Allstate Drivewise: An Honest Review

This is actually kinda creepy.....

This is actually kinda creepy…..

I’m kind’ve annoyed about something, and I need to get it off my chest.  Let me first say that I’ve had Allstate Auto Insurance for at least ten years.  When I was rear-ended in a car accident a few years ago, they handled it fairly well.  I’ve always been happy with the service I’ve gotten (for the most part), and I haven’t had any serious issues.  However, with all that being said, I feel like they made a fairly skeevy move recenty.  Let me explain.

The last time my car insurance rates were up for renewal, I noticed that my premiums went up quite a bit compared to the average.  So, I called the office to see what my options were.  Since I was already thinking about taking the full coverage off of my periwinkle minivan, I went ahead.  That move, in itself, saved a ton.  And, since I was already on the phone, they also told me about their Drivewise program.  In case you don’t know what Allstate Drivewise is, here’s how they explain it on their website:

“Drivewise is a program that gives safe, low mileage drivers the opportunity to earn a discount for driving safely. Drivewise also provides feedback on your driving behavior that may help you reduce your risk of having an accident.”

Basically, they mail you a contraption that connects to the dashboard in your car.  It monitors your speed and braking patterns and determines whether you’re a safe driver or not.  And, in exchange for participating, my Allstate rep told me that I would save 30 percent….which is A LOT.  I mean, I probably wouldn’t have done it to save 5 percent or 10 percent….but 30 percent?  Count me in.

So, I hooked the thing up to my car and completely forgot about it.  That was, until, I got an email from Allstate explaining that I could track my Drivewise discount on their website.  And, that’s when things went downhill….

DSCF2560According to Allstate, my discount is only going to be 17 percent, about half of the 30 percent that I was promised.  Why?  Because I’m doing it wrong.

According to their website, there are three levels of risk within a 24 hour time frame:

  • High Risk: 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
  • Low Risk: 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Moderate Risk: 11:00 a.m.  to 10:00 p.m.

And, although I have never driven during the high risk time zone, I often drive during moderate risk hours.  You know, from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. when almost everything in my life happens.  So, I suppose if I want to save the full 30 percent, I can just avoid driving during the day.  Sounds easy, right?  Unfortunately, there’s more……

More Problems

Apparently, I had a braking episode.  You can see the alleged incident highlighted in red on the graph.  I’m pretty sure the alleged incident took place in the Walmart parking lot, as a matter of fact, and the braking was entirely necessary compared to the alternative of running someone over.  However, should I really be penalized for it?  I mean, I’ve had Allstate Drivewise for three months now, and I’ve only had one braking incident.  What if I slammed the brakes so I didn’t hit another car?  Or, maybe a dog ran out in front of me.  Who knows?  Regardless, I’m not sure how they can count a single braking incident against someone when they have no idea why I was braking.  It seems like the “why” part of the equation should matter, doesn’t it?  It’s not like I had road rage or anything.

Regardless, although I’m happy to save 17 percent, I feel like the program is somewhat misleading.  Maybe I’ll work on not driving from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  “Sorry kids….we’re walking to daycare today!”  Oh, and next time a dog runs out in front of me, I’ll just run it over.

What do you think?  Would you sign up for your company’s safe driver program to save money?

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About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Very interesting, I’ve always wondered how those contraptions work… I’m not a fan of analysis by a device. And it’s weird to me that your premiums went up just before doing this, that feels more scammy to me than the drivewise thing!

    I’ve had a few different carriers in my day, but for the last 6 years I’ve been using Geico and couldn’t be happier. Haven’t had my premiums go up yet!
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    • I think it’s weird that our premiums went up too. Our cars are getting older and cheaper to replace so our premiums should be going down.

      • Older and cheaper cars are more likely driven by young and inexperienced drivers, who on average cause more damage.

        • Except that we’re not young or inexperienced…and Allstate knows it. Neither of us have been in a wreck that was our fault…ever.

          • Holly, I’m older than you. LOL
            And after coming in here all these times i agree, they do not explain drivewise or the way it works.
            I still think you should write a book.

          • What should the title be?

          • ”The adventures of Holly Johnson” ofcourse!!!

          • I’ve never met someone that is mad to save money. You’ve only had it for 3 months and you are already up to 17 percent. Why don’t you give it a little more time and see what happends.

          • John, Its down from, not up to…
            when you sign up for drivewise, they send you the gadget, you plug it in to your car. later you go in the house, turn on your computer, sign in to drive wise. look up towards the top, it will say 30%. which means they gave you 30% discount. from that day on every event drops that percent down.
            no ones ‘mad to save money’. everyones mad coz it was never explained right.

        • Also, as a car ages, it may become obsolete and either harder to find a mechanic or parts for it – therefore making it more expensive to fix. Liability on a car that has no loan is a much better idea than full coverage unless you have a wreckless kid driving it. I had liability as a kid (in Oklahoma – state laws are different than others) and it was a blessing!

        • I just got off the fone with drivewise, they told me they will look into my extreme braking. They’ve had other people complain and took off the extreme braking due to weather related. mine were 1 minute before turning my car off, one was 3 extreme in one minute. i think that is proof i wasnt flying down the road jamming on the brake.
          next, i talked to my agent. drivewise is being redone, braking will be coming off completely. you’ll have speed, over 80, time of day, and miles.
          he also said there will be other things changing for the better,, whatever that means.
          I told him drivewise makes people worse drivers because why stop for a yellow or red light if it lowers your percent. he said other people say that too n complain alot, thats why braking is coming off. he couldnt tell me when. same with someone cutting you off to turn right in front of you. you swerve to miss them instead of braking n getting an event.
          now i’m not sure if i’ll keep it or get out of it.
          theres something else i’m not sure on, that 10% they give you to start stays the second 6 months. he said if i end up with 11 or however many percents it adds on to the 10 percent so it would be 21 percent discount.
          wait n see i guess..

          • Your agent has no clue what he is talking about. You start at 10% but it can go up or down. The 10% is not permanent. Just thought you should know. Oh and there is nothing about the braking coming off that I’ve heard of.

