By Jay Miller, Greensville
By now, you may have seen or heard one of the car insurance advertisements claiming to reduce your rates by up to 25 per cent. Does is sound too good to be true? I thought so and spent an evening learning more about this latest offer.
Here’s how it works. When you sign up, you’ll be given a black box to install in your vehicle. Inside is a GPS, an accelerometer and a cellphone. You connect it to your OBD port (onboard diagnostics), so 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this little black box sends data to the insurer. The GPS unit tells them exactly where the car is, and the accelerometer reveals whether you’re braking hard or flooring it. How bad could that be, after all you’re getting up to 25 per cent off, right?
Here are just three examples of what is wrong. There are more.
Your car is being tracked 24/7. They know where you are. They know where and when you go to the store, to work or to a friend’s house. If you’re comfortable with that, fine, but I’m not.
The data collected includes car VIN number, plus anything in the car’s computer. The data might reduce your rates, but it may also be available worldwide. Rest assured, you’ll be getting a lot of email scams and phone calls if your data is sold. You may even become a target for identity theft.
If you get into an accident and try to make a claim, the insurance company will already know whether you hit the brakes or were speeding. Since they have the all GPS data, a simple access to Google streetview will show them the posted speed.
While I’ve only shown three ways this is really, bad it’s up to you to decide if up to 25 per cent savings is worth the privacy you’re going to be giving up.