Should You Use Travelers IntelliDrive?November 25, 2014
Car insurance companies love data. The more they know about their customers, the more accurately they can calculate risk and set premiums. That’s why so many auto insurers are turning to telematics: the practice of tracking and analyzing driving data via a small electronic device installed in a vehicle.
You’ve probably heard of telematics programs like Progressive Snapshot and Allstate Drivewise. What about Travelers IntelliDrive? This low-mileage car insurance program works a little differently than its competitors. Here’s a closer look at IntelliDrive.
How Does Travelers IntelliDrive Work?
When a Travelers customer signs up for IntelliDrive, the company sends you a small black box for each vehicle you enroll. Register the device online and then plug it into the diagnostic port under your dashboard (included on most vehicles manufactured after 1996). The device collects information about how many miles you drive and your driving habits, then sends the data to Travelers. You can access the driving data for your vehicles on Travelers’ website. The information tracked includes where and when the car is driven, its average speed, and braking and acceleration.
Travelers says IntelliDrive can be a useful tool for teaching teens how to drive safely, because you can set guidelines on safe driving behaviors and get alerts if your teenage driver disobeys. You can set curfews and boundaries on an online map, for instance, so you’re notified if your teen leaves a specified area or drives too late at night. The system only sends alerts after the car is turned off, however, to discourage irate parents from texting their teens “Come home!” while they’re driving.
As of 2014, the IntelliDrive program is only available to drivers in eight states: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia. Also, the device is not compatible with hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, or certain heavy-duty trucks.
Is Travelers IntelliDrive worth it?
That depends on how much you drive. Travelers offers a 10 percent discount just for signing up, and then an additional discount of up to 30 percent that’s based on the average miles the vehicle is driven each week. You’ll get some kind of discount as long as you don’t exceed the annual threshold of 13,000 miles, but most people won’t get the full 30 percent. This low-mileage car insurance program may be best for vehicles that are driven rarely or used only for short trips.
Privacy is a big concern for customers of car insurance telematics programs. With IntelliDrive, the policyholder can see where and when any enrolled vehicle in the policy has been driven, although not in real time. Travelers says driving information is typically uploaded to the consumer site 20-40 minutes after the vehicle is turned off.
While Travelers uses only mileage information to calculate your discount, it says it may use the data collected for other purposes: to do research, to prevent fraud and to service your policy. Travelers may also provide data to police who are investigating an accident — and, it says, “if we are required to provide data to a third-party, we may use the data for claim purposes.”
How does Travelers IntelliDrive compare to other telematics programs?
Most major insurers’ telematics programs track more than mileage; they want to know if you’re a safe or a reckless driver. Programs like Drivewise and Snapshot record things like hard braking, high-speed driving and the hours you’re behind the wheel.
IntelliDrive is different because it’s a low mileage car insurance program. Although Travelers collects data on your driving habits, only your average weekly mileage is used to calculate your premium discount. Here’s a quick look at some of IntelliDrive’s competitors:
- Allstate Drivewise: 10 percent for signing up, then up to a 30 percent discount for safe driving habits.
- Progressive Snapshot: Up to 30 percent discount for safe driving.
- State Farm Drive Safe & Save: Up to 50 percent for safe driving — but you need to pay for a third-party vehicle tracking and communications package, such as OnStar, SYNC (on Ford vehicles) or In-Drive from Verizon.
- National General Low-Mileage Discount: A pay-as-you-go insurance program with discounts up to 54 percent for people who drive less than 15,000 miles a year.
- Metromile: Pay-as-you-drive car insurance for low-mileage (under 10,000 miles a year) drivers in California and a handful of other states.