Big Brother's Tattling on Your Driving Habits

How good a driver are you? Are you good enough to risk your car insurance fees on it?

A car insurance company devised the idea and you choose whether to take the gamble. If you sign up, you agree to a little blue box in your vehicle  that tracks your driving style and tattles to your insurer. It’s sort of like having a backseat driver in the car with you who can affect your insurance rates.

It’s Progressive’s MyRate plan. It’s progressive all right and it’s headed to Connecticut.

So here’s the catch. If you have a lead foot and like jamming on the brakes, you could end up with an insurance premium of up to 9 percent higher. But, if you watch your speed and safely brake, you can get discounts as high as 30 percent. So -- low-risk drivers can save a lot, but speedy drivers might want to think before installing the device.

Progressive’s MyRate doesn’t use a global positioning system, and doesn’t spy on where you drive, or listen on your phone conversations -- on BlueTooth, of course -- but it does cost you to participate.

The fee is $30 every six months to cover the technology costs, so you would need to earn discounts of more than $60 a year to make it worthwhile.
Progressive is not the only company using a Big Brother approach. Travelers and The Hartford are also testing telematics to track the driving habits of volunteers.

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