Should You Try State Farm's Drive Safe and Save?April 11, 2014
You know you’re a good driver — but does your insurance company think so too? More insurance companies are offering customers a chance to save money on their car insurance by sharing data about their driving habits via a small on-board tracking device. Here’s our State Farm Drive Safe and Save review and an inside look at the Drive Safe and Save program.
What is State Farm Drive Safe and Save
In order to calculate your premiums, car insurers need to know how much of a risk you are when you’re driving. That means they want to know as much as possible about you. They want to know your age and driving history, such as speeding tickets or other traffic offenses. They also want more personal data, such as your income, marital status and education level. It may seem unfair that your premiums can be affected by things you can’t control, but that’s the way insurers operate in most states.
Programs like Allstate Drivewise, Progressive Snapshot and State Farm Drive Safe and Save promise to give drivers some control over their insurance premiums by demonstrating their safe driving habits. According to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, more than 1.4 million people signed up for Snapshot since 2008, saving more than $125 million.
How does State Farm Drive Safe and Save work?
Unlike similar programs from other insurers, Drive Safe and Save is only offered in conjunction with a third-party vehicle tracking and communications package, such as OnStar, SYNC (on Ford vehicles) or In-Drive from Verizon. For the In-Drive version, you get the first year of basic service free from Allstate (a value of about $72) and after that, you’re required to pay for an annual subscription.
When you enroll in the program, a small device is plugged into your car’s diagnostics port to track your driving habits. The tracking device collects data on:
- Miles driven
- Right and left turns
- Speeds of 80 mph or over
- Time of day the vehicle is driven
You can access the data on your driving habits on State Farm’s website, as well as some limited information about your car’s diagnostics and fuel efficiency.
Is State Farm Drive Safe and Save worth it?
State Farm promises savings of up to 50 percent on your premiums for using Drive Safe and Save, which is an enticing offer. You get an automatic premium discount of 5 percent just for signing up. State Farm says most customers will see some discount on their premiums. But how likely is it that you’ll get significant savings?
Not very, according to one In-Drive review by the Technically Well blog. Blogger Ryan says the State Farm website estimated he would save $80 per year for using the device, but after six months he was informed that not enough data had been collected. After a year, he only saved $40 — and then, when he canceled the program, State Farm billed him for the $40. (State Farm responded to his post by refunding that amount.)
The other services and stats provided by In-Drive aren’t worth the annual fee, Technically Well concluded. “Forking over your privacy and then fighting to get the discount you earned is probably not worth your time and effort. Instead, your time will be better spent shopping around for a lower rate on your insurance.”
A Sun-Sentinel article on the OnStar version of Drive Safe and Save did the math: If a driver with the cheapest OnStar subscription qualifies for a 20 percent discount from State Farm, he or she will just about break even.
If you’re already a subscriber to OnStar, SYNC or In-Drive and you consider yourself a safe, low-mileage driver, it may be worth trying Drive Safe and Save. For an easier way to save on your car insurance, get some free quotes from compare.com.