          • I’m also on Drive wise. My car was stuck in my driveway because of teh heavy snow for 3 days. I tried to ge the car out by rocking it using the brakes and going back and forth. Drive wise had 6 extreme breaking episodes one day and 4 the next and my car never left the driveway. Needless to say I have a bad driving record on Drivewise becasue of that. Also, driving on US68 at 65 mph (the leagal speed limit) they actually have stop lights on that road at that speed. Slowing down as not to run a yellow light caused a hard breaking incident. Drivewise does have some bugs in it.

          • John,,,,, They took off 2 of my brake events, i had 3 in one minute. It seems they leave one per day on weather related or not. Heres the email:::
            ”Thank you for contacting Allstate’s Customer Technical Support. Your concerns are important to us and we appreciate the opportunity to address them.

            Please allow me to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. The breaking events have been removed except for the first one on the following days. 2/4/14, 2/8/14, and 2/1314 this has been done per our business rules.

            Please contact me by e-mail ( i took out her number n email)(use 1 877 431 7670 to call drivewise) within 48 hours if you have any questions. I can be reached between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.”

            John, It seems no one knows the whole story, my 6 months it up 20 April so i’ll know more then. but, it starts at 10% for signing up the first 6 months. they give you 30% to start your second 6 months. every event lowers that percent. Now, he explained to me you keep the 10 percent every 6 months you keep the gadget hooked up in your car. If you go down to 15 percent at the end of the first 6 months your 15 percent plus the 10 percent adds up to 25 percent discount for the second 6 months IF you keep drivewise. if you disconnect it your percent for the second 6 months is 15 percent.
            Your percent is at the top of your sign in page.
            LOL, They took off my extreme brake events but my % stayed the same, 11%.
            Its still wait n see what happens. I sure hope some of this makes sense to someone.

          • You do NOT keep the 10% sign up bonus. My policy is up for renewal. I originally got the 10% sign up bonus. Now when I plugged in the drivewise it started right away at 7% and has never changed. The new policy is giving a 7% discount and that is it. A whopping 23 bucks. Not worth it to me at all. They are giving you incorrect information!!

          • thump thump

            damn dogs……..

            Tina,,,,,, i understand what you are saying. i only said what they tell me.
            i hope you come in n post what you find out. i expire on the 20th n my new policy kicks in after that so i’ll know more then.
            i dont understand why you started at 7%.

      • When a car gets older it is a greater risk therefor it is more expensive to insure.

      • This is a common misconception. Yes your vehicles value goes down over time but when you get in an accident they use new parts to fix it. They also pay for the labor which gets more expensive every few years.

        • So you’re saying, because a cars value depreciates we SHOULD pay more?
          It has absolutely nothing to do with replacing whats broken with new parts…
          A fender for a 99 Jeep Cherokee is about $150; a fender for a 2014 Jeep Cherokee is about $350.
          That’s how the world works, but it doesn’t mean it makes sense.
          Logical? I think not.

    • Agreed. Interesting that they raised your premiums and then offered a “discount”. I like Progressive. The home side is a little weird because they outsource that, but I liked the car insurance.

  2. Ummm what the heck? You have to hook up something to your car? The safe driver discount I (used) to get was for not having any tickets or being involved in any accidents. I’m not sure how I would feel about setting up a monitoring device. It just sounds strange and a bit overboard for them to ask people to do that.
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    • It didn’t bother me that they were monitoring my trips. They don’t know where you’re going, after all. What bothers me is they told me that I would save 30 percent, not 17 percent!

      • They told you that you could save UP TO 30%. That’s if you drive during non-peak hours and have zero hard braking incidents. In your case you had neither, so I don’t see why you’re complaining.

        The insurance companies know exactly why you slam on the brakes. Nobody just does it for fun. They do it so they don’t hit something. Usually it’s the result of not paying attention to your surroundings well enough, or driving through high risk areas. In your case, you were driving in a high risk area. 45% of traffic accidents occur in parking lots.

        It’s not a reflection of your own driving ability. It’s a reflection of how many situations you get yourself into where you’re around a lot of other traffic.

        • Drivewise is distressingly incorrect at times and a source of extreme consternation among drivers due to the braking issue. For some time, even after connecting my device, I thought it incorporated internal accelerometers. Such is not the case; it merely observes vehicle speed OBDII information. Slippery conditions, no matter the speed, allow drive wheels to easily spin or lock up, causing hard braking events when there was absolutely nothing hard about them.

          • Exactly!!!!!

          • Gary,
            I believe you are correct. My car was stuck in my drive way for 3 days because of the snow and ice, but in trying to get my car out, I had 6 extreme breaking events in about 2 min and .4 miles. The car actually moved about .5 feet. Then when driving no the snow and ice covered roads, my ABS kicked in a couple times entering a couple more extreme breaking events. I complained to the Drivewise customer service and they made some adjustments, but it didn’t help my rating. There are bugs in this system. Until they get the breaking thing worked out, breaking should be taken out of the mix or use accelerometers to sense hard breaking instead of the computers data system.

        • This drivewise thing is a whole crock of shit!!!!! We have it in my husbands truck only as it would not fit in my car as I have a new car and the plug is behind a door so it doesn’t fit. Unfortunately my husband works afternoons for a police dept. Our discount is a whopping 7% as in the categories he gets an A or A+ with the exception of driving time he has a C-. So basically working an afternoon or midnight shift screws you. I have read so many reviews and not a single person out there has ever received the 30% discount unless their car is parked 24/7 and never driven. But 7% really all because he works afternoons.

  3. These programs just feel too big brotherish to me. I’m not willing to part with the details of my driving habits (who knows what else they’re tracking but not disclosing) for the sake of a few bucks. I’d much rather save money elsewhere.
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    • It didn’t bother me that they were tracking the times that I drove. After all, I only drive a few times a week. What bothers me is telling me I’ll save 30 percent and only giving me 17 percent off.

      • I saw a lot of hard breaks on my report but I know that I didn’t hard break. In fact, I’ve been very careful to stop slowly. But how can you argue with a device? So I only save 13% with Allstate instead of the 30% they told me I’d save. I’m also finding myself rolling through stop signs so I don’t hard break. I think a lot of people might have reacted this same way. It’s as if Allstate is conditioning behavior that will cause them a ticket so they’ll be able to raise rates. I’m seriously considering changing insurance companies, even if it’s more expensive somewhere else. I don’t feel like Allstate deserves my business.

