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The vast majority of insurance discounts are calculated using generic risk factors such as age, sex, and habits. With vehicle monitoring devices, the actual driver can earn discounts based on their individual habits and performance.
Allstate’s user-based insurance program, Drivewise, was introduced at the end of 2008. Allstate’s jump into the UBI market was an early one and has had some mixed reviews since.
The idea behind Drivewise is ‘the smarter you drive, the more you can earn’. As is the basis with most companies offering a similar program, the idea is for the customers’ premium to be based on individual and actual data rather than traditional rating factors alone.
Although there are still other factors that effect your premium, there is an opportunity for the consumer to lower their rates.
How it Works
Allstate’s Drivewise uses a small device that plugs into a car’s OBDII connector. (The same port that mechanics use to read diagnostics and system messages.) This information is then transferred back to Allstate via secure wireless transmissions and used to determine any discounts.
Allstate also offers their Drivewise App. The app uses telematics to transfer your driving data directly to Allstate. There is no need for a device to be installed into your vehicle, just an app on to your phone. The app can earn you a discount on your premium or can offer rewards that can be used to purchase items.
Those who use the Drivewise app are able to view the driving results right from their phone. For customers who do not have the app and use the program’s device, they can log into their Allstate web portal and see stats about their driving habits and how it is impacting their premium.
The device collects the following data points:
- Braking Intensity and Speed
- Miles Driven Over 80 MPH
- Total Miles
- Time of Driving
- 10pm-4am – High Risk
- 11am-10pm – Moderate Risk
- 4am – 11am – Low Risk
How Data is Used
When calculating premium discounts, Allstate uses the following factors:
- Braking Habits
- Time of Driving
Although Drivewise is available to anyone, those who are Allstate customers are likely to see more rewards. The program is available in many states but not all. In most cases, any vehicle that has and OBD port can plug in the Drivewise device and begin tracking. Alternatively the company’s app can be downloaded and installed straight to your smart phone free of charge for anyone.
To current Allstate customers, the program acts as an endorsement to your plan offering discounts and Allstate Rewards. For those who do not have active policies with Allstate, there is still a chance to rack up Allstate rewards with Drivewise.
For Allstate customers, simply signing up for the program, you’re likely to get a 10% enrollment discount off your major insurance coverage for the first billing cycle. This means the main parts of your policy, like collision and comprehensive receive a discount. Add-ons like roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement do not qualify.
The total savings could be up to 30%, but the odds of receiving 30% are quite slim. In fact, I found no reports of anyone actually getting the full 30% discount during my research. The average seemed to be about 10-15%.
In order to install the Drivewise device, the car must have an OBDII port, which nearly all vehicles built after 1995 have. The installation process is actually pretty easy, too. You simply plug it in, and the device does the rest.
If you are unclear where your OBDII port is, refer to this guide for help.
Despite its limitations, the Allstate Drivewise program should be considered by just about anyone who already has Allstate car insurance. There is no risk of your premiums going up, but you may be able to save a little. Even though the marketing material claims savings up to 30%, it appears most people can expect somewhere in the 10-15% range.
If you work from home or do not drive much, you’re likely to save more. However, for most, the majority of driving done is between the “moderate risk” hours of 10am and 11pm, therefore attaining the greatest discount is not very achievable.
It should be noted that there are dozens of reports of the Drivewise device causing major mechanical issues to people’s cars. A simple glance through the comments at the bottom of this review will show a number of people with this issue. Anyone noticing odd behavior after installing the device should remove it immediately and consult a mechanic.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.