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What is telematics in car insurance?

Telematics-powered auto insurance is a form of policy in which insurance companies rely on in-car tracking devices to monitor your driving habits and tendencies. These devices track your vehicle's speed, mileage, total driving time and other factors to help determine the policyholder's car insurance premiums. These usage-based insurance policies usually come with a mobile app to help you easily access real-time data relevant to your rate. 

telematics

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Pros of telematics in auto insurance:
  • Good drivers can receive cheaper rates based on their safe driving habits via usage-based insurance (UBI).
  • Usage-based plans partially circumvent the potential unfairness of auto insurers pricing quotes based on non-driving factors like credit score or location by taking into consideration relevant driving-related data.
  • You may be incentivized to use your car less frequently, alleviating wear and tear, helping the environment, and reducing the likelihood of a collision. 
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Cons of telematics in auto insurance:
  • Drivers with long commutes may not enjoy the benefit of lower rates from usage-based insurance.
  • If your schedule requires you to drive at night, you could face higher-than-expected insurance rates. 

Still weighing the benefits and drawbacks of a telematics-powered plan? Consult our telematics discount decision tree.


Best telematics insurance programs

Below we take an in-depth look at usage-based car insurance, reviewing the telematics programs of popular insurance companies and listing typical usage-based insurance rate savings on a state-by-state basis

Popular telematics auto insurance programs:

Progressive Snapshot

Progressive’s Snapshot telematics program is relatively typical among major insurers. Progressive uses a telematics device to monitor the times of day you drive, sudden changes in speed — like hard braking or rapid acceleration — and your mileage to better predict your driving habits and create your premium. You’ll need to have this telematics data device in your vehicle for one standard six-month policy period before the collected data can revise your insurance premium. According to our study (full methodology), a good driver can save an average of $57 every six months by using Snapshot.

 

Progressive
Progressive Snapshot telematics program: average six-month rates
Average Premium Average Premium with Snapshot
$809 $752

If your initial telematics testing shows any risky tendencies on the road, your premium could increase. Find more information relating to Progressive, including how to find a quote, in The Zebra's review of Progressive.

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Where is Progressive Snapshot available?

Progressive Snapshot is currently available in the following states:

AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

Learn more about how Progressive Snapshot varies in different U.S. states.


Allstate Drivewise

Allstate’s primary telematics program — called Drivewise — provides personalized driving feedback after each drive, as well as discounts for safe driving. Upon signing up for Allstate Drivewise, you receive 3% cashback (presumably on your premium going forward). Within the app, you can see your last 100 trips, your rewards, and your driving behavior breakdown. Drivewise car insurance premiums are calculated based on a few data points: your “safe speed” — under 80 miles per hour — safe braking — minimal abrupt stops — and time of day. You can participate in the Drivewise program without having an Allstate car insurance policy. Within the app, you’re able to select “non-customer" to view your telematics-generated driving data.

Allstate
Allstate Drivewise telematics program: average six-month rates
Average Premium Average Premium with Drivewise
$1,011 $996

Allstate Milewise

A newer addition to Allstate’s telematics offerings, the company’s Milewise program is designed to offer savings to low-mileage drivers. Unlike most other types of car insurance, this pay-per-mile program sets a daily rate and allows you to pay for every mile that you drive, as tracked by a plug-in device.

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Where is Allstate Milewise available?

Allstate Milewise is currently available in the following states: 

AZ, DC, DE, FL, ID, IL, IN, MD, MA, NJ, OH, OR, PA, TX, VA, WA, WV

For more information, consult our full review of Allstate insurance.


Farmers Signal

Signal uses a smartphone app to measure your driving behavior. Factors like hard braking, excessive speeding, time of day and mileage driven determine your discount. Farmers claims policyholders can earn a 5% discount on their premium by enrolling, with a discount of up to 15% when it comes time to renew the policy. Young drivers under the age of 25 could also be eligible for a 10% discount.

Farmers
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Where is Farmers Signal available?