        • Modulate brake pedal pressure so that the exact moment the vehicle stops moving is imperceptible. That is, reduce brake pressure as the car slows down. A passenger better feels how gently a vehicle comes to a stop than the driver who’s using both arms to brace against the wheel.
          Insurance wants to reduce all accident payouts. Drivers who consistently need to brake hard travel too fast or too closely to the vehicle in front of them. Not tailgating means having enough room to stop gently, all the way to zero. Put your automatic transmission in drive…now find the least amount of brake pressure required to prevent the car from moving…your ultimate goal is to continuously reduce pressure applied to the brake pedal as the car slows, arriving at stationary and minimum pressure simultaneously. Only after the car has come to rest can you press harder to maintain safety. Try not to plant your car too closely to the car before you, in case you are rear-ended while stopped…

          • Allsate explains a hard break as any time during a break, your speed is reduced by 8 miles per second or greater.
            So how can you safely break going 35 miles per hour and a traffic light takes only 4 seconds to change from green to yellow to red? Do the math!! It’s 8.75 miles/second. And that’s if you start to break instantly when the light turns yellow. Reaction time would be at least .5 sec.
            This program does not promote safe driving. It in fact encourages people to run the yellow light to avoid the hard breaking incident. And they promote this as a drive wise program? What a Joke!

          • Forget the math; learn to spell brake correctly!
            Thomas, not everyone drives as though it was their first day behind a wheel. Whether walking, bicycle riding, or piloting a motor vehicle, there is time to ‘read’ conditions ahead, including traffic signals. All drivers must be constantly scanning traffic and the roadway ahead by at least 12 seconds, even if theirs is the only vehicle on the road. 12 seconds at speeds up to 60 mph means a driver can judge how long that green light ahead has been glowing during approach. A driver practicing distracted driving will forever be caught off-guard, even while doing a mere 35 mph. Failing to look ahead, failing to anticipate surrounding traffic and traffic light changes is not responsible driving.
            Hint: pedestrian walk signals give visible clues to a pending traffic light change.

          • you must never drive in traffic. i agree to leave a safe distance, but in that space theres always some ass that cuts in front n crams on his brakes to make a turn in front of you. ever have a deer suddenly jump in front of you?? a kid run close to in front of you?? a dog run out in front of you?? do we hit the dog? swerve away from the kid? i don’t care who you are or how safe you drive stuff happens. this past sunday i got an extreme braking in my driveway, IN REVERSE, one minute before turning off the key n going in my house. seems the wheels spun on ice n snow while backing up a little grade to where i parked,, my foot happened to be on the brake.
            drivewise doesnt consider regular driving on ice or snow or or even in the summer when your car is cut off or the car in front crams on its ”’breaks”’.
            i think it’s funny, drive wise tracks me when i move my car to cut grass under it, or when i take my garbage to the road, or get my mail. all one minute trips. it even gives me 0 hours n 0 miles sometimes,, just shows up. i’m canceling mine this week, had it for almost 5 months. extreme braking in reverse makes me think its a joke.. i’ll get another extreme braking the next time i go out then back in again. good luck with your drivewise…..

          • I live in Minnesota and the snow and ice has not been good to my discount! I managed to rack up 2 “extreme braking” episodes within one minute and a “hard braking” a few minutes later all while trying to get unstuck in the alley behind my house. I don’t even recall touching the brakes and I think this was the result of pushing on and releasing the gas pedal as the tires spun. There was not another car, person, dog or small animal in the vicinity. My discount dropped like arctic blast temps!

          • LOL. See, that’s the stupid shit I’m talking about. You shouldn’t be penalized for that.

          • This is getting funny!!!!! I beat Tom in brake events,,,LOL. I have 3 extreme brake events in one minute, all three in one minute n one minute before turning my car off in my driveway.
            Winter is almost over, i cant believe more people havnt talked aboutdriving on ice n snow.

            copied from GARY above::::: A driver practicing distracted driving will forever be caught off-guard, even while doing a mere 35 mph.
            my extreme braking was under 15mph in my driveway. but i’m practicing..

            Failing to look ahead,
            omg i was backing up, jeez

            failing to anticipate surrounding traffic and traffic light changes is not responsible driving.
            i was a good two hundred feet off the road, in my driveway. no other traffic around.

            Hint: pedestrian walk signals give visible clues to a pending traffic light change.
            Hint: they forgot to put walk signals at the top of my driveway. those snow n ice people were right on the job though..
            end of GARYS stuff.

            now that i think about it none of my braking events were over 25 mph, and i think most were in reverse. i got a few before i figured out to run traffic lights.
            and i do know how to apply the brakes to stop.

            STEVE, go for GOLD!!!!! LOL at yards.

  4. I’m not even going to lie, but this wouldn’t work for me. I like to drive fast, and occasionally we like to take the Jeep out for off roading or take the Camaro to the race tracks. Our rates would probably quadruple with the way that we drive! haha
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    • Ha!

    • Just so you know, it is not a GPS and they have no idea where you are. It simply monitors your driving habits and in VA you can get up to a 27% rewards check back every 6 months. Not that you are going to get that much as everyone has different driving habits. Also it goes on each vehicle you own that is a 1995 or newer car that is not electric or hybrid. Each car gets a different amount of reward as you do not drive every vehicle exactly the same all the time. As far as speeding, it only monitors if you drive 80 or over as no state has that speed limit at this time. You could be driving 50 in a 25 and the device would have no idea! If you have questions about it ask your local Allstate agent to explain it more thoroughly.

  5. Yeah, I think the why should probably matter. I’m guess they’d rather have people brake hard than slam into cars. But maybe I’m wrong about that. At the very least it would be nice if they were up front about all of this. That’s what drives me the most crazy about these big companies. They don’t tell you about the gotchas until they’ve already happened. That must be a successful strategy since they all do it, but it seems to me like it just creates more anger later.
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    • Maybe.

