+++ Allstate Drive Wise: My Thoughts and Opinions on Driving Safe

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Allstate Drive Wise

So about a month ago we decided to switch back to Allstate for our auto insurance needs, as the projected price savings was substantial!  I then discover that this price savings comes with a bit a of a catch, we will need to connect a Drive Wise device to 3 of the 4 cars, which will monitor our driving habits!  This program is called Allstate Drive Wise.

Wait, what?

Yup that’s right, we will have the equivalent of a error code reader or Scan Gauge II connected to our ODB II ports on the vehicles.  So I am going to report my findings in the near future, but this seems a little overkill to me.  In my mind, if you drive like an asshole but have no accidents or tickets, I’d say damn, you must be a good driver, right?  In the literature and on the website, it says the following:

Low mileage: Drive less than 25-30 miles per day to be more likely to save.
Safe speed: Avoid high speeds
Safe hours: Skip the late night trips
Safe stops: Don’t follow the car in front of you too closely and avoid hard stops.

Ok I am going to pick apart the above a bit and make some assumptions as well, to give you an idea of what I think this means.

An ODB-II reader can read many different things on your car, such as your speed, throttle position and even your water temperature, among other things.

So here some the assumptions: firstly, this thing has to have a cellular connection, how else would it send data to Allstate Drive Wise IMEIAllstate, and to prove this to be true I found an IMEI number on the back.  Those who don’t know an IMEI number stands for International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, and every mobile phone has one!

Ok so what?  You know what my cell phone has as well as an IMEI number, a GPS locator!  So in theory this cute little blue device, could also track my location.  Again assumption, but what would stop these companies from doing this.

If you’ve ever used a car GPS unit, you can see your speed as well as the posted speed limit on the screen in most locations.  And now they can figure out where and how often you speed.  Which could directly affect the insurance rate you are charged.

Another issue I see with this is “safe stops.”  From what I’ve read on the inter-web, the only way I can see this calculated is by taking your current speed and how quickly it drops, i.e. slamming on the brakes.  The reason I think this is because, most ODB-II readers can’t see if your brake is pressed or how hard, again another assumption but very likely.

Here’s the kicker, did you notice above how these need to be installed on 3/4 cars we own?  Yes that’s right, we own 4 cars, two are our daily drivers, one for winter driving (Jeep) and one for sale.  As you may know I own a Prius, guess which car doesn’t need one of these things?  Yup, mine!  I know what you are thinking, those Prius drivers, drive like idiots, while I somewhat agree with that statement, I am not one of those idiots (drivers).

So here is how it works.

Allstate gathers all this data, and uses three indicators to judge if you are a “safe” driver:

Time of day.
Speed.
Braking.

Then they use this data to calculate your insurance rate discount, up to 30%.

In my opinion, while the Drive Wise device is out if site out of mind device, there is one very easy way to avoid being judged as an unsafe driver (and they are all the same, mostly!).

If you plan on driving in a moderate or high risk time period:
Unplug the damn thing before you turn on your car.

Going out for a late night snack?
Unplug the damn thing before you turn on your car.

If you plan on doing some drag racing:
Unplug the damn thing before you turn on your car.

If you plan on braking hard:
If it’s not a person/animal, etc, hit it, your covered by insurance, right?

I thought that last one was funny..

 

Do you have the Allstate Drive Wise device?  If so, I’d love to hear your experiences, discounts, penalties, etc.  Leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

[Update]  Check out my data and grades from the Drive Wise Program, with pictures!

[Update 2]  Allstate knows when the Drive Wise is not connected!  I suspected that the Drive Wise was causing drain on the battery of the Malibu I have for sale (I found it completely dead) so I unplugged it.  Within two days I got an email from Allstate, telling me it may be “loose” and to check the connection.  So, just an FYI-

[Update 3]  I received a Facebook message from an Allstate representative a couple months ago, she was nice enough to include some juicy data on how the Allstate Drive Wise works and clear up some of the questions I had above, here is what she sent.

I’ve been trying to post to your blog to let you know some cool stuff about Drive Wise but it will NOT let me, no matter what I try, so I will repost here and hope that you see it since we are not friends and this message will likely end up in your “other” inbox that no one seems to know about…

I wanted to clear some things up for you… Hard braking is defined as the speed of the vehicle dropping by 8 mph in 1 second. Extreme braking is dropping 10 mph + in 1 second. Your Prius doesn’t have a Drive Wise because electric, hybrid, and diesel pre 2006 are not compatible with the Drive Wise devices.

Also, you said you didn’t know the limits for miles, so…
10K or lower – lower the miles lower the risk (but if you do NOT drive your car once a week or if your battery is dead, you will not get a reading and will likely be kicked off the program) This is why Drive Wise is NOT good for older people who never drive their cars…
12-15K – moderate benefit,
15K – small benefit,
18K + NO DISCOUNT

And that is THE most important part of Drive Wise. You can do everything else perfectly and drive 20K miles a year and you will not get a discount of any kind. Hope I helped

Formatting and emphasis mine.

So basically the Drive Wise device does track your speed, and gets triggered by how quickly it drops and I would assume it also sees how quickly it increases!  Also be sure to take a look at those yearly mileage numbers, as the rep stated “that is THE most important part of Drive Wise.”

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Dave Wigstone
This article was written by Dave Wigstone

Dave is a Senior Web Application Developer and Online Marketing specialist for multiple eCommerce retailer divisions. He specializes in Technical, Mobile and International SEO as well as website development with PHP, SQL, HTML, & CSS. He is also Google Analytics, AdWords and Shopping certified. Dave has had a passion for technology for more than 10 years. Follow him on Twitter: @davewigstone. Connect on LinkedIn

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