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Auto gizmo tracks kids in cars

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Friday, October 21, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

If you have kids of driving age, you worry about them every time they pull away from the house.  "It's not your driving, dear; it's all the irresponsible ones out there, partying and texting and endangering society," you assure them, secretly hoping your teen isn't one of them.

Travelers recently introduced a new auto insurance program called IntelliDrive that may help worried parents sleep better at night and save on their auto insurance rates.

Like Progressive's Snapshot, the new Travelers IntelliDrive is ostensibly a usage-based auto insurance gadget that plugs into your vehicle and feeds mileage and driving data back to the insurance company. The company then crunches the data and knocks bucks off your premium if it deems you a safe driver or one that doesn't get out much, thus minimizing your accident risk.

Progressive only uses the Snapshot for an initial six months and doesn't share the driving data with you, though you can view your projected savings online.

But Travelers has found a clever way to sweeten the deal by offering parents a means to track their teen's driving in real time. Here's their sales pitch:

IntelliDrive customers can access personal driving reports through a secure website. The personal driving reports provide information on vehicle usage, which includes driving style and environmental impact such as fuel economy and carbon footprint. Parents of young drivers can also establish vehicle alerts that notify them via email when the vehicle is driven aggressively, leaves a defined area, exceeds a certain speed limit or is used during an unauthorized driving period. These optional alerts are based on settings defined by the customer.

Oh man! I know parents – OK, technically "helicopter" parents – who would pay to have that virtual backseat ride-along capability! Preset email alerts? That's so money (and I don't mean just the potential savings on their auto insurance)!

Travelers knocks 5 percent off your premium at enrollment and up to 20 percent off at renewal based on your IntelliDrive data. Progressive claims Snapshot can save you up to 30 percent on your auto insurance, but of course doesn't share the driving data – yet.

So far, IntelliDrive is only available in Illinois, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia, but if word gets around the carpools and PTA meetings, Travelers may have an auto insurance hit on its hands.

What's your take? Is this all too Big Brother for your taste? Or is it worth it to make the roads safer for everyone?

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3 Comments
Tamlynn
November 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

From an insurance agent and mother of a new driver, I think it is a great idea.

Barbara Archer
October 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

I think this is a great idea. Especially since I am a mother with a permitted teenager.

Wolverine
October 22, 2011 at 8:28 am

Whatever happened to the good ole days of just trusting your kids with the car, instead of continually stalking their every move.

Cut the umbilical cord at some point, folks.