      I just think that having a “braking episode” every three months sounds about right. I mean, that’s part of driving a car. Sometimes you have to hit your brakes to avoid hitting an animal, a shopping cart, of a skateboard.

      • you have to hit the animal, swerve to miss the cart or skateboard, swerve to miss a kid too. as far as yellow or red lights, just go thru. better than a hard braking.
        they promote unsafe driving with the drivewise.

        above, my extreme braking was 10.5 to 0, in reverse..
        hard brake is 8 n over, extreme brake, oops, ‘break’ is 10 or above..

        • I’m immune because of the amount of yearly mileage so I’m not installing it on my car. But after 2 days, it looks like both my wife and my son need to work on their braking.

          I called a family meeting where I castigated them on being heavy on the pedal so we are looking at similar tactics to avoid braking and slowing down. Swerving techniques and just running over small things are very good suggestions.

          We live in a smallish town so traffic permitting, we are also going to try running stop signs and red lights. I also instructed them on driving through yards to avoid backing up. We’re going for the gold!

          • I think that running over small animals is a small price to pay for a good discount on your insurance. I mean, insurance is expensive and you’ve got to save where you can. right? I would probably draw the line at running over a human being or at least a small child to avoid braking too hard. However, I would be tempted to just gun it for a fat person. I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

        • Ok, heres the latest for me. i called allstate, complained about my hard braking, and other stuff about drivewise. if i take it off today, i pay them the whole discount for drivewise which for me is 32 dollars. she asked me to keep it because i only have till april to go, she said try n keep the percentage up till april any way i can n do not take it off. you only keep drivewise for 6 months, (she just told me this 20 minutes ago), after the 6 months its not used anymore and whatever your, (or me), discount is, thats what it will be from then on.
          so, bare with it for the 6 months, try your best, get your discount. thats what she told me…..

          i told her i drive around things i should stop for, that i’ve run yellow n red lights to avoid hard braking. it still bothers me that i got an extreme brake in my driveway in reverse. she told me dont worry about it..

          • Holly is a Jerk says:

            You are rude to fat people Holly.
            I’ll be tempted to run over any small blonde person because their so small, they’ll break in half.

          • Omg, I was totally kidding! I weigh the most I have weighed for years at this very moment! I have no room to talk. Just making a silly comment, don’t take it personally!!! Sorry =(

          • Oh Holly, you should write a book, i’ll buy it. your funny. lol, if you get runned over i’ll pick you up n stick you back together just so you can write more…..

          • Thanks for your support, Ken!!!

          • I thought you had to keep those Drivewise concraptions for a year, and spring and summer is coming. I’m anticipating long fishing and hiking trips, other long trips, that would have really put a damper on the mileage piece. Thanks for the info.

  6. Monitoring devices creep the hell out of me. I don’t think I would sign up for something like this. You should at least be able to dispute the braking issue. Also, penalizing you for driving during certain times of day just seems like a great way to say “Oh well, you don’t qualify for the discount, nothing we can do!”
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  7. “Maybe I’ll work on not driving from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. “Sorry kids….we’re walking to daycare today!” Oh, and next time a dog runs out in front of me, I’ll just run it over.” I’m sorry, I just had to laugh at that. :) Seriously though, WTH? I know 17% is nice and all, but what do they expect people to do between those hours? Honestly, I’m too fast of a driver and would likely get our rates hiked as a result. I don’t think I’d sign up for something like this, but would just look elsewhere to save. Maybe if they shortened the moderate time I would, but otherwise no.
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  8. I did when I had progressive and I think I only saved 15% because at the time I was driving 30 miles to work during peak commuter hours. Guess it’s not safe for me to go to work. ;) But I think the Progressive one was a little less sophisticated (or maybe not, I never saw the results) and I certainly didn’t get any emails about my driving habits. Lol
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  9. I won’t lie, these types of contraptions make me nervous. Call me paranoid, that’s fine. I’d rather pay a little more and not have to worry about something monitoring me to make sure “I’m a good boy.” It’s just a bit creepy to me.
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  10. I would not keep your site ahead of implying that i in fact experienced the typical facts somebody present for your company? Shall be yet again incessantly in an effort to look into fresh discussions

  11. Holly!!! So sorry it is not working out. I am doing Progressive’s Snapshot. It is effortless and I will take my 17% if it costs me no time or energy. But that is just Sir Jolly!!

    Have a cool one!
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  12. We did the Snapshot by Progressive when it first came available. They were careful to say that we could save “up to” a certain percentage, I can’t remember what it was. And they had a website similar to Allstate’s, I could login and it told me when we were driving, and if we had any “hard breaks”. It was kind of a game for us. We did end up saving quite a bit, because we also don’t drive in the middle of the night or slam on the brakes very often.

    Of course they are just using statistics, and statistically if you have to brake really hard pretty often, once in a while you’ll actually hit something. I guess they should have told you that you’d save 15%, and you’d be happy with 17%!

    • You’re probably right! =)

      I just think they shouldn’t say you will save 30 percent if the only way to do so is to not drive at all. That’s kind’ve misleading. I don’t drive a lot….but I do drive some. And yes, from 11am-10pm!!! =/

  13. Great review Holly! Those penalties seem pretty outrageous. 17% savings is great, but the fact that driving between 11am and 10pm reduces your potential discount is laughable.
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    • Ummmm…..yeah~ I agree. No matter what shift a person works, they have to drive during that time too. A person who worked third shift would probably be penalized the most!

  14. The truly careful drivers should love those devices, while the not so careful might come to despise them. I would guess that people who have them installed will drive differently with the constant feedback. Anything tracked and measured over time will improve.
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  15. Nope, I would NEVER EVER consent to being monitored like that. I mean, I completely understand the desire to save money, but being tracked like that feels like a part of your freedom is being taken away. I don’t like Big Brother spying over my shoulder. The fact that the program isn’t all it’s cracked up to be doesn’t surprise me either. No one is going to monitor my driving (that is until the government makes it a law – which sadly will probably happen sooner rather than later!).
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    • I don’t feel that way about it, but I don’t blame you for feeling that way. It’s just our second car, which is rarely driven. I wouldn’t do it on Greg’s car because a) he drives it all the time, and b) he speeds =/

  16. I definitely think I woulfnt sign up for a program like that.I think I would end up worrying about whether I’m driving good enough.In the midst of doing that I’d probably end up in an accident.
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  17. I signed up for State Farm’s monitoring program. Our car insurance is expensive. We pay $200 a month. So any way to lower what we pay is great to me. But they sent the monitoring device to the incorrect address, it just got returned, and we haven’t gotten it. So… yeah not sure what the status is, but I think we’re not going to do it based on what we’ve heard about it.
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    • If my insurance was $200 per month, I would definitely do it! Even if you only saved 17 percent, that would be a lot month after month. My insurance is much cheaper so the savings isn’t as high for me.

