My 90 Days with Telematics in the Car

I’ve always been an early adopter. Here in the blog I have spent a lot of time talking about how technology might affect insurance in the future. When I moved to Atlanta and had to get a new car and new auto insurance I decided to try telematics for myself to see what it was like. Liberty Mutual offered me the opportunity to join their RightTrack program and I was thrilled to give it a shot. I got a 5% discount right away and up to a 15% discount at the end of the 90 day program, depending on my driving.

Installation and Setup:

Within about a week I received a small box with a device to plug into my car’s OBCD-II port. I had some difficulty finding the port in my Prius and I wish the app had done more to help me. Finally I figured out it’s under the steering wheel and plugged it in. As soon as I plugged it in it beeped, and I figured the setup was done!

Automatic Adaptor

Then I opened the RightTrack app on my iPhone and tried unsuccessfully to log in. I was pretty annoyed and I called the 800 number on the box and was transferred a couple of times. The first person I spoke with in what appeared to be the right department gave me the wrong information and I had to call back. On the second call the service rep finally informed that in Georgia they don’t use the RightTrack app but rather the Automatic app and helped me get setup properly. Turns out, the Automatic app can do a TON of stuff, so this was a big win.

 

Driving Around with Automatic:

Once it was properly installed I loved the experience. The device tries to train you to drive better by beeping when you accelerate too fast, brake too fast and when you drive above 70 mphs. Some people would find this annoying, but you can easily turn them off. I’m a very easy going driver and I almost never speed, so I didn’t get a lot of fast acceleration beeps. On the other hand, I was surprised to get quite a few sudden stop beeps. Driving with the device over time really did help me train myself to keep more space between me and the car in front to avoid the sudden break beeps. Also, I got used to driving the interstate at 69 mph to avoid the 70 mph beep. Overall, I do feel it helped me create better driving habits and made me a safer driver.

But that’s just the beginning of what it can do! Anytime you open the app it shows you the discount you would be getting if the 90 days were over today, total number of miles you’ve driven, how much you’ve spent on fuel, how many hours you’ve driven and your miles per gallon. It also shows you for each of your last few trips those same states and whether you’ve had any negatives. If you login to their website here you can see even more detailed data on all your driving, it’s pretty awesome!

The app, now showing the driving score instead of the discount because I waited until after the 90 days to take the screenshot.
The app, now showing the driving score instead of the discount because I waited until after the 90 days to take the screenshot.

 

This Thing Can Do Backflips:

The Automatic app also does an awesome array of other stuff including:

  • Warn you of engine warnings and decode them for you
  • Locate your parked car
  • Automatically notify the cops and an emergency contact if you have an accident
  • Integrate with Apple Maps
  • You can set it up to automatically put your phone on do not disturb when you’re driving (optional)
  • Warn you when you have low fuel
  • And it connects with a bunch of other apps including IFTTT, Concur, Expensify, FreshBooks, Nexonia, SherpaShare, Tripdots, Xero, Amazon Echo, AutoDash, JawboneUp, Muzzley, Spot Angels, Stringify, Yo, UnMooch, YourMechanic, DashCommand, Harry’s Lap Timer, OBD Fusion, etc
Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.12.26 AM
MPG for the last few days on the dashboard.
Map of all my driving this month
Map of all my driving this month

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.12.42 AM

Going Forward:

My discount ranged somewhere near 10% for most of the 90 days and then weirdly went down to 9% just before it ended. Once the 90 days were over the app notified me that I had secured my 9% discount for as long as I have this car under this policy and that Liberty Mutual would no longer track my driving. I get to keep the Automatic device for free and continue using with any of the compatible apps in order to track my driving for my own purposes. Overall I’m happy with my 9% discount and very happy to get to keep the device and keep geeking out with it.

If you’ve been thinking of trying out your insurance company’s telematics option you really have nothing to lose. Chances are you won’t get a device as cool as the one I got, but you’ll still get a discount for trying it, and you’ll get some insight into how you drive and how you can improve it. Give it a shot!

About Antonio Canas

Tony started in insurance in 2009 and immediately became a designation addict and shortly thereafter a proud insurance nerd. He has worked in claims, underwriting, finance and sales management, at 4 carriers, 6 cities and 5 states. Tony is passionate about insurance, technology and especially helping the insurance industry figure out how to retain and engage the younger generation of insurance professionals. Tony is a co-founder of InsNerds.com and a passionate speaker.

3 thoughts on “My 90 Days with Telematics in the Car

  1. Great overview. Looks really good. I’m not sure why they would stop tracking you after 90 days. Surely the benefit is playing for the whole term of the policy. What about if there is a law change etc. The box should support the re-training or reminding of folks.

    • You are absolutely right. The carrier would prefer to continue getting my telematics data for ever. I’m assuming that they’re only asking to do it for 90 days in order to minimize privacy worries the consumer might have and get them used to the idea of telematics tracking.

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