Insurance runs on data, and electric cars have a lot of it. One firm in the UK is giving Tesla drivers cheaper insurance by tapping into the car’s systems to track driver mileage.
This could expand into other telematics, offering drivers better rates in exchange for more snooping.
By Miles is a UK insurance broker who offers pay-per-mile policies. Drivers who drive below-average numbers of miles can get big savings by going with pay-per-mile insurance.
Many insurance companies give lower-mileage drivers better rates, though this is often done through self-reporting. The insurance company asks you every year to tell them your odometer reading and then gives a rate based on the mileage you’re expected to drive.
But pay-per-mile policies bypass that annual ritual and take the mileage directly from your vehicle. By Miles does this by installing a separate device on the car and sending that data to the insurer via a smartphone app.
But the newest version of the app now offers a “trackerless” option specifically for Tesla drivers. A Tesla owner need only share their Tesla Account login credentials with the By Miles app, and the app will automatically read the car’s mileage periodically. This way, the Tesla driver doesn’t need to install any separate device.
They plan to offer this for other “connected cars” in the future, and possibly eventually use more data to better tailor policies to drivers’ needs.
This could be done by connecting to speedometers, temperature sensors, seatbelt sensors, etc., to get a better sense of whether drivers are driving safely.
On the one hand, this is great. Insurance runs on data, actuarial tables, probabilities, and so on. The more data they get, the better sense they can get of who the good drivers are, and then give those drivers insurance policies that better meet their needs. Personally, as a low mileage driver, I’d like to save some money on my insurance.
But on the other hand, I’m not sure I want a private company to look into every aspect of my life and movements. And I suspect a lot of other people will feel the same.
The nice thing is, this is all completely optional. And as long as insurance is required by law, it’s likely to stay optional. There would probably be some pretty big backlash if insurers tried to require this sort of data out of policyholders.
But saving money is a big motivator, and telling people they can save a few hundred dollars (or pounds) a year by sharing their login credentials might be enough to make even the privacy-conscious warm to the idea.
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