USAA SafePilot review

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The USAA SafePilot telematics app may be a way for current USAA auto policyholders to earn discounts for something they are already doing: driving. The app provides USAA with a snapshot of a driver’s habits, ranging from phone usage to hours driven. Bankrate’s USAA SafePilot review also reveals that while the app may offer a chance to save up to 30% on premiums with your auto insurance policy, there are other considerations regarding data privacy for drivers to note.

What is the USAA SafePilot program?

The USAA SafePilot app is designed to provide feedback to help improve driving and monitor safe driving habits in order to maximize discounts on your auto insurance premiums. It is considered a usage-based telematics program and you must download the app in order to participate. USAA auto insurance policyholders who enroll can receive up to a 10% discount for signing up. You and your household may be eligible for further discounts based on your driving insights, habits and trends, and these discounts are applied with your next policy renewal.

The app is available in both the App Store and Google Play Store and is set up so you do not have to log in every time you are in the vehicle. It will automatically log all the trips you have taken, either as a driver or a passenger, and all the phone calls you receive or make. USAA SafePilot reviews in the App Store note how easy the app is to use and how it helps drivers stay more cautious while driving.

Like USAA auto policies and membership, eligibility is limited to military members, veterans and qualifying family members. The SafePilot app is not available in all states yet. Currently it is available in 37, excluding:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

The app is not available internationally or in U.S. territories either.

What does SafePilot track?

Because SafePilot is a usage-based telematics app, it relies on tracking multiple aspects of your driving habits to determine the discount. Information collected includes speed, acceleration, braking, swerving, cornering and distance driven. The app also tracks the amount of time spent on phone calls and how many hours you drive. SafePilot’s technology enables it to know and log when you are the driver versus the passenger.

Factors that impact your SafePilot score

SafePilot tracks a number of factors to determine your score and ultimately the discount amount you are eligible to receive.

  • Location: Safe driving programs, like the USAA SafePilot app, rely on bluetooth and wireless technology to gather information. Because of this, you should be aware the app monitors your location even when you are not driving.
  • Time of day: The time of day is recorded since driving in daylight and during less traffic-heavy hours is considered less risky than driving at night or during rush hour.
  • Whether you are the passenger or driver: The USAA SafePilot app will monitor if you are the driver or if you are the passenger.
  • Phone handling: The app will track your active phone use while driving, including the calls you make or messages you send, whether handheld or hands-free.
  • Driving behaviors: The app monitors other driving behaviors including speed, acceleration, braking, swerving, cornering and distance driven to further determine discount eligibility.
  • Harsh braking: This is how much force you use to apply the brakes while driving. Abrupt braking could indicate aggressive driving or other unsafe driving conditions.
  • Hours driven per year: Part of using a usage-based telematics app is monitoring the amount of time you actually spend driving. Generally, the greater number of hours you drive per year, the greater likelihood of an accident.

Is USAA SafePilot worth it?

If you are looking for a relatively easy way to earn an additional safe driving discount, the SafePilot app may be a good option. Other than downloading the app and exhibiting safe driving behaviors, there is not much work required for you to earn savings. Additionally, you receive up to 10% in savings simply for enrolling. If you have multiple drivers on your auto policy, the program could be a significant way to save on premiums if all the drivers participate in the program.

Potential drawbacks of the app involve data privacy issues. Once enabled, the app continuously tracks the driver, even if they are not driving. The app also includes hands-free calling in its list of monitored driving behaviors, which means there are possible deductions for answering hands-free calls.

The USAA SafePilot app is similar to other telematics apps available on the market. However, programs like Progressive Snapshot give drivers the option to either download an app or use an actual plug-in telematics device. The plug in version allows you to control the monitoring and only tracks your location when it is turned on. The Geico DriveEasy app is another option for Geico policyholders, but it is available in far fewer states than the USAA SafePilot app.

Who is the USAA SafePilot app a good option for?

If you currently have or are planning to obtain a USAA auto insurance policy, SafePilot may offer a way to save a substantial amount on your premiums. If you are comfortable with the trade-off of having an app monitor your location, driving habits and even your hands-free calling usage in order to save up to 30% on premiums, the program could prove to be worthwhile.

The USAA SafePilot program is available to eligible drivers in your household as long as they are included on your auto policy, which means there may be a way to earn collective savings.

Frequently asked questions

Can your rates go up with SafePilot?

According to the USAA website, the SafePilot app is only used to calculate your discount. This means your rates will not go up because of the app use. However, you do need the app to determine the amount of savings you are eligible to receive.

Who is eligible for USAA SafePilot discounts?

The USAA SafePilot program is available to any driver who already has an auto insurance policy through USAA. It is available for any drivers in your household included on the USAA auto policy and who agree to the terms and conditions for downloading the USAA SafePilot app. Keep in mind that USAA is only available to active-duty military and veterans, as well as qualifying family members.

Is everyone listed on my policy required to participate?

No, everyone who is listed on your auto insurance policy with USAA is not required to participate. However, the max discount you can receive will depend on how many eligible drivers on your policy participate in the program.

Written by
Sara Coleman
Insurance Contributor
Sara Coleman has three years of experience in writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, Reviews.com, Coverage.com and numerous other personal finance sites. She writes about insurance products such as auto, homeowners, renters and disability.
Edited by
Insurance Editor