John Davey


August 2, 2023

Edited By

Fausto Bucheli Jr

Are you looking to save on car insurance premiums without compromising on coverage? Telematics devices, a key component of usage-based insurance (UBI), offer a promising solution. These cutting-edge devices track and monitor your driving behavior, providing insurers with valuable data to tailor your car insurance premiums based on your driving habits. But the question remains: Is a telematics device worth the potential savings on car insurance? Let’s explore the pros and cons of telematics and usage-based insurance to help you make an informed decision. device on a desk
image credit - Michal Hajtas

The Pros of Telematics and Usage-based Insurance

Personalized Premiums: Telematics devices allow insurance companies to assess your driving habits accurately. Safer driving behaviors, such as adhering to speed limits, avoiding abrupt braking, and driving during off-peak hours, can result in lower insurance premiums. This personalized approach to pricing ensures that you are rewarded for being a responsible driver.

Cost Savings: For drivers who consistently practice safe driving, usage-based insurance can lead to substantial cost savings on car insurance premiums. By providing data-driven evidence of your responsible driving habits, telematics devices can secure you more affordable coverage.

Incentive for Safe Driving: The knowledge that your driving is being monitored can serve as an incentive to adopt safer habits behind the wheel. By encouraging responsible driving behavior, telematics devices contribute to a reduction in accidents and create safer roads for everyone.

Improved Driving Habits: Regular feedback and insights provided by telematics devices can help you identify areas for improvement in your driving habits. With this knowledge, you can work towards becoming an even safer and more cautious driver, which can lead to additional savings on your car insurance in the long run.

The Cons of Telematics and Usage-based Insurance

Privacy Concerns: Telematics devices continuously monitor your driving behavior, which raises legitimate privacy concerns for some individuals. While insurers typically use this data solely for assessing insurance premiums, it’s essential to understand how your data will be used and shared before opting for usage-based insurance.

Impact on Premiums for Risky Behaviors: While telematics devices can result in savings for safe drivers, they can have the opposite effect if risky behaviors are detected. Frequent speeding, hard braking, and late-night driving can lead to increased premiums, potentially outweighing any potential savings.

Limited Availability: Not all insurance companies offer usage-based insurance, and not all regions have access to telematics programs. Before considering a telematics device, it’s essential to check if your insurer provides this option and if it aligns with your driving habits and location.

Driving Changes: Some individuals may feel pressured to change their driving habits solely to secure lower insurance premiums. While safer driving is beneficial, making drastic changes purely for cost savings may not always be in the best interest of road safety.

Exploring Auto Insurance Carriers with Usage-Based Policies and Telematics Apps

Usage-based insurance (UBI) policies, also known as telematics-based insurance, have gained popularity as drivers seek more personalized and cost-effective coverage. These policies leverage telematics technology to monitor driving behavior and offer insurance rates based on individual driving habits. If you’re considering a usage-based policy with a telematics app, here are some auto insurance carriers that offer this innovative approach:

Progressive Snapshot:
Progressive is a well-known auto insurance carrier that offers Snapshot, a popular telematics program. Customers can enroll in Snapshot by installing a mobile app or using a plug-in device. The app or device tracks driving behavior, including factors like mileage, speed, and braking habits. Based on the data collected, drivers can earn potential discounts on their premiums if they exhibit safe driving practices.

State Farm Drive Safe & Save:
State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save program is another notable UBI option. By using the Drive Safe & Save app or a connected vehicle device, policyholders can have their driving patterns monitored. Safe driving behaviors, such as smooth acceleration and reduced mileage, can lead to savings on insurance premiums.

Allstate Drivewise:
Allstate offers Drivewise, a telematics program that provides customers with insights into their driving habits and potential premium discounts. Drivewise uses a mobile app or a plug-in device to collect data on factors like speed, braking, and time of day when driving. By demonstrating safe driving practices, policyholders may qualify for significant discounts.

Liberty Mutual RightTrack:
Liberty Mutual’s RightTrack is a telematics program that tracks driving behavior through a mobile app or a plug-in device. RightTrack analyzes factors such as speed, braking, and mileage. Policyholders can receive discounts on their auto insurance premiums based on their driving performance.

Nationwide SmartRide:
Nationwide offers SmartRide, a usage-based program that uses a telematics app or a plug-in device to monitor driving behavior. SmartRide measures factors like acceleration, braking, and nighttime driving to determine potential premium discounts for safe drivers.

Travelers IntelliDrive:
Travelers IntelliDrive is a telematics program that allows policyholders to track their driving behavior through a mobile app or a device. IntelliDrive monitors driving habits, and based on the data collected, eligible drivers can qualify for premium discounts.

