There’s a new telematics device on the market to rival the existing Progressive Snapshot.
It comes courtesy of Esurance, the online insurance company acquired by Allstate a few years back.
How Esurance DriveSense Works
Similar to Snapshot, the small device plugs into your car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) port, which is located under the dashboard in front of the driver’s seat.
According to Esurance, the ODB-II monitors various vehicle systems and collects important engine and emissions data.
Note: DriveSense is only available for non-hybrid and non-electric cars with model years of 1996 or later, but you might be able to get a separate hybrid discount.
Put simply, when you connect DriveSense into the ODB-II port in your car, the company is able to track your driving.
They tend to focus on the following driving habits:
– How much time is spent behind the wheel (mileage)
– Time of day
– Sudden acceleration
– Sudden braking
– Aggressive lane changing
– Fast cornering
This is similar to Snapshot, which uses these same factors to determine if your policy premium can be reduced.
And it’s much more accurate than simply asking you how many miles you drive each year, or just relying upon your driving records.
As the data is compiled, it is sent to your personalized website where you can monitor and analyze your driving habits on the DriveSense dashboard.
From there, you can ostensibly make changes to maximize your savings, assuming it identifies any high-risk behavior (events).
Automatic Discount Just for Signing Up
Esurance is offering an automatic discount of five or 10 percent depending on the state you live in.
This discount is in return for letting them track your driving habits. Once they track your driving using the device, you’ll be eligible for a discount each policy term based on your actual driving.
They claim that the safer you drive, the more you’ll save, and that they won’t raise your insurance rate based on program participation.
However, it is possible for your premium to change if your DriveSense discount changes.
Your ongoing discount is based on your driving habits, so it could go up or down from term to term, and if you don’t drive safely, you may not earn any discount via the program.
To maximize your savings, driving less, driving more slowly and carefully, and avoiding late-night driving seem to be the biggest factors.
You can always check your current discount by logging in to the website.
Where DriveSense Is Currently Available
At the moment, DriveSense is available in 31 states. It is notably absent in large states like California, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.
But it is available in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
They plan to add more states in the future, so be sure to check the Esurance website from time to time to see if your state gets added to the list.
For the record, participation in the DriveSense program is free, but they will charge a fee if you don’t return the device after opting out or canceling your policy.
If you do opt out, you’ll lose the associated DriveSense discount, but your Esurance car insurance policy won’t be affected otherwise.
For those wondering how these telematics-based insurance products work, it’s probably best to check out the Snapshot comments for real-world feedback.