Car insurance plug-ins may soon track motorists' locations, not just driving habits

PHOENIX - What's your privacy worth? Ten or 20 percent off your bill?

Car insurance companies are banking on it and for the past few years have offered big discounts if you agree to let them track your driving habits.

The program usually requires a monitoring device be plugged into your vehicle and record how you drive.

It takes information like how fast you go and what time of day you drive, then reports that information back to your insurance company.

A lot of companies offer some version of the program.

And it's a trend that looks like it's here to stay.

That’s because at least one of the companies says it will start monitoring more than just how hard you hit the brakes.

Progressive's Snapshot program will start collecting data about your actual location, according to a company spokeswoman.

She says they are starting to send out a limited number of devices that have GPS.

The devices will record your location, but only for research purposes according to Progressive.

And they say any data they receive could "potentially lead to a more accurate rating and also pave the way for value-added services."

She says the program is completely voluntary and location will not be used as a factor in determining discounts or drivers’ rates.

Distribution of the gadgets will be random and you need to contact the company to confirm whether or not your device is a part of the research sample.

We checked with some other companies that offer plug in devices for discounts.

Allstate Insurance says they don't track location and their devices are not GPS enabled.

State Farm says while they do have GPS technology for their discount program, they don't use it to track customers’ locations.

We don’t know yet whether location tracking will become the industry standard.

But remember, all of the programs are voluntary.

So, if you don't want your car insurance company knowing where you go, don't allow it.

And let me know how you feel about these devices.

Let me know about your consumer issues by emailing me at joe@abc15.com or by "Liking" my Let Joe Know Facebook Page and telling me about it there.
 

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