  18. I understand your frustration with not getting the full discount you thought you would, but 17% off is still a sweet deal. I would definitely consider doing this, but I have been with American Family since I started driving and we pay $125 for two cars. Do you think we might get a better deal at Allstate?
    Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet recently posted..Getting Out of Debt: 5 Steps to Eliminate Your Debt QuicklyMy Profile

    • Maybe. You never know!

      I price shop for better rates every year and I’ve never found anything lower than the rates I have. But, I also have my homeowner’s insurance and landlord’s insurance on two rentals with them, so that helps. I get a discount for multiple policies.

  19. That line about running over a dog is FUNNY. I guess that makes me a bad person (& dog owner) but I laughed hard at that. Seems like there are limits to what this technology can understand, as it has no context for any driving event. Like you noted, running over dogs & children is fine as long as it happens in the a.m.
    Done by Forty recently posted..How Should FIRE Timeline Affect Asset Allocation?My Profile

  20. Interesting, I have Allstate as well and have not heard of this program. While it does sound misleading 17% is worth it for me as well! Also, I’m thinking if I sign my truck up for it, which I typically only drive in the morning to take kids to school, it could really help. I’ll just make them take the bus home….
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  21. We don’t use this type of discount service although we are with Allstate as well. Our privacy is shot to heck anyway so who cares? I wouldn’t mind saving 17% at all! Are you sure they said you would get a 30% discount and not “up to” 30%? I assume companies always mean “up to” when they say “may.” I’m not sure why we aren’t already doing this (though from what you said, we won’t get the full discount either) so I will look into it.
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..Unexpected Expenses Ate Up Our Rent SavingsMy Profile

    • They said that I would save 30 percent but I signed up over the phone so it may have been a miscommunication.

      But, with that being said, I don’t think they should advertise 30 percent if it’s impossible to attain. Since you’re penalized for driving between the hours of 11am and 10pm, it seems to me that no one would be able to get 30 percent off. I don’t know anyone who never drives at all during the day!!!

      • Holly, they give you 10% your first 6 months. they told me,, you can save 30%. the how’s n why’s came in the little box with the gadget. if you follow their rules it will stay 30%.
        no one with a real life can do that, but it is possible.
        so, whatever percent you end up with after 6 months is what you get, she told me a 5 percent savings is still 5 percent.
        she also told me the police do not check these things so the why’s of braking don’t matter to anyone but them n only for the discount.

        • ok, correction, they give you 10% on your policy the first 6 months for signing up. they give you 30% to start your drivewise. so it starts at 30% you don’t work up to it. we, (i), work down from it. i’m at 17% now.

      • They told you “up to 30%”. You see businesses use this strategy everywhere. “From $99.” “Starting at $200.” “Save up to $50.” “Save up to 15%.”

  22. I do think it’s skeezy it’s the same as Progressives program and stupid. The other problem, at least in the Progressive case, is that if you don’t return that little contraption they charge you $100. Since I know that most of the clients we work with are not likely to return the device I don’t even recommend the program.
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  23. I am willing to do almost anything to save money particularly on insurance. I saved $25-300 a year because I cut down on my commute.
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  24. Thanks for the post. I have heard a lot of other companies offering the same type of deal. I’m glad to get some details about it. Since I routinely return home after 10pm. I think I will be skipping this little offer.
    Chad | The Stock Market and I recently posted..Why QE is Important to YouMy Profile

  25. When I first heard about that program…I was thinking I would never use it because they might bump up my rate! Not that I’m a crazy driving but I do drive a good amount. And sometimes I have the need for speed.
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  26. I think I’d fail the test. I have deer and birds and all kinds of critters attacking me from every angle. Sometimes it seems like we live in the forest because we basically do. I’m afraid I’d try not to break as hard and hit a cow or something.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..My Trip to the Food BankMy Profile

  27. I did something similar with Progressive. Except, since my car is at home in the States, my father in law drove it for me. He drives super slow and just drove it around the block once a week haha. I still saved 29% and I have no idea what he did wrong to lose that 1%!
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  28. We did Progressive’s version of the program for our two cars. Got a 20% discount on one and a 7% on the other. The 20% one was driven maybe 20 times the entire 6 months because I was unemployed at the time. And they still found reasons to knock me down 10%. Don’t even get me started on the 7% one. Like you said, they punish you based off of assumptions of raw data. I’m also wondering if it’s actually a discount too. Didn’t you say your rates went up before they offered you the discount? Hmmmm…
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  29. Full disclosure, I’m an actuary working for an insurance company.

    I would be the one reviewing the statistics and I can tell you pretty much how those variables (when you drive, how many hard braking, what is an hard braking* and speeding episodes) came to be used for what is called in the industry, usage-based insurance (UBI).

    *Hard braking/speeding is every time the accelerometer in the device register something over 0.3G.

    The insurance industry is always on the lookout for new information to use in their rating. You remember when everyone started asking for your credit score? Progressive did it and everyone followed. Credit score helped insurance companies differentiate between more at risk driver and less at risk driver (although I personally think credit score is more related to your behavior as a person). But not every state agreed to allow its use.

    Again Progressive innovated with UBI (look up mister Robin Harbage). Based on experiment and data collected over the years from volunteers they figured out that they could differentiate drivers with even more precision than credit score. Great! Plus you could argue with states legislators that it would encourage good driving behavior so it was a more easy sale pitch.

