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OnStar offering safety for all

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

If you are buying a used car but wish you had some of the technology available today's cars, you can now get automatic crash response services, navigation and more for most of the cars on the road today through a new service from OnStar.

The General Motors subsidiary now offers its safety and navigation services for most cars via a replacement rearview mirror, called OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle). Launched in 1995 on GM autos, OnStar made a name for itself with its ability to send emergency responders to drivers after collisions, even if they themselves couldn't call for help.

OnStar FMV subscribers can get this emergency service, which OnStar calls Automatic Crash Response, as well as roadside and stolen vehicle assistance, hands-free calling with Bluetooth, turn-by-turn navigation and navigation with Google Maps and MapQuest destinations. Costs vary depending on the services the driver purchases and if monthly or annual payments are selected. The most expensive plan is $28.90 per month. Additionally, the OnStar FMV mirror, which is sold at electronics retailers, including Best Buy, costs $299.

More than 40 GM models come equipped with OnStar and the service is free on those cars for the first six months. After that, drivers must subscribe to one of the same plans that are offered to OnStar FMV customers.

OnStar reports there are currently 6 million OnStar subscribers who own GM autos, with that number expected to grow substantially now that the new OnStar FMV service is available for an estimated 90 million cars currently on the road.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Twitter @SheDrives.

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3 Comments
yvonne
September 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I have to agree with Bruce. I am on a limited income that supports three people in my household. I am sixty one and my car is paid off. It might be eleven years old, but it is a Honda with alot of miles on it. I can invest in makeing sure that it is going to last until I die than invest in a new car

yvonne
September 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I have to agree with Bruce. I am on a limited income that supports three people in my household. I am sixty one and my car is paid off. It might be eleven years old, but it is a Honda with alot of miles on it. I can invest in makeing sure that it is going to last until I die that invest in a new car

Bruce
September 05, 2011 at 4:42 am

OnStar may be nice, but is hardly necessary. It's another example of a "corporate annuity" provided by consumers not thinking about the long term costs of monthly payments. I am surprised that a bankrate article would inform about the benefits of OnStar and not warn about the dangers of consumers being nickeled and dimed to death with $150 monthly cell phone bills, $75 cable bills, $15 satellite radio, internet access costs, computer file back up fees, NetFlix, etc., all of which, combined, can steal hundreds of dollars a month from a possible retirement savings plan.