Telematics! What is it? Do I want it?

June 14, 2021

Tele who? Tele what?

Telematics is just a fancy term for the technology of using telecommunication devices such as satellites and GPS to send, receive or store telemetry data. Vehicle telematics is a method of monitoring a car, or truck by either using a smartphone with GPS or the onboard diagnostics by plugging a device directly into your vehicle’s diagnostic port (OBD port) to record movements. The telematics data captured can include location, speed, idling time, harsh acceleration, braking, fuel consumption, and more.

What are your Telematics options? And why consider it?

Safeco offers RightTrack a mobile app program.

How it works. You ask your Safeco agent to sign you up on your auto policy. You will then receive a request to agree to the enrollment and a link to download the RightTrack app onto your smartphone. Once you have registered you will receive an immediate 10% participation discount on your auto policy. The real benefit is that you have the opportunity to earn up to a 30% permanent discount. The app then measures and considers your total mileage, acceleration, hard braking, and nighttime driving. During the entire 90 days of participation, you are able to log in to the RightTrack dashboard and see what discount you are on track to earn. The total miles driven during the 90 days must exceed 125 miles to be eligible for a discount. After the 90 days are completed RightTrack averages the discount between all drivers and sends the final discount percentage to Safeco. The discount is then automatically applied to your policy and you can delete the App. Safeco cannot penalize you for poor driving and in the very worst case, you are guaranteed to receive a  5% permanent discount for having participated in the program. The end result is a final discount between 5% and 30% that permanently remains on the policy.

A common question asked if what if I was a passenger and not the driver and the App thinks I was driving?  The app will ask if you were driving and gives you a week to edit whether you were driving


Nationwide offers SmartRide as their mobile app Telematics plan. This plan is very similar to Safeco’s. You also download the SmartRide app to all driver’s smartphones. You then activate the free app and complete a trip and confirm you were the driver to start your 85 days of participation. You will then be able to see a dashboard in the app that shows the discount you are on track to earn.

Nationwide applies a 10% participation discount for the entire first policy term which is typically 12 months. By participating you are given the opportunity to earn up to a 40% discount.  Each driver earns a discount during the 85 days which is then averaged between all drivers for a final discount. That final averaged discount is applied at the next renewal. The app measures mileage, nighttime driving, idle time, hard braking, and rapid acceleration. Nationwide is indicating that the average discount earned by their customers is 21%.

Nationwide also offers SmartMile which is their Pay-Per-Mile Program and similar to the Metromile

With SmartMile you would need to plug in the telematics device(s) that Nationwide sends you into all of your vehicle’s diagnostic ports (OBD-II port)

The device(s) monitor miles driven so that if you exceed the estimated miles in a month your monthly charge will vary. If you are taking a road trip, only the first 250 miles count on a single day.

You will also be able to earn up to a 10% discount for safe driving behaviors.  Some of the same factors are used to determine the safe driving discount such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, nighttime driving, and # of stops on each trip are all considered. That earned discount is then applied at the next renewal.

You will be able to log into the SmartMile portal  at any time to see how you are doing.

OBD Port Location (With Pictures!)

Progressive’s Snapshot plan includes a 5% participation discount. You can earn up to a 30% discount. However, keep in mind Progressive can penalize you for poor driving behaviors and increase your rates.

If you are interested in starting any of these insurance plans then please give me a call so we can take a few minutes to complete the application. To start a policy we would need to process your 1st payment and set up the billing