    They found out that you were more likely to be involved in an accident when driving during certain period of the day (mostly at night). That frequent acceleration and hard braking drivers were also more likely to be involved in an accident. Don’t forget that on the road you should drive assuming that everyone else just got their license. Seriously!

    Even if all those new information are gold (gold is best) for us actuary, we face a lot of logistical problem when analyzing the data. How do we treat highway exit/entering for example? Plus, it’s not everyone that wants to be tracked everywhere they go (although if you have a cellphone, you can be tracked anyway)

    In a sense, in the long run, here what is going happen. Each year an insurer has to collect enough premium to pay for claims and expenses. You can that amount as fixed. Now the insurer has to charge every risk a certain premium to achieve this goal. Since drivers that use the contraption and are good drivers will be paying less, everyone else has to pay a tiny fraction more to compensate.

    But rest assured, it’s been around in the US and UK for a long time and the adoption rate is no where near that of credit score.

    For the moment, unless the average premiums in your state or province is over 800-1000 per year, this type of program is hard to justify from a profits perspective.

    Device cost is a 100 to 150, roaming cost is 4-10 per month plus you have to give a discount because no one would install it if their premiums could go up.

    It’s really interesting to read all those comments about user perspective.

    Thanks (sorry for poor english)
    Bruno recently posted..An introductionMy Profile

    • Well, I’m glad to get 17% of even 10% off. I just don’t think they should be deceptive about it. Just be honest….that’s all I’m asking!

      • Hi Holly,
        I just signed up with Allstate in NY coming from Costco’s Ameriprise program. Allstate gave me a better quote than Ameriprise by $200 per year so I’m already doing better. Then the agent said I can save more money by installing the Drivewise device by getting 10% off the 6 month premium right away.

        The agent said I could save up to 30% based on the driving that I do. I have 2 cars and don’t mind having it give whatever more discount is available. Also, the Drivewise website said that it will not increase the premium at any time ever.

        Therefore, it works out for me no matter what happens. We’ll see when I have it first installed and see the reporting.

        On another note, if your subscribers want to save more on their auto insurance, they should be taking their defensive driving courses every 3 years for 10% off.
        There is a special on Defensive Driving right now…
        http://www.makemoneytogiveback.com/defensivedriving.php
        They should use code AE101 for another $5 off.

        Thanks for the blog review of Drivewise.
        Hope this helps,
        Alan
        Alan recently posted..Relying on GPS Too Much?My Profile

  30. I have had Drivewise installed on two of my vehicles for about a month. One in a 2011 Camry and the other in a 1998 4Runner.
    You start out with a discount (ex 15% per vehicle) and that discount can raise or lower based on the criteria pretty well outlined above.
    The nice thing is that you can opt in if you know you are a low-mileage driver, and you can again opt-out if you find that your discount lowers to say only 5-6% and you don’t want to be monitored anymore.
    It’s silly how so many people posting on the internet, carrying cell phones, paying taxes, basically just existing are so afraid of giving up privacy. One thing I have learned working in Information Systems is that you should just never expect privacy. To live that blindly is the scary part.
    That being said, since I drive very little and also have a motorcycle on my insurance, I can ride that all I want (no Drivewise, obviously) and drive my other vehicles in the mornings or all I want on the weekend (which is considered lowest risk).
    Hard braking is pretty straightforward. Since the human mind doesn’t have an accelerometer, the easiest way to know if you are hard braking (other than the obvious) is slowing 8mph within 1 seconds time. Slowing in excess of 10mph in one second is Extreme Braking.
    Keep in mind that these averages you can see any time, but they are averaged over an entire year. So one occurrence is not going to impact you, and is clearly going to be a statistical outlier, something that was probably an external effect such as someone cutting you off.
    Overall I would have to say it’s a pretty fair program, and will pay off if you already are a good driver. They don’t even really publicize it all that much, and certainly don’t try to force anyone into it. I would definitely not expect any more than 17-20% discount, however. I walk to work every day and put maybe 10,000 miles TOTAL on BOTH vehicles combined in a year. So far my discount is hovering around 15%.

  31. These things are way too Big Brother for me, discount or not! I can’t imagine that these sorts of things will be good for consumers in the long run.
    Mike recently posted..Help Me Be Financially SmartMy Profile

  32. Holly..Greetings pilgrim!! I laughed all through your email because I fell for it too but now I want to cry..I totally agree with you about the hours & braking. My year is almost up..in August before we left for vacation I was an A-…now I am barely a B driver. .we drove through the night so I realllly engaged in high risk driving hours!! I went from a B+ to a C!! It wad fir one

  33. Let’s explore usage based insurance discounts: A price reduction compared to the price, which that carrier would have charged you if the premium had been calculated using the conventional rating approach. Even given a 30% discount, you could still be overpaying by hundreds. Why? Because insurance is not priced like conventional products where the concept of discount has more meaning. Your original pre-discount premium might easily be 55% overpriced to begin with. What?

    Consider: Two identical coverage, standard car insurance policies (containing collision and comprehensive), where the premiums do not involve any telematics monitoring scheme and are calculated using conventional base rates. These two premiums could differ in price by $1,000. That’s right, differ.

    Many drivers fail to understand insurance pricing and falsely believe that pursuing discounts is the route to best price and value. It is not. But insurers like this misconception; they can sell on it by inflating or implying the role of discounts. In reality discounts are of secondary importance – a sideshow.

    If you like your carrier and are thinking about trying their usage based scheme, then sure you should expect some premium benefit. The question is, after all your hassle and 15% achieved – how competitive is the resulting premium? Statistically (in 2013) it is likely that you are still significantly overpaying. Why? Because of the scope of market rates that exists for a driver of your basic profile and location. Rate means not price or premium, but a regulated base cost that acts as the quote starting point. Huge discrepancies in premiums arise because of insurer filed rates that vary enormously.

  34. Oh, this is rich! I’ve never been creeped out by big brother. Just go about living life as though everyone else had telescopes and loved watching only you. I’m 62 and retired. My wife and I drive to an occasional class and errands. We have Allstate and 3 days ago plugged in our Drivewise devices. No hard braking events…yet. Dare I say that I drive like an old man? No, not because I’m feeble, timid or senile. I’m not exactly hypermiling, but do appreciate the self control required.

