Allstate Drivewise and other ODBII port insurance devices

Find out what others are paying for insurance on the Kizashi. Let members know what kind of financing and insurance rates they can expect to see.
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KuroNekko
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:08 pm
Location: California, USA

So roughly 6 months ago, I got a new insurance policy with Allstate and in part of the discounts, I signed up for the Drivewise program. What is it? It's basically a program in which your driving is monitored via an electronic device and based on scores from the device, your insurance rates can be discounted. As a new sign-up, I was given 10% off my premium for joining. There is no detrimental effect in terms of bad scores raising premiums so I thought there was nothing to lose by trying it.

How it works: It's a small device that is like a USB dongle (but obviously bigger) that plugs into your OBDII port. It records your speed, braking, time of vehicle usage, and mileage (distance traveled) for an overall score. It works by using cell sites for cell phones in sending the data to their data center to collect info based on these parameters. You then get a grade for each parameter and an overall score.
They state very clearly that they do not track your movements or locations and the device has no GPS functionality for location info.
In addition to the benefit of the 10% discount for signing up, Allstate claims that you can save up to 30% by scoring well with the device.

My observations: It's utter bullshit in terms of a good discount device. Let me explain:
The device apparently grades you on a national average or on what they think should be a good score. It does not take into account where you live, what you do (like have a job), and how that would affect your driving situation.
For example, here are my scores for the last 6 months:
Mileage: C+
Braking: C-
Time of Day: C
Speed: A+
Overall: C-
Projected discount: 0.0% for next policy term.

It's laughable. First of all, any middle schooler can tell you an average of a C+, C-, C, and an A+ is not a fricking C-.

Let's talk about my C+ mileage score: I drive roughly 34 miles a day, 5 days a week for commuting to and from work. That's roughly 8840 miles a year just for commuting if I calculate for no vacations or holidays. The average American drives roughly 13,000 miles a year (including all uses like commuting and personal/leisure). I've owned my Kizashi for nearly two years now and put roughly 20,000 miles on it since then. I basically drive less than the national average yet my score is a puzzling C+. Okay...

C- for Braking: I cannot help braking (really though, nothing harsh) given I drive in and around a major city. Stop and go traffic is an unavoidable reality and I don't even brake that hard. It's just I brake more than some dude cruising around North Dakota for obvious reasons: more cars, more traffic, and more street lights. It's as if Drivewise punishes your score for braking at all. I really don't brake hard nor suddenly, but simply have to brake frequently due to city driving conditions and the pathetic way DC fails to synchronize green lights. You basically catch every red light at intersections. Not sure why Drivewise does not take this into account and see that braking frequently, instead of abruptly, is just indicative on an attentive driver in a city driving environment. Pathetic.

C for Time of Day: It's ridiculous that driving in hours during or around rush hour should work against your score. I even avoid driving in rush hour as my job is flexible and is performance-based and not so much on-the-clock. It's no 9 to 5 job. I also vehemently hate traffic and avoid it at all costs. Yet, it's not good enough for Drivewise and they gave me a C despite I'm not like many who don't have a choice and must drive in rush hour. Looks like Drivewise hates employed people who have regular hour jobs.

A+ for Speed: Honestly, what causes more accidents and kills more drivers than speeding compared to the other parameters? Other than distracted driving, speed is what causes accidents. I even scored an epic A+. No score can be higher. Not only do I watch my speed, anyone familiar with the DC area knows this place sucks for fun driving with the ridiculously slow speed limits (especially aggravating for someone from California like myself), abundant speed cameras, and boring roads you can't even enjoy. So I don't have much of a choice and drive rather slow. It shows with my score yet Drivewise thinks an A+ for Speed isn't good enough and gives me an Overall score of C-. WTF.

Honestly, this program is just a gimmick to have people sign up to insurance companies that offer it. I know Progressive offers this nonsense too. I would not be surprised if they score drivers similarly. Honestly, the scores are so ridiculously calculated that to get notable discounts you have to be basically a retired senior citizen who drives a few miles in the middle of the day to Bingo and back while under the speed limit at all times in a rural area with no traffic. Seriously, you get scored all the same, regardless of where you are and what you do. Nonsense.