The Farmers Signal telematics program is currently available in the following states: 

AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

Farmers FairMile

FairMile is Farmer's newest telematics program designed with business owners in mind.  Available in Washington, FairMile is a usage-based program like many others, but is uniquely dedicated to the small business community and those who drive vehicles intended for business use. With this program, premiums are based on miles driven in each business vehicle insured by a Farmers commercial auto policy. Each month, premiums are adjusted to reflect actual miles driven compared to the mileage amount estimated at inception. The FairMile program includes a smartphone app and plug-in device for each business vehicle. This program is best for small businesses with seasonal or cyclical activity, like florists and landscapers, or for businesses where driving is infrequent.

Learn more about Farmers by reading our review.


Esurance DriveSense

Esurance provides an immediate discount to its DriveSense users: 10% off premiums going forward. Esurance uses the same data as other companies to generate your new premium, including speed, braking, mileage, and time of day. As with Progressive’s SnapShot program, your costs may fluctuate each policy period as your driving changes. The more safely you drive while using telematics technology, the lower your premium will be. Esurance doesn’t advertise an annual rate of savings.

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Where is Esurance DriveSense available?

Esurance DriveSense telematics program is currently available in the following states:

AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, GA, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV

See our review and get an Esurance quote.


Nationwide SmartRide

Nationwide's SmartRide telematics program provides an immediate 10% discount at signup. After your next policy renewal, your premium will be calculated based on how safely you drive. While the amount you'll save may vary based on your driving data, the discount maxes out at 40%. You'll need to download the Nationwide SmartRide app or have a compatible telematics box in your vehicle to be eligible for a discount. Unlike some other telematics-powered insurance programs, SmartRide uses idle time to calculate your premium, in addition to nighttime driving, hard braking and acceleration, and mileage. Nationwide considers idle time — time spent stopped in traffic — an indicator of risk that could dent your discount.

Nationwide
Nationwide SmartRide telematics program: average six-month rates
Average Premium Average Premium with SmartRide
$714 $696

Nationwide Smartmiles

Designed for low mileage drivers, Smartmiles is Nationwide's pay-per-mile program. Much like other mileage-based telematics car insurance, your premium is made up of a base rate and a variable rate (the cost per mile), so what you pay month-to-month can vary depending on your driving habits.

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Where are Nationwide SmartRide and Smartmiles available?

Nationwide SmartRide is currently available in the following states:

AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

 

Nationwide Smartmiles is currently available in these states:

AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NM, NV, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

 

See our review of Nationwide and get a quote.


Liberty Mutual RightTrack

Liberty Mutual’s telematics program, RightTrack, uses a plugin device that you need to install 30 days prior to the start of your next policy. After 90 days, your safe driving “score” is determined using the data collected by the app. Liberty Mutual advertises telematics savings of between 5% to 30% on your policy for safe drivers. Like other policies, RightTrack monitors your braking, acceleration, nighttime driving, and how many miles you drive.

RightTrack uses a plug-in telematics box, shipped to you with specific instructions. Liberty Mutual also offers "tag" and "mobile" RightTrack options for those in locations where the plug-in box is not authorized. 

Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual RightTrack telematics program: typical six-month rates
Average Premium Average Premium with RightTrack
$640 $448 to $608
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Where is Liberty Mutual RightTrack available?

The RightTrack telematics plug-in is available in the following states: 

DC, FL, IL, MA, MO, NJ, NV, NY, RI, SC, VA

 

Alternatively, the RightTrack tag is an option in these states: 

AL, AZ, CT, IN, MI, NH, NM, OK, OR, PA, TX

 

The RightTrack mobile option is available in a slightly wider range of locations:

AR, CO, DE, GA, IA, ID, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MN, MS, NE, OH, TN, WI, UT, VT, WV

 

See our review of Liberty Mutual and get a quote.


State Farm Drive Safe & Save

State Farm’s telematics program — Drive Safe & Save — uses either your OnStar device or a mobile device (paired with a Bluetooth device provided by State Farm) to calculate your premium. State Farm’s program weighs mileage more heavily than other driving characteristics, although those are still taken into consideration.

