KPRC 2 Investigates: Can allowing companies to track your driving help lower your car insurance rates?

Car insurance rates are up and you probably know shopping around can save you money. But in addition to calling around you can also download an app to help you save. A fellow KPRC 2 employee did it and he shared his experience with us.

Car insurance rates are up and you probably know shopping around can save you money. But in addition to calling around you can also download an app to help you save. A fellow KPRC 2 employee did it and he shared his experience with us.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I have nothing to lose what the heck?’ And I did it!” said Charles Holmes.

Our KPRC 2 News crews put in a lot of miles every day driving from one story to the next. So when KPRC 2 photographer Charles Holmes told us about how he cut his insurance premiums, we had to check it out.

The company Credit Karma used its app on Holmes’ phone to track his driving for one month to find out if he qualifies for lower car insurance rates. Credit Karma is best known for giving free credit scores but the company also has something called Karma Drive.

“I just gave him permission to monitor my phone, my driving habits,” said Holmes.

Usage-based pricing

Rory Joyce, GM of Insurance with Credit Karma, says more companies are moving toward this “usage-based pricing.”

“How about like you pay for insurance based on your actual driving habits,” said Rory Joyce.

First, the company tracks how you drive.

“We’ll give you feedback on things like, are you doing too much hard braking? Are you accelerating too fast,” explains Joyce. “At the end of it, we’ll see if you can qualify for discounts with top insurers.”

Karma Drive then takes your driving results and shops for the best rate with Progressive. They currently do not check other carriers’ plans but are working to expand in the coming months. They say 80% of drivers who try it qualify for cheaper rates.

You may be able to save money on car insurance by letting companies monitor your driving. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Driver tracking results

BEFORE: Holmes was paying State Farm $1,582.95 for six months of full coverage insurance for two vehicles with a $1,000 deductible.

AFTER: Under the Progressive policy Karma Drive found he got a six-month policy for $1,000. But Progressive required a $250 down payment. Total, it’s a savings of more than $55 a month.

His deductible did double to $1,999 and Holmes says he can live with that.

But we also noticed some other coverage he gave up with the new Progressive policy. He has no car rental coverage, personal injury protection, or uninsured property protection.

More car insurance companies now track driving habits

We found several car insurance companies that use real-time driver tracking to help set rate prices. Geico, Nationwide, State Farm, and Allstate all offer versions of tracking apps.

More companies track drivers to set insurance rates.

While your results could mean lower rates if you’re already a customer with some of the carriers, it could also make your rates go up. With Karma Drive, if the app shows your driving habits are not so hot no one needs to know.

“We only share your data when you say it’s okay. Your rate will never go up as a result of this,” explained Joyce.

Of course, everyone’s results will be different. This is just one place you can check you may not have known about.

Check for better car insurance rates at least once a year

Joyce explains several reasons you should check your car insurance rates once a year. Violations could now be off your record. Also, inflation, gas prices, and repair costs are going up, so considering a change now could save you in the long run.

Click here to download the Karma Drive app.


About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.