How Telematics Devices Affect Your Car Insurance

Sherry Lin
June 7, 2019

Cars can now do so much more than just get you from Point A to Point B. Many new cars in recent years come with technology that adds convenience and increases security for drivers, creating a new definition of “smart” cars. Since smartphones play such an important role in our lives, car manufacturers have figured out how to seamlessly incorporate the same functions into the vehicles using telematics.

Telematics outline how data captured from vehicles is transferred across different mediums, how the data is gathered, and how the intelligence is provided with it. Car telematics involve GPS and cellular tracking technology to send and receive data from the vehicle to a command center. Don’t worry, consent is needed for telematics and is required by many states, so you will always be aware of when data is being sent out. Here are some ways that telematics are used on a day-to-day basis:

Telematics and Car Insurance

Not only are telematics built into the car, insurance companies often have a telematics program to promote safe driving and give incentives to safe drivers. Companies like Progressive and Allstate provide external telematics tracking devices to record how fast you’re driving, how long you take to brake, how much you drive, and a variety of factors that provide insight into your driving behavior. The insurer analyzes the data to see if you are likely to cost them money on claims. For example, if you drive longer distances during rush hour, your insurance rate will be higher. If good driving habits are found, your auto insurance rate can be lowered, giving you incentive to drive safer. The data can also be used to recreate accidents to aid in determining who is at fault in a crash.

Telematics tracking devices raise concerns about consumer privacy mostly due to the location tracking feature. Although data about speed and miles driven makes sense in tracking driving behavior, many find the location arbitrary.  

Security Services

Vehicle collision notification and emergency services are the core telematics features found on all systems. When sensors are triggered in an accident, like airbag deployment, a vehicle collision notification sends an alert to a telematics command center. The operator can get into contact with car occupants via cellular signal and dispatch emergency-response personnel if needed. Your location can also be pinointed via gps tracking so the operator can let others know where you are, even in an isolated area. Drives can also push a button to request emergency services for events like severe weather or critical medical conditions.

In newer vehicles, telematics even assists you while you’re driving. The car can detect lane markings to help you stay within the lines if you’re driving above a certain speed. This feature is incredibly helpful while on the freeway and in areas with older roads. Additionally, sensors in the vehicle can predict how far away the car in front of you is in traffic and allows the car to drive itself under minimal supervision at a set speed. Without telematics, cars would not be able to send and receive the information needed for these features to work.


Ever locked your keys in the car? Some newer car models lets you remotely unlock/lock car doors even without your keys. There are sensors on the car handles that lets you unlock your car with just your finger if the keys are close by. Telematics also offer non emergency services to make life easier for drivers. They can help you find your car in a crowded parking lot, if you forgot where you parked, by flashing its lights and sounding the horn. You can even track your fuel efficiency to see what your consumption rate is!

Some models offer Android Auto and Apple Carplay to integrate your smartphone into the car’s entertainment system. The car can access the respective navigation applications from each app and stream music using your phone’s cellular network. It can also read and text messages out-loud for you using text-to-speech technology, allowing handsfree access so you don’t get a ticket. For Android Auto, you can even use Google assistant to help with system navigation, like changing music while using maps, while driving.

Smartphone Apps

Newer cars use telematics to link the car system to an app on your phone. You can keep track of a variety of things while away from your car and ease your mind. The app can unlock and lock your car no matter how far away you are as long as you’re connected to wifi or through data on your phone. You can also see where your car is with gps location to make sure it's right where you left it. The feature makes it easier to prevent auto theft and help you track down your car in case it gets stolen. Some apps allow you to check if your vehicle is secure. For example it can tell you if your windows, sunroof, rear trunk, and doors are properly closed. It tells you when your next service or oil change is  and even how full your tank is down to the percentage.

Without telematics, all the cool features that persuaded us to buy the car in the first place would not exist. Telematics can even help you save money on car insurance due to the safety features built into the vehicle and its ability to track driving behavior. If you’ve recently purchased a new car with these features or want to save more on your car insurance, check your insurance quotes with us to see which option is best for you!

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