There are lots of ways to save on auto insurance in Georgia. Here are just a few.
- You can agree to a higher deductable in the event that you need to file a claim.
- You can lower your coverage to the minimum required by your state.
- You can drive safely for years, leading to discounts.
- You can switch your carrier frequently, a process that could lead to lower rates.
- You can drive an older car.
- You can skip that muscle car you have your eye on and get a basic-transportation Honda.
- You can improve your credit score. Yes, your credit score can affect your auto insurance cost.
Telematics: the digital cost-saving robot in your vehicle
But there’s one way that’s been available widely for only a short time and is not available from all carriers in all states yet.
It’s called “telematics” based insurance. And it essentially means that you’re giving your insurance company to watch you drive and to keep track of it.
It could lead to a lower rate for you if you’re a safe driver already, or if you can change your behavior quickly. According to Marketwatch, “The central idea is that you can get a discount on your car insurance if you are safer than the typical driver (or if you drive fewer miles than average each year).”
Common devices that are used in the telematics systems auto insurance companies use to collect usage statistics and monitor driving habits include:
- Mobile apps
- Diagnostic port plug-in devices
- Bluetooth beacons
What is involved in telematics?
The most important thing to know about telematics is that, to participate, you have to allow your insurance company to place a device in your vehicle. According to Marketwatch, the device or app will track the way you drive:
Telematics insurance programs often award discounts based on safe driving habits. These programs usually track a combination of the following:
Mileage – Are you driving more or less than the average driver in your area?
Time of day – Are you a daytime driver or night? Are you usually on the road during rush hour, a prime time for accidents?
Cornering – Do you take turns like an Indy driver>?
Braking – how often do you brake hard?
Speeding – How frequently do you drive above the posted speed limit?
Phone usage – Are you using your phone when driving?
Acceleration – Do you take off on a green light like you’re late for dinner?
What are the benefits of using telematics to save money on auto insurance?
- You usually get a 5%-10% discount when you sign up
- You finally get rewarded for being a good driver. If you are, in fact, a good driver. Not all of us are as good drivers as we think we are.
- The feedback, both immediate and in reports, that telematics gives can help you improve your driving skills if you take those suggestions to heart.
- If you’re someone who uses your car less frequently than the average driver, you could see measurable discounts
What do you need to watch out for when using telematics to save money on auto insurance?
- This is a big one. If you really aren’t as good a driver as you think you are (or at least the kind of good driver that as defined by your insurance carrier), you might find yourself looking at an actual rate increase. Not all carriers will do this, but be sure to ask your agent before committing to telematics.
- You could lose discounts you already have. For example, if you had a “low mileage” discount and the device reports that you don’t actually have low mileage, you could see your rates increase.
- Where you park your car can also affect your rate negatively. If you live in a nice neighborhood but frequently park your car in a high-crime area, your insurance carrier might raise your rates. Again, not all insurers will use telematics to raise your rates, but be sure to check that out before signing up.
- If you have an accident and it’s contested, your telematics data could be subpoenaed and, potentially, used against you. Again, think carefully about what you’re agreeing to when you enter into an insurance policy with telematics.
One other potential money-saver with telematics: Pay-per-mile insurance. Marketwatch explains how this works.
“Whether or not you have good driving skills, one of the most important factors in determining your accident risk is how often you are on the road. With pay-per-mile programs, your bill reflects the number of miles you drive.
“Pay-per-mile insurance pricing is calculated using a base daily rate and a rate per mile. The mileage device may track other things like time of day or location of driving, but how far you go is the main thing that influences your rate for this type of program.
“According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average person drives about 13,500 miles per year. If you drive 10,000 miles or less, you may be able to save money with a pay-per-mile program. The less you drive, the lower your cost.”
Is it worth it to use telematics to save on insurance costs?
Whether or not you decide that telematics are worth the cost in some lost privacy, it may be worth asking your auto insurance agent to run the numbers for you.
Here’s one more way Georgia drivers are saving money on their auto insurance.
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