If you’re a safe driver who maintains a clean driving record, you might be able to get rewarded for your driving habits if you have USAA as your insurance provider. USAA SafePilot is a telematics program that tracks your driving habits while behind the wheel and offers discounts for safe driving tendencies. The program requires you to use an app that monitors your driving distance, time on the road and driving tendencies. You may then qualify for up to 30 percent off your insurance premium, including up to 10 percent off for simply enrolling in the program. If you’re considering the program, Bankrate’s USAA SafePilot review provides everything you need to know.

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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 percent 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. According to USAA’s website, the SafePilot program is currently available in every state except California, Delaware and New Jersey. Additional restrictions apply for Massachusetts unregistered policies. It’s also unavailable in U.S. territories.

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. However, there may also be a few downsides to consider before you enroll. Here are some of the potential pros and cons of this program.

Pros Cons
Savings opportunities, including an automatic 10 percent discount for enrolling Not available in California, Delaware, New Jersey or U.S. territories
Your rate won’t increase if you demonstrate unsafe driving habits Potential issues with data privacy
The app is free to download through the App Store or Google Play Store Penalties for hands-free calling
If all drivers in your household enroll in the program, you may see a larger discount Can only access the program if you’re a USAA member

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 percent on premiums, the program could prove to be worthwhile. You could even save up to 10 percent with the initial policy discounts offered just for signing up for the program. If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance rates, it may benefit you to try out SafePilot.

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

    • Unlike some other telematics programs, USAA claims that the SafePilot app only calculates a driver’s discount, meaning that poor driving would not cause your rates to increase. If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance rates, you may want to look into SafePilot. Even if you don’t rack up discounts, the program will not increase your premium, according to USAA.
    • USAA SafePilot discounts are available to USAA policyholders who agree to the terms and conditions of the program when downloading USAA’s SafePilot app. However, USAA only offers car insurance policies to active military members, veterans and their qualifying family members, so in order to qualify for SafePilot, you must meet USAA’s membership requirements. In addition, this program is not available in California, Delaware, New Jersey or in U.S. territories.
    • 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.
    • The best telematics insurance program will vary for each driver and depend on your needs and driving habits, so you’ll want to compare different insurers’ program features to see which one is the best fit. USAA SafePilot is only available to USAA members (eligible only for active duty or retired military members and qualifying immediate family members) which makes it one of the more restrictive programs in terms of eligibility. However, USAA SafePilot does not penalize you with higher premiums based on your driving score as some other programs do; the program is only used to calculate potential discounts.