Eleven More States Get Drive Safe & Save Insurance Program

State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save program has seen major expansion recently, with the usage-based program being introduced for the first time in 11 new states and being made available through new platforms in a handful of states that already had access to the program.

Drive Safe & Save is now available in various platforms in 27 states across the U.S.

The usage-based program links driving data to premium costs through telematics, a “very industry-trending” type of technology that allows insurers to measure policyholders’ habits behind the wheel and base discounts on those habits, according to Angela Thorpe, a State Farm spokeswoman.

Under most Drive Safe & Save platforms, driving less annually can net a policyholder lower premiums, which “gives customers even more control over their costs and insight into how they can cut costs,” according to Thorpe.

Thorpe said customers who opt into the program are often unaware of the driving factors that could bring them lower premiums.

One such factor is how many miles a motorist drives each year, which many believe is higher than it actually is, according to Thorpe.

“It absolutely has the selling point of reality versus perceived in how we drive,” she said. “It is rolling out across the country and those who have opted for it really like it.”

The program’s expansion saw it opening up in many states earlier this week. Oregon, Missouri, New Mexico, and South Dakota were among the states where none of the platforms were previously available, but saw all platforms open up there this week. Other states saw an expansion of Drive Safe & Save platforms, including Illinois, which had offered the program’s OnStar and In-Drive platforms before  the SYNC platform was made available to customers there this week.

Further expansion of various platforms is planned by the end of this year, according to Thorpe.

Drive Safe & Save is offered in three platforms, according to spokesman Dick Luedke, operating through OnStar, SYNC or In-Drive formats. Drive Safe & Save programs that are compatible with in-car OnStar systems are the most widely available and are offered in all 27 states.

The insurer’s SYNC-based Drive Safe & Save platform is available to SYNC-equipped Ford models, following a partnership announced in May between the insurer and automaker. SYNC is a connectivity system that regulates a range of in-car features from emergency calling to voice command to diagnostics. This platform is available in 19 states.

The In-Drive platform is more in line with Progressive’s Snapshot offering, requiring installation of a separate device into a diagnostic port of the vehicle that collects statistics beyond those under the insurer’s other Drive Safe & Save platforms, including acceleration, braking and turning data. That data is then available to the policyholder on a web-based “dashboard” that allows him or her to review their driving habits and adjust them in order to maximize their eligibility for insurance discounts.

The following is a current breakdown of which states offer Drive Safe & Save and the platforms the program is available in:

State Onstar   In-Drive   SYNC   
Alabama x x x
Arizona x x x
California x
Colorado x
Florida x
Georgia x
Idaho x x x
Illinois x x x
Indiana x
Iowa x x x
Kansas x x x
Maine x x  x
Michigan x x x
Minnesota x
Missouri x x x
New Mexico x x x
Ohio x x x
Oregon x  x x
Pennsylvania  x x x
South Dakota x x x
Tennessee  x x x
Texas x
Utah x x x
Virginia x x x
Washington x
Wisconsin  x  x  x
Wyoming x x x

Telematics-Based Programs on the Rise

The latest expansion of Drive Safe & Save adds to a competitive market of usage-based programs that use telematics, which also include Drive Wise from Allstate and Snapshot from Progressive, the latter of which was one of the first major programs in the U.S. and is currently the most widely available.

Drive Wise is available in 10 states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Allstate’s latest expansion of Drive Wise was major, opening in seven states in just two months; the insurer said it was planning to open the program in more states in 2013.

Snapshot is available in 43 states in the U.S. The only states where it is not available is Alaska, California, Hawaii, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.

The most recent expansion of Snapshot brought the program to Illinois in November, the same month that Progressive CEO Glenn Renwick touted usage-based programs as the industry’s next innovative wave.

“This is clearly something that is very exciting; there can be no question,” Renwick said in a quarterly conference call with investors. “This is an underwriting variable that gives us insight to driving behavior and segmentation that no other variable has given us to date, at least in the same way.”

Renwick also said that that the insurer will embark on a new Snapshot campaign in 2013 that is “quite different than what we’ve done before.”

For their part, State Farm said that the consumer wins out when insurers grapple over the lead in industry trends.

“The auto insurance market is very competitive right now,” Luedke said in an email to Online Auto Insurance News. “We believe the high level of competition within our industry is good for the customer.”

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

No comments yet.

Comment on this article