month: If you value consistency in your payments, and don’t want to have the anxiety of waiting for your bill to see how much or how little you drove, then usage-based insurance isn’t going to help your mental health.
Regardless of which type of insurance coverage you choose to pay for, you should decide with all the available information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, look up reviews, compare other forms of coverage and get outside opinions on the available options before committing to one or the other.