What is Travelers IntelliDrive and Should You Get It?

October 07, 2018

Traffic driving

You think you’re a good driver, right? Are you willing to bet money on it?

Travelers Insurance offers a telematics program called IntelliDrive that uses a smartphone app to track your driving habits. Drive safely, and you can save up to 20 percent on your premium. Drive poorly, and you might see a bump in your rates. Hmm. So is it worth it?

How Does Travelers IntelliDrive Work?

Unlike other telematics programs that require you to plug a little device into your car, IntelliDrive works with an app that’s installed on your phone. For 90 days, the app collects information about how, when and where you drive and sends it to Travelers. You’re given a score (up to five stars) based on:

  • The time of day you drive: Late-night and rush-hour drives will ding your score; driving only during daylight hours is best
  • Speed: Too much high-speed highway driving can get you in trouble
  • Acceleration: Your score will go down if you accelerate too rapidly
  • Braking incidents: If you brake too hard, your score will suffer

Any discount (or rate bump) is applied at your next policy renewal. IntelliDrive isn’t available in every state, and discounts may vary by state.

The Pros of Travelers IntelliDrive

  • You can see how you’re doing. You can see your current star rating and driving data on the app’s dashboard, as well as a grade from A to D for each specific driving measurement. So if speeding is getting you in trouble, you have time to target that driving behavior and lift your score.
  • You can track teenaged drivers. “My 17-year-old is a great driver when we are in the car with him,” one IntelliDrive app review says — but, the reviewer discovered, he speeds when his parents aren’t watching. “Being able to monitor his driving and have those important conversations about safety started with the use of this app.”
  • You can change your mind. If you see that your star rating is slumping, or if you’re just not happy using Travelers IntelliDrive, you can opt out within 45 days of enrollment and see no change to your premiums. Wait longer than that, however, and your IntelliDrive score may be used to change your rates.
  • In some states, IntelliDrive can’t raise your rates. If you live in Pennsylvania or Virginia, having riskier driving habits (as measured by IntelliDrive) will not result in a higher premium. So trying IntelliDrive is virtually risk-free!

The Cons of Travelers IntelliDrive

  • You’ll get dinged for circumstances beyond your control. If your job requires you to be on the road during rush hour or late at night, your score will go down. If someone swerves in front of you and you brake to avoid them, your score will go down. It’s not your fault — but that doesn’t matter.
  • A perfect score is virtually impossible to achieve. Many users say the only way to get five stars is to spend as little time as possible behind the wheel. “If you drive between 11:30am and 7pm you will be dinged for time of day,” one IntelliDrive reviewer wrote on the iOS app. “I’m a stay at home mom. Never on the road after 8pm and I’ve got a B because I run errands during the middle of the day.”
  • You have to remember to tell the app when you’re in someone else’s car. IntelliDrive tries to determine if you’re a driver or a passenger, but it’s not always correct. That means it may ding your score if you’re riding with a leadfoot Lyft driver. You have up to 10 days to change the info in the app if you were a passenger during a certain trip.
  • Privacy may be a concern. The IntelliDrive user agreement clearly states that Travelers owns your driving data. “Collection of location data is only for research and development purposes and does not affect your auto insurance rate,” Travelers says.
  • Someone could use your driving data for nefarious purposes. Let’s say that, hypothetically, a stalker gains access to your IntelliDrive account and uses it to track your movements and harass you. Travelers won’t be held responsible; it says in the user agreement, in ALL CAPS, that “your sole and exclusive remedy for dissatisfaction with the app or any resources or third party resources is to stop using the app.”

Now, we should note that the downsides we’ve mentioned aren’t unique to IntelliDrive. Other telematics programs, like Progressive Snapshot and Allstate Drivewise, include the same benefits and risks. If you believe your driving habits are good enough to earn you an insurance discount, why not try one?

If the idea of having Big Data track your driving habits makes you itch, however, there are other (less invasive) ways to save money on car insurance. The best way: Compare quotes on Compare.com. In just a few minutes, you can see real, personalized quotes from multiple insurance companies, making it easy to pick the right one for you.

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