Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2021

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Apps, apps and more apps. State Farm has joined the smart phone mobile app movement with the introduction of their ‘Driver Feedback™’ application.

Their goal is to help drivers become better at recognizing and ultimately correcting a few bad driving habits that lead to tickets and accidents…namely, hard acceleration, hard deceleration and hard swerves. The parts of driving that could be considered dangerous, and usually involve having your vehicle at a high speed or being just a little aggressive in a traffic jam. Things that a responsible driver wouldn’t ever do. Easy, right?

How does it work? 

The app has what’s referred to as accelerometer recording technology, which measures acceleration, breaking, and cornering using GPS for trips you take. It’s really quite simple, and the setup seems easy enough. You will have to visit a mobile phone/GPS triangulation website for the details on how it really works. TTAI can’t help you there.

Essentially it’s an app that helps you while you’re in your vehicle and driving, though we aren’t privy to what specifically allows it to do this. Though there’s nothing really too amazing here, as many apps are used to track movements via GPS nowadays. Although it should be noted that State Farm does not collect the trip information even for informational purposes, so no ‘Big Brother’ concerns when it comes to your location or mileage. The app also cannot provide you with any sort of vehicle diagnostics, so if your car is handling funny, don’t ask the app for help – see your mechanic!

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What does the app offer?

As discussed, you can record your driving habits with the accelerometer. Also, you can view your alerts, presumably the ‘hard’ accelerations, breaking and swerving, in a list format or overlaid on a map, which is a pretty cool feature.

Driver Feedback® also allows you to compare two trips against one another to see if you’re improving in areas where you tend to have trouble, such as following the speed limit or breaking at a reasonable pace.

Mom and dad (or your wife) will like the feature that allows you to send trip results via email and SMS. Proving you aren’t driving like a madman (or madwoman) may help relieve any undue stress about the matter! Unless of course you do dabble in risky driving behaviors, in which case the app will hopefully help you to turn those into safe driving behaviors. Everyone wants to know that their loved ones are utilizing safe driving habits, for peace of mind!

Also, the app supports multiple users if necessary. Perhaps multiple teen drivers in the household or a competitive family unit will appreciate this capability. No matter who is driving, if they have the app downloaded on their devices they’ll be able to gain information about their journey. Plus as stated above, there’s no need to be worried that the app will collect information based on their location services, so they’re safe to drive without you worrying about their privacy.

Can my insurance rates go up?

We’re a little concerned you even asked this. If you’re a safe driver who has maintained spotless driving records, you shouldn’t care. Seriously though, NO, State Farm does not use any of the information collected from the app to determine your overall insurance premium. It would be awfully deceitful of them to use how you drive as a means to set up what you’d pay for insurance policies. They no doubt prefer you to be a safer driver, but your insurance rate doesn’t depend on your driving skills.

If you have a history of distracted driving, just know that while this app doesn’t collect information for State Farm to use to determine your rates, you could see a decrease in what you pay if you clean your record up and improve your driving performance. That’s ultimately the goal of this app – to help you practice safe driving techniques.

This differs from Progressive’s Snapshot program, where your habits are monitored as a means to develop a unique premium for you. Progressive states a driver may see as much as a 30% discount on their premium if their data demonstrates good driving habits. While this may seem like a benefit at first, it may not be a great idea to leave the fate of your auto insurance policy in the hands of a company who may decide your driving habits aren’t that safe after all because your speed fluctuates.

Perhaps State Farm will release a similar product in the future that will offer some sort of auto insurance discount, but for now it looks as though they simply want to keep you mindful of how you’re driving by offering assistance through your app. Which isn’t so bad, having an insurance company who cares that you travel at a safe speed and who just wants you to drive safe.