Is The Hartford TrueLane Worth It?
Would you let your insurance company monitor your driving for six months in exchange for a discount on your premiums? That’s what The Hartford TrueLane program promises. But not every driver is willing to give up his or her privacy in order to save a few bucks. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of TrueLane, The Hartford’s usage-based insurance program.
What Is TrueLane?
For many years, auto insurers could only guess the likelihood of a given driver getting into an accident. They can get a pretty good idea of how safely — or recklessly — you drive by studying your driving history, as well as your personal data (such as income or marital status).
In 2008, Progressive changed the game by introducing Snapshot, a small device that plugs into your car and tracks your driving habits in real time. Since then, other insurers have followed suit with usage-based insurance programs like Allstate Drivewise, State Farm Drive Safe & Save and The Hartford TrueLane. The promise for customers: discounted car insurance premiums for safe drivers. The benefit for car insurers: vast amounts of data about drivers’ habits.
How Does The Hartford TrueLane Work?
There’s no charge to participate in the TrueLane program. Interested customers just have to contact The Hartford to enroll. The Hartford mails you a small electronic device that plugs into the diagnostics port on most cars made after 1996. (Electric and diesel vehicles made before 2006 aren’t eligible.) The device tracks your time, speed and location and sends that data to The Hartford, which calculates your trip distance and duration, acceleration and braking. You can access your own driving data on The Hartford’s site. After six months, you return the device to the company and then find out how much of a discount you get.
The Pros and Cons of TrueLane
Here’s how TrueLane compares to other usage-based insurance programs.
Premium discount: The Hartford offers a 10 percent discount just for signing up with TrueLane, then up to a 25 percent discount for safe driving habits. Don’t expect huge savings, however; the company says the average discount is between 10 and 12 percent.
That’s less than other insurers’ discounts. State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save offers savings of up to 50 percent. However, that program requires you to pay for a third-party vehicle tracking and communications package, such as OnStar, so actual savings are less. Progressive and Allstate both promise discounts of up to 30 percent for their usage-based insurance programs, but most users report more modest savings.
Privacy concerns: Some usage-based insurance programs track more data than others. Progressive Snapshot takes a minimal approach, tracking miles driven, hard braking incidents and how often you drive between midnight and 4 a.m. (The company says some devices record location, but it doesn’t use this data to set premiums.) State Farm monitors your vehicle’s location via GPS, but says it only tracks the general (40 square mile) areas in which it’s driven.
The TrueLane device also includes location tracking. The Hartford states that personally identifiable information is not shared with any third parties that don’t provide TrueLane services, but that “anonymous aggregated data will be used for future program enhancements and understanding driving patterns.” The Hartford provides few details on how it protects and uses customer driving data.
On the plus side, however, TrueLane only requires drivers to use the device for six months to get a discount. Other insurers require ongoing monitoring.
Whether or not you’re ready to try TrueLane or another usage-based insurance program, we can help you save on your car insurance. Get multiple free quotes online today from Compare.com.