Monday, May 29, 2006

Big Brother=Lower Insurance Rates

This is an interesting idea. I get frustrated with how much I'm paying in insurance. I only need insurance when I'm living with my parents in the summer. So I'm registered as an occasional driver since I only take the car out twice a week. Even though I'm 22, I have a Defence Driving Course from the Canadian Forces as well as Driver's Education, my parents gave me the rate of $177/month to insure me as an occasional driver! Anyway, I have no say in changing it, but it pisses me off why I have to pay so much! That's over $2000 per year! And plus, my parents aren't allowed to take me off insurance when I'm not home, I have to sign up for an entire year. So when I read this article this morning about someone watching you drive and rewarding good drivers, I was ready to say sign me up!

Volunteer to be watched:Having someone track your driving behaviour — how fast you go, how hard you jump on the brakes, and so on -- sounds like a Big Brother-type nightmare (unless you're the parent of a teenage driver, of course). But what if you monitored yourself and then sent the information to someone voluntarily? And what if it could save you money on your insurance rates? Easyway Insurance Brokers of Ontario, a large independent brokerage, has launched something it calls "Save As You Drive." All you do is install a device that tracks your driving behaviour, and then send the info it generates to Easyway.

"Good driving habits should be rewarded with lower car insurance rates," says John Belyea, the president of Easyway Insurance. "Unfortunately, the technology hasn't existed to allow drivers to prove their abilities - until now." The Easyway "smart meter" allows drivers to track their speed, the time of day, total mileage and whether they aggressively accelerate or brake. Drivers can review the data on their PC before submitting it and be eligible for a discount of up to 30% on their rates, and regardless of their driving, their rates won't go up.

Smart idea, right? Just think of how you could extend that to other things. How about health insurance that decreases if you agree to install cameras that record how long you sit on the couch eating chips and drinking beer? Or a chip in your fridge that records how many vegetables you eat -- or better yet, an implantable chip that monitors your blood pressure and immune system, and raises or lowers your insurance rates based on whether you eat a lot of fat or not? The possibilities are endless.

Source: G&M


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