My proof of this? Drivewise data is accessible when you sign up and log in. In fact, my scores for Braking, Speed, and Overall are among the highest percentage of those in the program. Basically, there are more people getting C- scores for Braking than any other score. They are more people getting A+ for Speed than any other score. There are more people getting C- Overall than any other score. This goes to show Drivewise can care less where you drive and everyone nationally are ranked the same. Your situation, not your driving, determines your score. This is why my scores are quite common among those in the program. You just can't help it much. Rather not fair if you work in a city yet are graded against retired grannies in the countryside.

As you expected, when I renewed my policy, I paid more this time since I got no discount whatsoever with this program. I also asked the Allstate rep on the phone to come get their piece of shit back. He tried to talk me into keeping it and me working on improving my score but I told him it was simply unrealistic. I stated that it was obvious to me that they scored everyone on some national average they cooked up and that very few people can score good enough on it for worthwhile savings. I told him the realities of my driving situation that I cannot change will keep me from any discount so I rather not have this gimmicky device. He then stated he'd let the Drivewise program know and they'll send a self-addressed envelope for me to mail it back. Good riddance.

So, I was wondering if anyone else has tried Allstate's Drivewise or another insurance company's OBDII-based device for insurance "savings". If so, what were your observations?
If you haven't tried it and actually enjoy driving or have a job, I suggest you treat this program and device like an email from Nigeria asking for some advance-fee in promise of future riches. The promises in both cases are bullshit but at least for this, there is some hope for the gullible elderly.

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2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS 6MT (Black)
murcod
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There are some companies over here advertising such devices and "discounts" linked to your driving. Personally, it just seems to be a gross invasion of privacy (ie. they're tracking you 24/7) and if that info got into the wrong hands it could be bad. eg. they know when you're not home...

I have to wonder - what if you had an accident and they deemed you were speeding? Would they use that evidence against you?
David
ragmopp01
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With the requirements you mention, I wonder what sort of score Weshoot2 would get if he was in this program...
~tc~
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Location: Houston, TX USA

KuroNekko wrote:A+ for Speed: Honestly, what causes more accidents and kills more drivers than speeding compared to the other parameters? Other than distracted driving, speed is what causes accidents. I even scored an epic A+. No score can be higher. Not only do I watch my speed, anyone familiar with the DC area knows this place sucks for fun driving with the ridiculously slow speed limits (especially aggravating for someone from California like myself), abundant speed cameras, and boring roads you can't even enjoy. So I don't have much of a choice and drive rather slow. It shows with my score yet Drivewise thinks an A+ for Speed isn't good enough and gives me an Overall score of C-. WTF.
Bullshit. Speed has little to do with accidents, especially if the device doesn't know your location and what the speed limit is there or the traffic patterns.

Distracted driving, following too closely, in attention to one's surroundings - that's what causes accidents, not some arbitrary limit generally put I place and enforced for revenue generation.
2011 Sport SLS with nav Black Pearl Metallic
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KuroNekko
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Location: California, USA

~tc~ wrote:
KuroNekko wrote:A+ for Speed: Honestly, what causes more accidents and kills more drivers than speeding compared to the other parameters? Other than distracted driving, speed is what causes accidents. I even scored an epic A+. No score can be higher. Not only do I watch my speed, anyone familiar with the DC area knows this place sucks for fun driving with the ridiculously slow speed limits (especially aggravating for someone from California like myself), abundant speed cameras, and boring roads you can't even enjoy. So I don't have much of a choice and drive rather slow. It shows with my score yet Drivewise thinks an A+ for Speed isn't good enough and gives me an Overall score of C-. WTF.
Bullshit. Speed has little to do with accidents, especially if the device doesn't know your location and what the speed limit is there or the traffic patterns.

Distracted driving, following too closely, in attention to one's surroundings - that's what causes accidents, not some arbitrary limit generally put I place and enforced for revenue generation.
Speed does cause accidents and the "laws" one should worry about aren't so much jurisprudence but the laws of physics. While I agree that high speeds aren't always necessarily dangerous as that depends on location and conditions, the faster you go increases your chances of an accident because it contributes to factors such as loss of traction and increased stopping distance.
This should be simply common sense, but you can watch what going too fast looks like:

Exhibit A: Excessive speed causes a BMW to understeer off of a cliff.

[youtube][/youtube]



Exhibit B: Excessive speed causes centrifugal force on a motorcycle that pulls it into oncoming traffic and off the road.

