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 and a passionate speaker.

13 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.

  2. I have a different experience because the units that plug into the ods-2 I guess are to expensive. They give you a little white box that glues to the windshield. This unit can only detect speed or mileage via GPS from what I can tell.
    Customer service claims it has a motion sensor in it but when asked how does it detect distance and acceleration and deacceleration I get either it is tied to my speedometer or maybe a GPS in it. I used a hand held GPS unit, GPS running watches GPS units in the car. Study several graphs created by running on trails. I know and my would verify it that I got false positives. I look at the map and I’m stopping for a light and several cars in front of me. It showed I crossed the media 3 lanes of on coming traffic drove in the field then came all the way across the road and drove in that field. Then when we turned left an accelerated it said I had two occurrences. I’m in a line of cars with a big truck in front of me. I didn’t accelerate fast the unit was loosing signal and having a hard time judging speed. They promised me up to 30% but how can I get over 10% with so many false positives. The idea is great but when they switched to these new units their data is no accurate.

    • I recently completed the 90-day program. I was told that my initial premium reflected a 10% savings prior to using the little white box glued to the windshield. After my extra very careful driving for 90 days, I was told that I would only receive a 7% savings, thus increasing my premium. This made obviously no logical sense and when I questioned it, was told that some drivers received up to 35% savings. If that’s the case, they must be perfect drivers and I don’t believe those exist. I’ve been a professional driver, both cars and trucks for over 40 years with no accidents and no citations. As a transportation safety manager, I not only investigated accidents, but also taught safe driving. About 25 years ago, I completed LM’s Commercial Driver Safety Course in Massachusetts. Anyway, I have no proof of my 90-day safe driving record because the information is no longer available on my phone and I have no way to get a copy of a complete print-out of my driving actions to question their interpretation of the data. I also believe, but can’t proof, that some of the data was inaccurate. Due to my own experience, I will discourage anyone else from accepting this program with promises of savings that due not materialize.

  3. How did using this device effect your rates when you renewed your policy? I assume they will use the information that they gathered about you in those 90 days to establish how they will insure you after the initial policy has expired.

  4. Does the percentage rate increases the less you drive. I had 26 percentage and i drove my car 60 miles round trip and it dropped to 18 percentage.
    Does anyone knows if the percentage rate increases the less you drive?

  5. I had the devices in four cars, two that we didn’t drive much, I had to use my Chevy Suburban one day & the car was dead. I had put a new battery in the car prior to plugging in the device so I thought I may have left something on in the car. Long story short, I jumped the car & drove it to work (58) miles, that would charge the battery. About 10 miles away from home the car shut down check engine, reduce power & so on. I had the car towed to my mechanic who upon scanning said as soon as he unplugged the device, the car was back to normal, no codes at all. I was told I am not the first car towed in because of the plug in device. A $150.00 later plus the tow, I was back on the road.

  6. This is the proverbial slippery slope. If this is required, I’d like to see some articles on how to defeat the devices and hacks to turn off certain features they use to spy on you.


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