I volunteered to plug into the matrix and use my smartphone to monitor my driving.
1. It's free money. Insurers offer a solid discount in exchange for the driving habits of those who participate.
2. They can't hold a poor driving skills against you. The rules around 'Telematics' DO NOT allow insurers to SURCHARGE if you're terrible. You just don't get offered any additional discounts next year...but you still get the free money THIS year.
3. I'm delusional about my own abilities behind the wheel and believe I may be the best driver on the planet. Plus this appeals to me as a placeholder for video games I no longer have time for.
4. I had questions about it, and before I recommended it to customers i wanted answers. Is it easy to use? Is it annoying? How do i enjoy the enjoy the experience? ALl this stuff.
When you decide to sign up, you need to choose a cell phone number to use with it.
*Consider the impact of this decision if you have a work phone/work vehicle... otherwise you may not be accurately reflecting the use of your own vehicle.
Download the app on your phone, and when the policy is completed you'll receive a text with instructions.
After you enter the text message's PIN into the app it logs you right in.
You will need to 'allow access to Location Services' so it can read the GPS of the device. I normally dislike ever 'clicking yes' on these but it's the entire point of this app.
Once I was into the app, I was hoping to take this for a test drive and see what it was all about.
What I learned was, there's really nothing left to be done. The experience is kind of a slow burn.
It starta tracking your driving in the first few trips once it calibrates, but takes 30 days of monitoring before it's able to guess at what discount you've earned.
The 4 purple circles on the bottom let you know how you did on each trip. If they're red, the app has detected an 'incident' and will factor that into your driving profile/discount.
You ARE able to EDIT and remove completed trips where you were not the driver. I liked this since it saves you from having to worry about constantly turning it on an off/on. Though I still do that because I'm way too into this.
I wasn't sure how to feel about the fact it shows you EXACTLY where you were when an incident is recorded. At first I thought it was cool use of tech but later I wondered if I'd have preferred not to know.
PRO: Transparency with the ability to recall what happened, and change the behavior going forward.
CON: Most people disagree with the penalty, or don't remember it happening which brings a bit of resentment towards anyone involved.
MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAY: 'Incidents' feel much more personal than I'd expected. That was surprising.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My wife and I both started using the apps concurrently on separate vehicles and not surprisingly it's become a serious competition to me.
Tale of the Tape
Her car is automatic, mine is a standard. - ADVANTAGE ME.
She commutes in stop & go traffic, I get to avoid that. - ALSO ADVANTAGE ME
She's not into driving at all , and really doesn't even know how serious I'm taking this friendly competition. - MAJOR ADVANTAGE FOR ME
Results at Day 61
At the end of the first I've got a 25% discount at renewal and she's sitting at 22%!
My reaction SHOULD have been "that's great!" but all I can think is that I'm driving around like I'm delivering landmines for 3%??
RECOMMENDATION: Use her approach of forgetting this is even a thing. *Also if anyone is interested in action on her covering the spread on this...leave me a comment.*
So far, I'm actually quite impressed with it.
We saved a few hundred dollars THIS year by using it, and am on track to get more next year at renewal.
1. Setup was easy, and the app hasn't hurt my battery life.
2. It's been surprisingly liberal about giving out 'incidents'.
(I was cut off by a snowplow and it didn't even register)
3. It hasn't really been a nuisance to monitor.
4. It has me actively thinking about driving safely.
It's probably not for everybody, but if you're on the fence and it suits your lifestyle I recommend giving it a whirl.
Take back your glovebox in 2019
Stop digging through the pile of napkins and receipts...only to find expired pink cards. Nova Scotia allows drivers to provide digital proof of insurance and it's available now.
and it's excellent.
Brokers who use MyProof can send you a secure email and in a few quick steps you'll have it on you wherever you go.
STEP 1 - Hop on your phone and open up that email.
STEP 2 - "CLICK TO DOWNLOAD AUTO INSURANCE CARD"
Which looks like this:
STEP 3 - "ADD" to wallet.
Adding the Proof of Insurance to your phone's 'digital wallet' let's you access it without an internet connection or cellphone signal.
It works just like a boarding pass...and if you haven't been brave enough to use one of those yet, let me take this moment to FULLY ENDORSE IT. You're missing out.
*For those not familiar a 'Digital Wallet' comes pre-installed on i-phones, and is available for download on your devices specific app store. Once you have a card in your wallet it stays there until you delete it.
The Digital Pink card does still have the year to year limitation, but it's a good reminder to take a look at your renewal with your broker and update it.
HERE'S A VIDEO THAT LETS YOU SEE IT IN ACTION.
The video mentions PRIVACY and LOCKING your phone when presenting your Pink Card. A valid point that needs addressing.
In order to feel comfortable passing your phone to a stranger you should activate what's called "Guided Access" on your device. It allows you to lock your screen within applications and restricts access to other parts of the device. It's handy for this exact reason, and also to let kids handle your phone without calling someone or buying something.
At the risk of becoming a tech-blog, here's a quick map for activating GUIDED ACCESS on i-phone and Android devices.
Believe it or not, allowing Electronic Proof of Auto Insurance was new in 2018.
What's more impressive is that Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to allow it.
Look at us!
I don't think the paper pink cards are going away anytime soon, but I'd like to think at least once...this comes in handy for someone at a police checkpoint.
Everyone loves 'fast and easy' when buying things.
The downside is that it doesn't always translate to
GET YOURSELF A ‘GO-TO' PERSON.
Ideally it's the same person each time because explaining myself multiple times to new people is a special kind of awful for me.
I find real value in ‘knowing someone to call'
when I have a problem...and with all else being equal I'll take service and relationship every time.
"Why yes. I'd love to hold. thanks."
A good broker should be able to work with you throughout a claim.
- Help with documentation and getting things started right.
- Retrieve answers when things aren’t moving quickly.
- Set expectations and explain things as they are happening.
- Keep an eye out for what's best for YOU on renewal and going forward.
'Lawyering up' right away on a denied claim and dealing with it all yourself can take years off your life mentally not to mention draining you financially.
Having an informed broker is like having Tom Brady available on the bench when you need him. He knows the game, calls the right plays and suddenly you've got people you've never heard of looking really good. (Danny Amendola is a restoration vendor in this metaphor.)
Last but not least.
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS.
Supporting small businesses feels good and creates local jobs.
Multinational Conglomerates are great... but if you can support someone in the community that'd be my preference.
Take some time to figure out if you’re supporting a local business owner. There are some great ones out there so when your policy renews find one who's interested in you and worthy of your business.
Matt Davison is a
Auto Insurance Rates Explained
Back To School
Home And Auto Insurance Advice
The Role Of A Broker