    To me, smooth, gentle driving is what taxi drivers excel at. I do my best. Besides Allstate’s insurance reduction with Drivewise, fuel costs will also go down. Coasting is my new mantra. Leave enough space to coast and hard braking becomes a thing of the past. I’m actually looking forward to when the vehicle itself will do what DriveWise now does and adds location tracking as well. I want to pay only for the insurance I use; don’t drive–don’t pay. Drive when and where accidents and traffic are rare–pay little. If I don’t make insurance claims, reduce my rates over time, please.

  35. You probably won’t believe it but I am actually getting a 30% discount on my allstate policy with drivewise, however, though because I paid a year in advance to save 120.00. I know only get 10% on drivewise until my policy period is up, not every 6 months as stated in the brochure. My wife was getting a 21% discount, up until the policy 6month renewal, then it went down to 18%, however, that policy is also paid for 1 year and so now she still only gets the 10% discount.

  36. The reason you get soo many hard braking events is because if you hit the brake and your speed goes down 8 miles in like 2 seconds you get a hard brake. I have 9 hard braking incidents in 6 months and got 30%. To avoid this and mine happened when I stopped or was backing out of a space, you have to gently brake and slowly back, even if you don’t brake hard it registers as if you did. Hope this helps you.

  37. “….up to..30% discount…” I suppose that there is dishonestly in creative marketing.

  38. Tracking, monitoring, big brother and being creeped out. Wow, does anyone here drive near traffic intersection cameras? When you’re driving on public roadways, do you believe you have a right to anonymity? Psst–there’s a license plate on your vehicle and software on those traffic cams can read the characters. Let me guess, absolutely none of you screams bloody murder when you are victimized and want the perpetrator caught.
    Oh, I get it. Some of you don’t want the company you pay to insure you to know anything about your driving habits. Until someone gets hurt, that is. Then you’ll pay someone else to defend you, should that be necessary. With increasing numbers of vehicles on the roadways, accident reconstruction will depend on recorded data. Statistically predicting driving habits that most often cause accidents is the way of our crowded future.
    How’s this–offenders who don’t pull over during the approach of an emergency vehicle could receive automatic warnings on their driving record. Accumulate several warnings and the owner receives a ticket. Stop right there–listen, what if it’s you or someone you love in that ambulance? Some vehicles already have automatic parallel parking and emergency braking.
    I’ve read too many comments against big brother and against the accuracy of this Drivewise device. Okay, diss Drivewise, but unless you understand technology don’t expect anyone to believe the seat of your pants proclamations. Those of you with smartphones; check out the free app available from the website drivewise.ly

  39. It really just sounds like your agent misled you. I am signing up right now and they said you get a 10% discount immediately and based on your driving, you could receive UP TO a 30% discount. 10% is enough to try it and 30% is even better IF I can get there.

    • oh my god everyones different….. listen, you get 10% for signing up, has nothing to do with driving. you get 30% to start with. look at your drivewise graph. depending on you it goes down from there.

  40. I am an Allstate insurance agent and I can tell you that to start off for the drivewise discount is only 15% for the first 6 months. I can also tell you that other companies have this device and they charge for it. Allstate came up with this because we have listened to our customers for years saying that they are good drivers and they should not be penalized for the bad drivers. You are not required to participate, and can opt out of it at anytime.

    • Interesting Shari – mine started off with only 10%
      Good and bad on these. I have a truck I use for towing my 5th wheel, I guess 2000-3000 miles a year. I have had this device in for 2 months, and am saving a whopping 3%! A number of braking events – well guess what, I tow….big clue. One downer – it went in for brakes the other week, and they did road test it – should have taken the thing out.
      Have a Camaro, weekend warrior, 4-5k a year. Was at 17% took it out, and yes went over 80, down to 7%.
      For me – basically useless, and as Holly points out, these guys don’t know any of my circumstances. I just informed my agent they will be sent back. I can’t see myself saving much, and the opportunity for Allstate to raise premiums, penalize me in anyway – i will not give them the opportunity. While they say ‘No’ they do they state ‘IF” we do, we’ll let you know. Of course they will let you know, i trust insurance agents as much as Lawyers, real estate agents, and car salesman…and won’t give them ammo to use..

    • Shari, where are you? i’ll take my policy to you for 5%.
      i’ve read this whole thing theres so many different opinions. you agents need to get together on this…
      maybe i’m being lied to, who knows…
      this morning i was again talked out of canceling drivewise for the 4th time. i hate it but she tells me i’m getting a discount for my next 6 months.
      i’m beginning to wish i knew the real story, do i keep the gadget for 6 months then it goes back or what? is my % i end up with at 6 months what i keep after that?
      i hate this gadget, it gave me an extreme brake in reverse in my driveway,,, lol
      i was backing to where i park one minute before turning off the key. well it was on ice n snow it spun a little.. stupid though..

  41. I did the same and signed up. Not knowing the hours and how it worked. Well imagine I work night shift as an RN, so yes I drive at times they do not like. Wonder if they would like needing EMS, Fire, ED, etc and state we can’t be out during those times.

  42. Well guess what! After installing the devise and driving almost 11 months with no change in my 30% discount, now that my renewal is coming up, I go from a 30% discount on Friday to a 21% discount on Monday, funning thing is I never took the car out over the weekend! But some how went down 9%, only put on 1500 miles, no speeds over 80, mostly finish driving by noon and after one year of perfect 30%, never changed even once, now 21% discount, and the agent can’t explain why?

  43. This is a trend that I first saw with our family’s health insurance. Rates increased across the board and the amounts of discounts in the form of cash deposited in our HSA were dependent on “health factors” of the adults on the policy. Smoking, BMI, BP, cholesterol are measured in the fall prior to open enrollment. Amounts added to the HSA depend on how many factors you pass. So it’s risk factor.

    I feel like I should get a discount inside an insurance pool that also insures people with higher risks that are controllable. If I am overweight, my discount should be less.

    As far as being monitored for driving habits, I have no problem voluntarily putting devices on our automobiles so our insurance company can reduce our rates as a reward for driving under certain speeds, at safer times, and at speeds that don’t necessitate hard braking. These are conditions under the control of the policy holder and if I were insuring activities, I would probably try to reduce rates for those who keep their controllable actions at a less risky level. Incentive.