[youtube][/youtube]



Exhibit C: How speed affects stopping distance.

[youtube][/youtube]



Lastly, the famous 55 MPH speed limit on highways found all across the US had nothing to do with safety nor revenue generation. The history and outcome of this is actually famous among those who study Public Policy.
The 55 MPH speed limit was actually created as a response to the 1973 Oil Embargo. The government calculated that national oil consumption could be reduced if the law required lower speeds hence the law was passed by Nixon. An unintended outcome was that motor vehicle fatality rates also dropped considerably.
This is why many highways are still 55 MPH.

Let's also not forget millions of people have died in motor vehicle accidents long before cell phones were even invented to distract us behind the wheel.
Sorry, but speed is a major contributor to accidents and motor vehicle death. It always has been and always will be. It's simply an incontrovertible truth.
2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS 6MT (Black)
~tc~
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No, speed by itself is not the cause. Look at the safety record for the unrestricted areas of the Autobahn - very low. Much lower than the restricted US interstates.

Inappropriate speed for the conditions or driver skill MAY be the cause. Speed differential (fast traffic and slow traffic on here same road) MAY be a cause. Bad, inattentive drivers is DEFINITELY a cause.

Speed limits are set for just about every factor OTHER than public safety, and I don't think anyone can argue they have not kept pace with automotive technological advancement.
2011 Sport SLS with nav Black Pearl Metallic
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Ronzuki
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This discussion could go on forever....bottom line for me is that it's all bullshit and a huge invasion of my privacy. Doesn't matter anyway...all vehicles will soon be monitored (it's the American way) as a must have for your 'safety'. Anything w/ a Sat radio/nav system in the dash already has the potential to be easily 'linked' to who knows where and monitored by who knows who (well, we all know the answer to that). Commercial drivers are already monitored, as well as reprimanded, by their employers in this exact fashion...in real-time. Can't wait for the automatic tickets to start showing up in the mail. Sold to the naïve masses under the guise of being a law enforcement 'cost saving' measure or the ever popular 'for your safety'.

Why anyone would voluntarily relinquish their privacy to yet another technological 'advancement' under the con of saving a few lousy bucks is beyond me. But hey, it seems to be the way of the current generation's way of 'living'. Data mining for future legal fodder to be used against you at a bare minimum. One day we'll all wake up and wonder where the f**k our freedom and way of life went.

Who was it that suggested political comments didn't belong on an automotive forum? :roll:
Ron

2010 Kizashi GTS, CVT, iAWD (3/10 build date)
2011 SX4 Premium Hatch, CVT, iAWD (12/10 build date)
2018 Mazda CX-5 iAWD Touring
2014 Wrangler JKUW (GONE, traded :D :D )
1991 Samurai, 5-Speed, EFI, Soft-Top ( :| sold)
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KuroNekko
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Let me clear up a few things about this device:

It does not track location. It's not GPS-enabled so it cannot track your movements or locations precisely. While the use of cell sites can provide data regarding your general whereabouts, this kind of cell site location info is not very precise. Trust me on this. I regularly do cell site analysis for phone records for my job and do it more than anyone at my agency. I do the same kind of analysis the FBI does for cell phones and have done it hundreds of times. The data generated by cell sites is simply not accurate enough to track your precise location. It's as broad as a cell signal coverage area.

Also, the "Speed" parameter is not determined by your speed vs. posted speed limit. As someone already mentioned, it can't determine that unless it tracked your movement and knew where you were vs. the speed limit. However, it doesn't do that. How it tracks your "Speed" is it just see how often your drive over 80 MPH. The program info even clearly states this.
The DC area where I live is rather congested and the freeways aren't very conducive for high speed driving. Truth be told, I've never gone faster than 85 MPH in my Kizashi. This is why my "Speed" score in an A+. It's not that I always drive at or under the speed limit. It's just that I always keep it under 80 MPH.

The device is really for those who want to save money and don't mind their data being sent to the insurance company. I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea. They can't track you real time and can't determine your location. Though I saw no benefit from my driving conditions, it's feasible that others can save money by revealing their driving habit data.
I saved over $50 on my premium for just trying it out. Now, I'm simply returning it as it's of no benefit to me (and arguably, most drivers). I'm still glad I tried it to see what it would yield so I could determine that it was junk for me.

