These days it seems there’s an app for everything; including improving your driving habits. Over the past few years, many auto insurance companies in Ontario have released usage-based car insurance programs in an attempt to offer lower premiums and promote safer driving. More recently, driving apps have become the big buzz in the insurance industry, replacing the old plug-in telematics programs and providing a more accurate platform that makes it easier for drivers to participate in usage-based insurance. But can these driving apps really make you a better driver? Or is this just a marketing tool used by insurance companies to sell more policies?
Calculating your score
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions that Ontario drivers are asking about these apps.
How is a “personalized driving discount” calculated?
The details used to calculate your individual driving score will vary slightly depending on which app you decide to use, but here are some examples of some of the most common driving details used to calculate discounts:
- duration of trip
- hard braking
- rapid acceleration
- cornering and turns
- kilometers driven
- distracted driving
The factors may vary by app, but regardless of which company you choose, your personalized driving discount will likely be calculated based on how well you score in a combination of all the driving categories in the app.
Does a better score really mean you’re a better driver? We definitely think it does.
Insurance companies have spent years analyzing accident data to uncover the driving events that most often lead to claims. In doing so, they have been able to identify the most “risky” behaviour on the road. These are the things that often separate drivers who are frequently involved in accidents from those who are not.
Some of the statistics are hard to argue. Take distracted driving for example; you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident when texting and driving. Now that’s pretty risky.
And if your app uses distracted driving as one of the factors to calculate your driving discount, then it would be pretty hard to get a good score if you were texting and driving all the time. So although we don’t think any app could ever be a perfect predictor of driving ability, it’s pretty safe to say that if you are scoring well in a usage-based insurance program, then you’re a good driver.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have your moments; we all do. But it does mean that using a driving app to monitor your habits on the road will make you a safer driver, which could lead to fewer accidents, and big savings on your car insurance. It could even save your life!
Can a driving app really improve my driving?
One of the keys to improving anything is consistent feedback. Using a driving app provides drivers just that by offering detailed info about their driving habits in the app, in real time. So if you’re focused on improving your driving score and increasing your insurance discount, you’ll need to take the feedback seriously and focus on improving your driving habits.
After all, driving is a skill. And like any skill, you need to practice to get better and stay sharp.
What’s in it for the insurance companies?
Good question. And there’s no doubt, usage-based insurance is a good thing for insurance companies. Safer driving means fewer accidents; and fewer accidents means less money paid out in claims and other expenses. All good things for any insurance company. On the other hand, the better you drive, the lower your insurance rate. So, safer driving also lowers the amount of money insurance companies are collecting from drivers in monthly premiums.
In the end, like any product, it needs to be profitable. And we’re sure that usage-based insurance is no exception to the rule. However, drivers also stand to save a lot of money on their monthly car insurance bills, and improve their driving habits in the process. We’re calling this one a win-win!