Would You Stop Speeding To Pay Lower Premiums?

I’ve heard more and more stories where insurance companies are getting creative with how they come up with their auto insurance premiums, to where some dynamic factors are brought into play.

Traditionally, insurance premiums are set by fairly static inputs:

  • Where you live – The frequency of crime in your area plays a big role in what you pay for insurance
  • What car you drive – Certain cars are more likely to be robbed and I’ve even heard that certain colors of cars (bright red) have a higher incident of accident, so you could pay more for certain elements
  • How much you drive – Our insurance premium factors in how many miles we put on our car during an average period.  The more you drive, the greater chance you have of an accident, I suppose.

There are things here that are within your control, most namely the type of car and the features you have, but a lot of these factors are probably a bit out of your control.  Most people aren’t going to move so that they can drive a few miles less to work, leading to a few bucks getting knocked off your policy.

But what if there were other factors that could directly impact your prices?

One of the things I’ve seen are devices that can track your speed.  Many devices are tied in with the GPS system, so it will know exactly what road you are on, what speed you are traveling, and the speed limit of that road.  Insurance companies can then track whether you’re speeding, and your premiums could be adjust accordingly.  If you are a speeder, they will deem you more likely to be involved in an accident, and conversely, if you obey the speed limit, the idea is that you would be less likely to be involved in an accident.

Insurance companies set their rates based pretty much on the likelihood of events, so if they have additional factors that can go into spitting out the likelihood that you’d be involved in an accident, it could work to their advantage.

Would this actually work?

My gut tells me that the biggest group that would stand to benefit are the people that don’t speed at all or who do so very little.  I think that people who typically travel of the speed limit might say that they could give up speeding, and maybe they even could for a while if the device were installed in their car, but that they would go back to their own habits once the novelty of having the new device wore off.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure insurance companies would count on this. After all, they aren’t going to want less premiums paid overall.  They’re still going to want to collect the same amount of money to cover their costs.  So, while some drivers would save money if they truly were able to go without speeding, the fact is that some drivers could actually see their premiums go up if the insurance company were to really get a glimpse of how they drove.

The biggest ‘what if’ question surrounding these types of devices would be to find out what insurance companies would do about drivers that didn’t accept these devices to be placed in their car.  Would they be given free reign to raise their rates to a higher level with the assumption that they don’t want the device because they drive in an unsafe manner?  I’m not sure.  I think a lot people would argue that they drive perfectly safe, but that they wouldn’t want the device because they don’t want to be tracked.  This is perfectly reasonable, but I honestly think that this day in age, there are plenty of ways that ‘Big Brother’ can track us with or without our knowledge (though I know this is becoming somewhat of a common add-on in cars driven by teen drivers, even if just for their parents peace of mind)

Personally, I drive a bit over the speed limit but I try to keep it reasonable.  I think my habits would be improved if there were such a device installed, though I’m sure that I wouldn’t become a perfect driver.  It could benefit us for some of our trips, because when I’m towing our camper, I almost always drive under the speed limit anyways out of sheer necessity.  So, that could work to our advantage.

As of now, I’ve not seen any offerings of this technology.  I’m not sure if it’s our insurance company or the state where we live, or maybe it’s just too soon.

Readers, what would you do if you were offered this technology with the idea that you could have your rates lowered if the monitor showed that you drove within the speed limit?  Would you have to adjust your current driving habits to meet the criteria or do you drive under the speed limit anyways?

22 thoughts on “Would You Stop Speeding To Pay Lower Premiums?”

  1. I actually really like the idea. As a mostly law abiding citizen, I hate having to pay large premiums for other drivers who do the wrong thing. This would be a way for me to pay a more accurate amount of money based on my compliance with local laws and my own driving ability.

  2. I’ve seen this sort of device offered. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I am not a huge speeder, but I probably do break the limit at times, usually in places where I’m not paying enough attention, like going 30 in a 25mph zone. I’d hate to get penalized for that. If it was enough of a discount, I might consider it.

    • I would probably agree. I often find myself blending in with traffic and that could be dangerous especially in areas like you said, where going 30 in a 25 is fairly common.

  3. I’m a big proponent of anything that will make the roads safer, but I doubt that something like this would really impact people. Think about all of the places that have red light cameras–it didn’t really hinder the number of light-blowers and in some places the courts even overturned a majority of the tickets due to the unlawful and/or inconclusive methods used. Even having cops with radar guns on the streets and highways don’t change the way people drive, so a few dollars in savings would probably do little to change anything either. Personally, I would go for it since I don’t generally speed (5 mph won’t get me to where I’m going much faster) and it would be interesting to see just what kind of impact it would have on my insurance costs.

    • The impact on costs would be the driving factor and even then it would probably not last for the long term. If the early adopters saw a 20% reduction, this might get a whole slew of new people to jump on board, in which case the savings might drop to 5-10%, where it probably wouldn’t be worth it to many at that point.

  4. I don’t know that I like the offer. I’ve read that it can track many things you’d not want kept. Who knows, that could be all nonsense. I am really not that fast of a driver, I tend to stay within 5 mph of the speed limit and we already have fairly low rates so I am not sure how much more we’d benefit.

  5. I dont think it would curb or change anything. These are the same people that speed anyways and they know they can get a ticket for it or be in an accident. I don’t think saving a few dollars is going to matter. If anything people will be more upset that their premiums went up from speeding and will cancel it.

    • I think it would be more for those who don’t speed as it is and would get to realize some potential savings that they don’t see today.

  6. I just signed up for new car insurance that’s mileage based — i can’t wait to see if i’m saving money!

    • I think most insurance is based on driving within a range of mileage that you have to provide every year, at least that’s how it works for me. Both cars are driven only 5,000-7,000 miles per year. You could lie but I’ve heard that’s a very bad idea because if you ever file a claim and have an odometer readout that doesn’t jive with what you’ve been telling them, they’ll likely deny the claim and boot you as a customer on top of it.

  7. When I started my new teaching assignment, I drive exclusively on surface streets. I try to maintain a constant just below the speed limit speed to max economy and miss all the red lights. About 5 months ago, I bought a hybrid and there is a lot of information on a screen to max economy. Small changes really improve economy.

  8. I would want to know what factors affect my premiums in what ways. What if they find out speeding 0 to 5 MPH over the limit lowers your accident risk but 5 to 0 MPH under increases it? Too many variables for my liking.

  9. I would do this, but the discount would have to be substantial to account for the safer driving AND the loss of privacy.

  10. I’d love it if Michigan just acted like the rest. Our insurance premiums are double that of most states and it’s just plain wrong.
    I don’t speed because I work in the middle of a speed trap. And mostly drive too and from work.

  11. I’ve gotten much more careful with my driving over the years (no tickets in over a decade) but installing something that tracks my speed is a bit too big-brotherish for my taste now. Too many ways that the information could be abused.

  12. Before it got stolen, our GPS dinged loudly whenever the driver exceeded the speed limit.

    I would totally do that to reduce our premiums. Not sure I could convince my partner. I drive like a nana, partly for more fuel economy, partly because I’m a nervous driver.

    • I think if I had something to warn me, I would probably be more aware of my speeding. On long trips, I always keep to a lower speed, lately because we’re often towing a camper and even if that’s not true, I want to get the best mileage on longer trips.

  13. I’m not a big speeder, but I think a device like this would make me paranoid. I’d start to feel weird for trying to pass someone or not immediately complying with changes in speed limits. I don’t like the idea of insurance companies being able to monitor my driving habits, although it makes perfect business sense for them!

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