~tc~ wrote:No, speed by itself is not the cause. Look at the safety record for the unrestricted areas of the Autobahn - very low. Much lower than the restricted US interstates.

Inappropriate speed for the conditions or driver skill MAY be the cause. Speed differential (fast traffic and slow traffic on here same road) MAY be a cause. Bad, inattentive drivers is DEFINITELY a cause.

Speed limits are set for just about every factor OTHER than public safety, and I don't think anyone can argue they have not kept pace with automotive technological advancement.
The Autobahn is not really a good comparison. I'm well aware that it's safer despite some segments having no speed limit. However, keep into account that it's just one freeway and it's also not nearly as congested as American freeways. We simply have way more cars and way more drivers.

Also, the argument of advanced automotive technology compensating for safety is flawed. While cars are getting safer and more sophisticated, drivers are not. Technology is also making cars more powerful and faster than ever. For example, a 2014 base Ford Mustang with a V6 now makes more power than a top-trim Mustang GT with a V8 back in 2000. The V6 today makes 45 HP more than the V8 from 14 years ago.
So while factors like traction control, stability control, crumple zones, ultra high strength steel, etc. have contributed to better safety, the increase in power, acceleration, and speed also go to counteract overall safety.

This phenomenon is actually a focal point of the Nissan GT-R development. Nissan engineers have created a car that is so fast, it outperforms many supercars. The problem is that many customers are not professional race car drivers and will need assistance in controlling the car due to lack of experience and skill. This is why the GT-R is laden with technology that pretty much keeps the car in control. Nissan's chief engineers continuously discuss this as a focal point of GT-R development as they push the car to get faster and faster. They always say the car can get better, but the driver may not. Given the GT-R's motto is "Anyone, anytime, anywhere" by the GT-R's former chief engineer Mr. Mizuno, you can see how they dedicate more attention to their customers' needs than other performance cars. That approach did not end with Mizuno and the people in charge of the GT-R still share this philosophy.
At 2:30 in the video below, you can see a Nissan GT-R developer talk about this very issue:

[youtube][/youtube]


Basically, while technology has advanced and cars are safer than ever, drivers are not. In fact, probably worse due to distractions from technology like smart phones, navigation screens, and stereo systems. For this reason, for one to claim that speed is still not as dangerous as the past is misguided. It should be common sense that crashing into something at 80 MPH while writing a text message is quite different from crashing into something at 55 MPH while writing a text message. The difference in speed can determine whether someone dies or not.
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~tc~
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I think everyone would have to agree its safer to drive 80 MPH in a Kizashi than, say 55 in a '73, well, anything, in terms of handling, braking, acceleration - accident avoidance, not just safety if the accident happens.
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Ronzuki
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KuroNekko wrote: Basically, while technology has advanced and cars are safer than ever, drivers are not. In fact, probably worse due to distractions from technology
Not only the distractions from the tech, but the fact that the tech is performing more and more of the thinking/learning aspects of driving. I'm talking real driving. tc hit the nail...people haven't learned to really 'drive' the machine unless they learned how to drive with one of those zero-tech 60s or 70s (or older) sleds. No power steering, no power brakes (and all 4 corners w/drum brakes to boot), absolutely abysmal handling, bias ply tires, heavy chasis', and a host of other dynamics. Anti-lock brakes were your right foot and your brain telling it to pump the peddle. The human brain learned all about those dynamics coming together in all weather conditions. One learned what speed, handling (lack of) and road conditions truly meant. You learned real quick the cars responses of 'don't do that, I won't like it and bad things will happen' (therefore, don't do it again). But then again, once you learned, it was a lot of fun to take a RWD car and make a turn by simply applying gobs of power to the rear wheels, that had absolutely no traction, and apply a tiny bit of steering. Simple physics. WESHOOT states he's been spending more time driving the Kiz with the car's traction 'puter quassi-disabled so he can use his own processor to experience and 'learn' how to really drive the car (as best as possible at least). Why? Because it's what driving really is.
Ron

2010 Kizashi GTS, CVT, iAWD (3/10 build date)
2011 SX4 Premium Hatch, CVT, iAWD (12/10 build date)
2018 Mazda CX-5 iAWD Touring
2014 Wrangler JKUW (GONE, traded :D :D )
1991 Samurai, 5-Speed, EFI, Soft-Top ( :| sold)
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