State Farm advertises savings of up to 50% through its Drive Safe & Save program. However, with its emphasis on low-mileage driving, State Farm telematics may not be a good fit for drivers covering more than 7,500 miles per year.

State Farm Drive Safe and Save
State Farm Drive Safe & Save telematics program: average six-month premiums
Average Premium Average Premium with Drive Safe & Save
$647 $608
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Where is State Farm Drive Safe & Save available?

State Farm's Drive Safe & Save is currently available in the following states: 

AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

 

Learn more about State Farm by reading our review.


GEICO DriveEasy

GEICO DriveEasy uses your smartphone to help you become a better driver. To participate, download and log into the DriveEasy app. The app uses your phone’s sensors and GPS location to collect information about driving habits such as hard braking, speeding, and phone use while driving.

Other factors — like the time of day at which you drive and your overall mileage — are counted as well. The app’s movement-tracking technology can even determine whether or not you are the driver or a passenger. With the collected data, GEICO will give you an overall driving score and tips to help you improve your driving.

GEICO
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Where is GEICO DriveEasy available?

GEICO DriveEasy is currently available in the following states: 

AZ, CO, CT, FL, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, NJ, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, VA, WI 


USAA SafePilot

USAA's telematics program encourages safe driving habits by awarding a discount based on a driving score, which is calculated by a smartphone app. SmartPilot factors in things like location, time of day, harsh braking, and how often you use your mobile device while driving. If multiple drivers are on the insurance policy, the discount will be based on the average behaviors of all listed drivers.

A 5% discount is offered for enrolling in USAA's SafePilot telematics program. The discount calculated using your driving data will be applied when the policy is up for renewal. SafePilot was initially made available in only a handful of states, but USAA has prioritized its rollout in the "majority" of U.S. states, beginning in 2021. 

USAA
USAA SafePilot telematics program: average six-month rate comparison
Average Premium Average Premium with SafePilot
$545 $537
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Where is USAA SafePilot available?

USAA SafePilot is currently available in the following states: 

AL, AR, AZ, IA, ID, KY, MD, MO, MT, NM, OH, TN, TX, VA, SD, OR

 

Learn more in our review of USAA.


Metromile per-mile insurance

Metromile offers a unique form of car insurance. While it still uses telematics and belongs in the family of usage-based car insurance, it’s closer to pay-as-you-go or pay-per-mile car insurance. Metromile assigns you a base rate and calculates any additional premiums based on how many miles you drive. If your base rate is $29 and you drive 450 miles in a month at $0.06 per mile, your monthly rate would be $56.

Metromile
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Where is Metromile per-mile available?

Metromile per-mile is available in the following states: 

AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA 

 

While driving less can help you save more with Metromile, traditional rating factors such as your vehicle type, age, driving history and credit score are utilized as well. 

Have more questions? Read our full review of Metromile to find out about their policies.


Noblr car insurance

Another telematics-driven option for auto insurance is Noblr, which calculates part of your premium based on driving data collected by a smartphone app. Your total premium is the sum of two rates — a fixed monthly rate, determined by some of the usual rating factors insurers use, like your age, location, and vehicle, and a monthly variable rate, which is provided by the app.

The Noblr app measures how safe of a driver you are by scoring your driving abilities using these metrics:

  • Smoothness: the nature of your braking, acceleration and cornering
  • Focus: how you use your phone while driving
  • Road choice: using highways over local roads is considered to be safer
  • Time of day: driving at night is riskier than driving during the day
  • Mileage: how far you drive
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Where is Noblr car insurance available?

Noblr is currently available in the following states:

AZ, CO, LA, MD, NM, OH, PA, TX

 

Need more details?  See our comprehensive review of Noblr.


American Family MilesMyWay

American Family Insurance telematics program is called MilesMyWay. This is a unique, pay-as-you-drive program that rewards drivers for driving less; it is mileage-based but with a twist. Drivers are not penalized for driving more, just rewarded for driving less. The goal is to drive less than 8,000 miles per year or 667 miles per month. Policyholders can save up to 25% of their monthly premiums. The main difference between MilesMyWay and other mileage-based programs is that policyholders know the maximum amount they will be responsible for paying every month. Rewards accrued by app usage lower premiums based on the miles driven. Mileage is measured by a smartphone app and a small dashboard device you connect via Bluetooth. 

