Are you a safe driver? Would you like your insurance premium based on how you drive? If you answer yes, do you speed or drive while using your cell phone, or text or driving drunk? Well I hope not! Are you willing to have an electronic monitor installed in your car? Pay as you drive insurance currently just monitors the number of miles driven. Will it stop there?
I thought about this today as I am barreling down the freeway going home. Normally, I do not even look at my speedometer because I am going the speed of traffic. The irony is people are passing me and I am going 75-80 miles an hour. I realize this when I see a California Highway Patrol car with lights flashing on my left. Suddenly I realize I may be going too fast and let up on the gas.
Thankfully he was not after me! Was he was going to lunch or after someone doing something worse? Do I always speed on the freeway? I normally go the speed of traffic which is much faster than the posted speed. Would I be considered a safe or good driver? I don’t know. Would I want my driving monitored? Would I buy pay as you drive insurance?
I remember reading 1984 by George Orwell when I was in high school. Big Brother is alive and well. There are cameras in cities to monitor crime; employers monitor the Internet at work, and other monitoring of personal behavior. If you think about it, search engines use personal information to help target marketing or advertising to us. Where does it end? Privacy is slipping away, but we are willing participants.
If a company gives you a good reason to reveal something about you, are you willingly to give it up? Think about it, I will give you a discount, if you prove you had good grades in college. Doesn’t it make sense? If they can monitor your driving, you will pay based on the results. Is that a good deal? If you are a good, and careful driver, why not! What if you speed and still don’t get into accidents? Should you get the lowest rates?
What if I drive a Porsche or Ferrari? You know those cars are not meant to drive at 65 miles per hour! That may not be realistic. There are a number of normal stock cars that can be driven very fast. There are parts of this country where the roads are wide open and speed limits are either ignored or not enforced. How would the monitor record this behavior? Should you be concerned?
Okay, you install the monitor thinking you will save money on your automobile insurance. You receive the discount based on the installation! You are a safe, normal driver and your renewal one year later goes up 20%! You call your broker and he/she tells you after monitoring you for a year that you do not qualify for the lowest rate. What do you do? Insurance companies share information. Surprise!
You are stuck! On the surface, pay as you drive insurance sounds wonderful! It is a choice isn’t it? So much of our behavior is monitored for good reasons. Your credit score is monitored so you can get loans to buy a car, get a credit card or buy a home. Life insurance requires a medical exam and a medical history before they will issue a policy. You might say, of course! They are determining risk in insuring you. I am not opposed to monitoring me. I just think it is a double edged sword. It may help you if you have good scores or hurt you if you don’t. What are you doing to make sure you receive the lowest rates when it comes to insurance, credit cards, mortgages or loans? Would you buy pay as you drive insurance?
Photo by: David Hilowitz