  44. Holly- I’m sorry your agent, or customer care misled you regarding the discount. I feel your pain regarding the breaking incidents. @ 17% you are doing really well, in my experience the overall mileage the car is driven is the single biggest factor in the drivewise discount. I’m only getting 5%, but its 5% less than someone else who fits my risk profile and is not enrolled in the program. This lets your driving habits differentiate you from the pool of risk you happen to fall into, it provides you with a far more accurate rate and gives you more control over how you are rated individually. Nobody likes paying for insurance until they need it, and despite what many think there is a solid mathematical basis for any and all rate increases. In fact most states (NY for sure) require any rate fluctuation over a certain % be approved by a State entity before they can go into place. In short, its lousy that the discount was poorly explained to you, but look at the bright side you are getting a 17% discount you didn’t have before and its because of how well you drive.

  45. I apologize if this has already been covered in one of the many comments, too many to read through, but the initial problem lies with your agent (no pun intended) telling you that you would save 30%. As a long time Allstate employee (and believe me, I’m not a banner carrying cheerleader for the company by ANY means), I have seen many different promotions by the company. In my experience, most of the time when a customer isn’t happy with the result, it’s due to bad explanations by agents.
    When DriveWise was released it had a very simple explanation: a 10% enrollment discount for your first 6 months with the device. The following renewal will receive a discount based on the driving data from the first 6 months. The discount goes UP TO 30%. Many agents (not just Allstate) are more concerned with the short term business on the books and will do just about anything to keep it on, even if it means irate customers in 6 months to a year. Sorry for your bad experience!

    • J, so when do we unplug the gadget n are done with it? i was told 6 months.
      that said i’ll send it back after 6 months, which she said to keep it till then. two days ago i got 3 extreme braking in my driveway, in reverse, all in one minute n one minute before turning the key off when i stopped. 10.5 to 0, 11 to 0, 13 to 0. it was pretty much ice under snow. i have to drive up my drive, turn to the left, then back up a grade to park. it spins a little every time i back in. i’m down to 11% now because of it. i hate the gadget…..

  46. Appreciate this thread. I’ve been with Allstate a few years and was just told today about Drivewise. My premium has just gone down. I’ll definitely use this device to save a few bucks. Not concerned about the privacy stuff. More interested in whatever savings. I appreciate the opportunity to read everyone’s thoughts.

  47. Must have missed the 6 month drivewise concraption usage period, so thank you for that, what a relief! I thought it was for a year. I don’t like it, I find myself wanting to make As, why, to save money and add to my driving stress? No, all wrong–I love driving why should I feel so controlled? Spring and summer is coming, I’m anticipating long trips, I have to stress over how I drive all those long miles, why is it bothering me so much? It’s getting to me, even commenting on my BF’s driving, -comments like that would have been a hard braking event, when it was necessary to avoid other careless drivers that squeeze and rush in w/o signaling, errrr.

    • Susan, you can keep it forever if you want, do not unplug it before the six months. wait till you get your new policy n see what you get. no one knows exactly how it works yet. after your six months you keep the % you earned the first six months.
      drivewise doesnt understand other drivers cutting you off n crap like that.. they dont understand if you leave that perfect distance between your car n the car in front of you SOMEONE WILL GO THERE. usually a no turn signal right turn..

  48. I have been on the drive wise program for about 4&1/2 months. My discount projection was estimated at 15% until I had to make a long trip for a funeral. The trip was about 875 miles one way. My braking and speed have always been rated A+ and my time of day between B+ & A-. I have driven well over 1 million miles in my life time without causing an accident. I guess that genuine experience doesn’t count for anything.
    My wife is constantly downgraded because she does all of her driving during the morning and evening rush hours.

  49. Out of 600 miles I’ve driven 0.7 over 80 and my speed is a B-. What a joke.

  50. Drive wise got me very angry too. I have been a safe driver for a long time, no accidents or tickets ever. I kee pa safe distance between me and the drivers, keep near the limit, and follow defensive driver techniques . GUess what, Im a BAD driver and get 0.00! Why, because I drive sometimes at night, and hit the brakes. Am I expected to slam into the driver in front of me in stop and go traffic?

    • I am just curious to what discounts people have received. My husband who works afternoons of course is knocked down on his grade for having a job dammit. The things we do so we can pay these assholes…lol!!! His average grade is a B and our discount is 7%. From the day we signed up it never moved from 7%. That is what it started at. You would think since they so call claim up to 30% that it would start there. Not so much. So just curious what other’s overall grade was and the discount.

      • Tina,,,,, if it started at 7% call n complain. it is supposed to start at 30%.
        dont call your agent, call drivewise first.
        i’m at 11%
        my 6 months is up on 20 april.. i’ll know more then about %’s n what happens after..
        i has several weather related extreme brakings, they took off all but two but did not give my %’s back.

      • Tina, Did they tell you about the online policy? its 10%. its not online billing, just your policy. ask your agent about it.

        • Ken,

          Our policy renewed and it went up for what reason I don’t know. Still working on an explanation of that. However the discount was 7% it never changed. Now this new 6 month period it started at 10% and is still at 10%. Still trying to figure out though how my policy went up without any changes except for their 3% difference which should not result in the monthly payment going up $24. The entire 10% discount was only like 35 bucks so now with a 7% discount my rates went up $24 a month. Allstate is ridiculous. My husbands final overall grade was a C because god forbid he work afternoons and drive home after 11pm. Allstate encourages people to A – not work or B not drive ever. If you do just make sure you run every light as to not have a breaking incident…lol!!!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] you’re getting a discount, but it’s really a way for them to jack up their premiums. Club Thrifty wrote a post a while ago about a similar program by Allstate. Skeevy […]

  2. […] because you might just be surprised at the ways you can save.  I also recently wrote about the Allstate Drivewise program as well, which gives discounts to customers willing to put a monitoring device in their […]

  3. […] for with your budget is what your cost will be for car insurance. While there are programs like Allstate Drivewise, you want to make sure you shop around to get the best rate […]

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