KnowYourDrive is American Family’s original telematics program. This usage-based program is also used with a smartphone app, but rather than tracking mileage, the telematics measure the safety of your driving. By downloading the app, American Family offers a 10% discount just for signing up. The app tracks your driving behaviors, giving larger discounts for safe drivers and fluctuating based on behaviors like frequent hard acceleration or braking, late-night trips, and distracted driving. Your premium will never increase due to participation in KnowYourDrive, and the discount is applied at the time of renewal.

American Family Insurance
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Where are MilesMyWay and KnowYourDrive available?

American Family MilesMyWay is currently available in the following states: 

AZ, CO, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, ND, OH, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI

 

American Family KnowYourDrive is available in the following states, as well: 

AZ, CO, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, ND, OH, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI

 

Learn more about American Family Insurance by reading our review


Is telematics car insurance worth it?


This is a tricky question. Participation in most car insurance telematics programs is free — including the use of the tracking device. If you’re considering participation in a telematics program, the big question is: will my car insurance be cheaper without telematics? That comes down to whether you drive safely or not.

On the other hand, telematics can prevent you from being penalized by rating factors that are out of your hands. Or example, if you're a young driver with poor credit, you'll pay a lot for car insurance by default. Telematics — along with your good driving — may help you overcome these rating factors to receive a more favorable rate.

The discounts offered by insurance companies depend on their calculations and your driving performance. If you find you’re still paying too much for car insurance even with telematics, you might be with the wrong company. It's a good idea to reassess your car insurance situation once every six months. Enter your ZIP code below to see how much you could save.

Seeing the benefits of telematics really comes down to whether you drive safely or not.

See rates from top insurance companies quickly and easily today.

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Typical telematics auto insurance discounts by state

State Annual Discount w/ Telematics
Alabama $60
Alaska $25
Arizona $94
Arkansas $50
California $0
Colorado $16
Connecticut $96
Delaware $157
District of Columbia $15
Florida $107
Georgia $55
Hawaii $0
Idaho $10
Illinois $53
Indiana $27
Iowa $44
Kansas $53
Kentucky $64
Louisiana $118
Maine $25
Maryland $28
Massachusetts $20
Michigan $96
Minnesota $27
Mississippi $43
Missouri $48
Montana $49
Nebraska $35
Nevada $106
New Hampshire $38
New Jersey $59
New Mexico $44
New York $31
North Carolina $18
North Dakota $34
Ohio $34
Oklahoma $47
Oregon $49
Pennsylvania $64
Rhode Island $65
South Carolina $38
South Dakota $52
Tennessee $49
Texas $43
Utah $41
Vermont $40
Virginia $45
Washington $4
West Virginia $74
Wisconsin $35
Wyoming $0

RECENT QUESTIONS

Will I lose my accident free discount if I file a hit and run claim?

You will lose this discount and most likely your rates will be impacted if you file a claim. How much your rates will be impacted depends on the types of coverage you have and what coverage pays out to fix your car.
Aug 25, 2018 Elizabeth City, NC

Why didn't my insurance company give me a defensive driving discount for completing the course?

Discounts vary by company, state, and situation so there is no guarantee that a carrier will provide a discount just from completing the course. Because taking a defensive driving course costs money, you always want to check with your company to see if they offer a discount before wasting your money on something that won't provide any additional benefit on your rate.
Apr 8, 2016 Waterloo, IA

If I am buying car insurance and already have motorcycle insurance, will I be eligible for a prior insurance discount?

With the majority of companies, a prior insurance discount for auto coverage is based on being previously insured under an auto policy. Unfortunately, most companies won't consider an existing motorcycle policy to be sufficient to qualify for a continuous insurance discount.
Jun 6, 2017 Peoria, AZ

Can I pay for all my insurance policies at once?

Each policy would be separate. They would take out a different payment for each policy.
Sep 6, 2018 Dallas, TX

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.