July 25, 2009

Progressive Launches Money Saving Program for Good Drivers in Texas

Progressive Insurance has launched a new program to reward drivers who exercise safe driving habits with lower car insurance rates. The program, called MyRate, has been available in a small number of states, and has now been made available to Texas drivers. It will use technology to determine whether or not a driver’s habits are safe enough to qualify for lower car insurance rates.

“MyRate is designed for safe drivers,” says Progressive’s general manager of usage-based insurance, Richard Hutchinson. “It’s for people who drive fewer miles than average, at low-risk times of day and keep alert for others on the road. They don’t make fast lane changes or follow closely behind other drivers so they don’t have to over-react or slam on the brakes.”

Participating Progressive customers will receive an immediate first-term discount of up to 10% when they sign up for MyRate. At that time, a device will be installed in the car to measure how the customer drives, how much the customer drives, and at what times the car is driven. The device primarily records vehicle speed and time of day; according to a statement at www.myrate.com, information such as miles driven and rates of acceleration and braking can be derived from the speed and time information recorded by the device. The device cannot detect vehicle location or whether or not a speed limit is being exceeded.

When drivers renew their car insurance, their rate may be discounted by 25% or more—or they may be charged up to 9% more—depending on what the data from the device suggests about the risk associated with their driving habits.

The information gathered by the MyRate device does not replace the traditional data used by Progressive to determine customer car insurance rates. The type of vehicle being driven and previous accidents or traffic violations will still be a part of the equation, along with the new MyRate data.

The MyRate terms of use stipulate that Progressive “will not sell personally identifiable MyRate data to any third parties” and “will not use MyRate data to resolve an insurance claim you have with us without first obtaining permission from you or the vehicle owner.” Progressive can, however, be required by law to provide MyRate data to a court or to police in response to a subpoena. The terms of use also allow Progressive to share data with “service providers who are contractually required to maintain its confidentiality.”