Metromile Pay-Per-Mile:
Metromile is a unique insurance carrier that offers pay-per-mile insurance coverage. The policy is especially beneficial for drivers who don’t frequently use their vehicles. Metromile utilizes a telematics device to track mileage and driving habits. Customers are billed based on the number of miles driven, with potential savings for low-mileage drivers.

Thoughts On UBI Carrier Programs

If you’re looking for more personalized auto insurance coverage and are willing to share your driving data, usage-based policies with telematics apps offer a promising solution. These programs from reputable auto insurance carriers allow you to potentially earn discounts based on your safe driving habits. Before enrolling in any telematics-based program, take the time to research and compare offerings from different carriers to find the policy that best suits your driving behavior and insurance needs. With the growing popularity of usage-based insurance, these innovative programs are reshaping the auto insurance landscape, providing drivers with a more tailored and cost-effective approach to coverage.

red printed circuit board
image credit - Nic Wood

Will Modern Vehicles Onboard Telematics Cancel the Need for Insurance Carrier Telematics Devices?

In recent years, the automotive industry has witnessed significant advancements in vehicle technology, and one such innovation is onboard telematics. Modern vehicles come equipped with sophisticated onboard telematics systems that gather data on driving behavior and vehicle performance. With this technology readily available, it begs the question: Will modern vehicles onboard telematics cancel the need for insurance carrier telematics devices? Let’s explore the implications of onboard telematics and its potential impact on the use of insurance carrier telematics devices.

The Rise of Onboard Telematics:
Onboard telematics systems, integrated into modern vehicles, have become increasingly prevalent. These systems use various sensors, GPS technology, and connectivity features to collect and transmit data about driving patterns, vehicle diagnostics, and safety-related information. Onboard telematics provide drivers with valuable insights into their driving behavior, maintenance needs, and even offer connected services such as real-time navigation and emergency assistance.

Advantages of Onboard Telematics:
The widespread adoption of onboard telematics systems offers several advantages. For drivers, it means the convenience of accessing vehicle data and driving insights without the need for additional devices. Manufacturers can leverage this technology to enhance vehicle safety, monitor vehicle health, and even offer over-the-air updates to improve performance.

Integration with Insurance Companies:
Many insurance companies have recognized the potential of onboard telematics in assessing risk more accurately. Some insurers now offer policies that leverage data from onboard telematics systems to determine insurance premiums. This approach, known as usage-based insurance (UBI), allows drivers to share data from their vehicle’s onboard telematics with the insurance carrier to receive personalized insurance rates based on their driving behavior.

Limitations of Onboard Telematics:
While onboard telematics offer significant benefits, they have limitations when it comes to insurance-related data analysis. For instance, onboard telematics may not provide data on external factors that can influence an accident, such as road conditions or actions of other drivers. Additionally, some vehicle manufacturers may limit access to certain telematics data or allow only specific insurance carriers to access it, limiting the options available to policyholders.

Supplementing with Insurance Carrier Telematics Devices:
Insurance carrier telematics devices, also known as plug-in devices, fill the gaps left by onboard telematics systems. These devices can be plugged into a vehicle’s diagnostic port and provide insurance companies with more comprehensive driving data. They can capture a broader range of driving behaviors and external factors that may impact risk assessment. Insurance carrier telematics devices also offer a solution for drivers whose vehicles lack onboard telematics systems or whose manufacturers limit access to the data.

Customer Choice and Flexibility:
The coexistence of onboard telematics and insurance carrier telematics devices offers customers greater choice and flexibility. Drivers can select the method that best suits their needs and preferences. Some may prefer the convenience of onboard telematics, while others may opt for plug-in devices to access additional benefits and customize their insurance coverage accordingly.


While modern vehicles with onboard telematics systems have the potential to streamline certain aspects of insurance assessment, insurance carrier telematics devices continue to play a valuable role. Both approaches offer unique benefits, and the availability of choices allows drivers to tailor their insurance coverage based on their individual driving habits and preferences. As technology continues to evolve, the integration of onboard telematics with insurance carrier telematics devices is likely to further enhance risk assessment and lead to more personalized and cost-effective insurance options for drivers. device
image credit - Michal Hajtas


The decision of whether a telematics device is worth the savings on car insurance depends on your individual driving habits, preferences, and comfort level with sharing driving data. If you are a responsible driver and comfortable with sharing data, a telematics device could lead to significant cost savings and motivate you to become an even safer driver.

However, if you have privacy concerns or frequently engage in risky driving behaviors, the potential savings might not outweigh the drawbacks for you. In such cases, opting for traditional car insurance with set premiums may be a better fit.

Before deciding, consider reaching out to your insurance provider to learn more about their usage-based insurance offerings, data handling practices, and potential premium adjustments based on telematics data. Armed with this information, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your insurance needs and driving preferences.