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Cheaper Car Insurance: Data-Tracking Devices

Insurance agencies use many factors to determine your rates. Credit, driving record, and age range help to estimate your potential risk as a client. But with today's technology, companies can get an actual sample of your driving via electronic data-tracking devices, ultimately saving you money for responsible driving.


With the development of on-board computers in automobiles, every car now has a sort of "black box" that can record driving information and, with the right equipment, transfer information like top speeds and mileage. Several programs now exist in various parts of the United States, and they get you big discounts on your monthly premiums.

Device Tracking Programs

Allstate's Drive Wise

This program offers discounts based on information collected from a device that you plug into your car's onboard computer-available in all cars made since 1996. It measures mileage, hard braking, acceleration rates, time of day driven, and speed (when you exceed 80mph). This information is then automatically transmitted to Allstate. You can even check your performance online.

You receive a 10% discount just for signing up and up to 30% after your first policy period. The program cost is $10 per policy period.

Availability: Arizona, Illinois, Ohio

Progressive's Snapshot

Similar to Allstate's Drive Wise program, signing up for Snapshot transfers data to the insurance company for discounts measuring most of the same information.

You earn an initial discount after one month, and you send the device you installed back after 6 months. You are then eligible for another, permanent discount up to 30%. There is no cost to enroll and the data can't hurt your rates.

Availability: 37 states

OnStar Programs

OnStar is a subsidiary of General Motors which allows subscribers a number of special features in their car, such as GPS navigation, emergency contact, vehicle diagnostics, hands-free calling, and other features. It is installed on all GM vehicles; new vehicles receive a free one-year subscription, and used vehicles receive a free 3-month subscription. This program has been integrated into two different mileage-based insurance programs.

GMAC's Low-Mileage Discount

All GMAC customers who have a subscription to OnStar can enroll in this program, which is based entirely on mileage, for free.

Drive fewer than 15,000 miles per year and you will get a discount of at least 13% and up to 54% if you drive fewer than 2,500 miles per year.

Availability: 35 states

State Farm's Drive Safe and Save

Also utilizing the OnStar system, Drive Safe and Save tracks your mileage and gives you up to 44% savings on your car insurance premiums. The driving is constantly updated though, so your discount will change every policy period based on your latest driving statistics.

Availability: California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Texas


This Texas car insurance company offers insurance by the mile. Prices start at 2.5 cents per mile. No need any fancy electronic equipment for mileage tracking-all you have to do is send the company a picture of your odometer when you sign up and each time you renew your policy.

Availability: Texas only

Pre-1996 And Non-GM vehicles

Pre-1996 vehicles cannot be retrofitted with the OBD II diagnostic device. However, non-GM vehicles can be fitted with a custom rear-view mirror equipped with OnStar.

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