Car Insurance iPhone app... Spyware or Cool?

I’m getting car insurance, and one of the things they want to do is have us install software on our iPhones to monitor if we do smooth acceleration and braking. They try to sell this as an opportunity to get a discount, and offer a 10% discount to do it the first year, and offer 25%-30% if you do what they want - probably not speeding, but they seemed to say the smoothness is more important.

I asked what’s the worst that can happen if we install the software - Can they raise rates, or share that we are bad drivers with other companies? We are in Canada - they say that they can’t share info with other companies due to Canadian privacy law. They say that you can say “that’s not me” on specific trips - I guess when you are a passenger in lead foot’s rally car. If both of us are in the car you can say I"m the passenger not the driver so it doesn’t report distracted driving for the passenger.

Do you have experience with this? Would you consider doing this? Do any insurance companies have a hardware thing for the car, instead of an app for the phone? App on phone seems much more annoying than hardware thing in the car. It’s the constantly having to tell the app I’m the passenger, not the Driver that sounds the most annoying.

On ATP recently they were saying they would never sign up for a plan like this. Not sure if the privacy implications in the USA are worse than in Canada.

No, not for the current conditions.
There might be differences between the Insurance Companies and the countries, but for example my Insurance company is offering a dongle for the car.
You get points for “smooth driving” and malus for fast accelerations, hard brakings and “high” G-loads e.g. in Turns.
There are several problems with that.
you could be the best driver the whole year around, if you drive along a street, and there is something suddenly rolling, walking, jumping (and so on) and you hit the brake for that, you loose all your superior record for the last year at this moment.
Also this system is working with GPS (and the inaccurancy of this sometimes), so if you drive along an Interstate, with a parallel school district behind the Fence, it could happen that the system is recording that you are speeding in a school zone.

As long as those systems are able to produce failures, are canceling your success due to reasons out of your hands, and the benefit is only that small, I do not see any benefit from those systems.
And in addition, for example in Germany there is a (forbidden, “secret”) Database for all Insurances where they record if they cx your contract, your Insurance cases and so on.
If the Insurance company, for any reason things acc. to the data you log for them, that you might be a risk for them, they will most probably cx. your insurance, and it might be, that you will have a hard time, to get a new one (depending on your local regulations and the behavior of the Companies).


I wouldn’t touch this with a 10 foot pole. If you do decide to go for it, read their privacy policy very, very, very carefully. Also, make sure that you understand exactly how your information will be used, linked, and shared. Is this public or private insurance?

(I’m not a privacy expert, but I work in an adjacent area (infosec) for a Canadian public organization. I don’t think it’s true that Canadian privacy law (which also has corresponding provincial laws that vary greatly from province to province) states that your information cannot be shared. Your information can be shared as stipulated in whatever agreement you enter into with the company.)


These plans vary from company to company. My insurance company offers an app that I chose not to use:

“This app is paired with a Bluetooth beacon that you receive in the mail from State Farm. The beacon, designed to adhere to your windshield, and app work together to track relevant driving data. The app also monitors when you pick up your phone, indicating potential distracted driving.”

You all seem similarly suspicious to how I feel about it. I didn’t sign up to do it, and I’m curious how others feel.

in Canada there is definitely databases of accidents that Ontario and maybe other provinces, and the Insurance companies keep. I was asked if it was okay to query things like that as I applied for car insurance.

It’s hard to believe privacy laws protect me from them sharing the app data, when I actually want them to be able to look up my general driving history in that database.

I would never do it because the info would probably be discoverable in any litigation.

I wouldn’t want a situation where the other guy is at fault but there are no witnesses and a shrewd attorney tries to twist my “driving history” to suggest I am an unsafe driver.


I value speeding too much to use one of these apps.


My current insurance company required a period of driving with their app monitoring speed and braking. Once I got the quote though, I turned off location and motion permissions, and haven’t had an issue since.

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I looked into this but my company wanted an app on my phone, no dongle in the car, to track everything. It couldn’t differentiate between who was driving, and I didn’t want to have to say I wasn’t driving every time someone else was driving.

Also, and the biggest reason, is it could differentiate form when I was driving the ambualnce or my personal vehicle. I’m pretty sure my rate would have skyrocketed if they had seen how I drive the ambualnce :eyes:.


My daughter had this when she first got insurance (i.e. she bought her first car) It worked really well for her and each quarter she got a pre-paid Visa card with a rebate from her premium. The information was only ever held within the company she was with.

At least, this is what you/she is hoping for… :wink:


I drive like Mrs. Daisy so I would do this for a 30% discount.

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I feel that until I have an accident, it’s none of their business.

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An insurance policy and a wager are not the same thing, but that’s how I’ve always thought of them.

Your insurance company is “betting” that you will pay them more in premiums than you will cost them in payouts. If you speed or slam on your brakes often then the odds of you costing them money goes up and you end up paying them higher premiums than @NiKoBeaR :grinning:

I doubt there’s an increase in premiums for poor driving.

I suspect the whole idea is to reinforce and reward good driving behaviour, and therefore reduce the likelihood of an accident.

If you’re going to drive aggressively you’re unlikely to take the policy.

I have no idea how insurance companies would use this data. I was just discussing how a person’s driving can effect the rates they pay.

Based solely on what I have observed over the years, one speeding ticket might not be a problem. But two or more in a relatively short period of time frequently is. And rear ending the car in front of you because you were tailgating is generally frowned upon by insurance companies and the police.

For the record, I have never rear ended another vehicle. And I have not been ticketed for excessive speed . . . in over a decade. :grinning:

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Are your Car insurance companies also owned by the Government in the UK?
If not, why do you think they are doing something that is decreasing the profit for their Stakeholder!?

I wonder how much people’s driving improves if they just believe their driving is being monitored? The app wouldn’t necessarily need to work…


They aren’t giving you a discount, they’re charging you more to make up for the revenue they’ll lose by not being able to sell the tracking data. Let them track you, and they’ll use it against you the first chance they get.

I don’t speed. Most of the time I’m on interstates, I’m driving under the speed limit. I don’t drive recklessly. I just don’t need another company invading my privacy all the time and making money off that, especially under false pretenses.


No, the worst that will happen is that the insurance company will drop you.

This. I would not be surprised if this data is used to deny a claim. And they get to decide if you are driving outside acceptable parameters.

No thanks. I’d rather pay a little extra and keep my privacy.

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