In today’s digital age, your driving habits can significantly impact your wallet, thanks to innovative programs like USAA’s SafePilot. This telematics-based initiative rewards cautious and responsible drivers by using a smart app to monitor patterns like braking intensity and time behind the wheel. Participants can earn potential discounts up to 30 percent, including an immediate 10 percent reduction just for enrolling. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team guides you through a thorough review of USAA SafePilot to help you make informed decisions about how to maximize safety and savings on the road.

What is the USAA SafePilot program?

Your driving record is one of the biggest factors that influences your car insurance premium, but insurers have taken it a step further by rewarding safe drivers that allow real-time monitoring by their insurance company. The USAA SafePilot program is a usage-based telematics initiative that encourages safer driving by monitoring your habits on the road. By installing the SafePilot app, available on both the App Store and Google Play, USAA auto insurance policyholders can potentially earn discounts on their premiums. Simply enrolling in the program can earn you a discount of up to 10 percent, with the possibility of additional savings based on safe driving data collected through the app. These discounts are typically applied at the next policy renewal, rewarding drivers for maintaining safe driving practices.

Operating the SafePilot app is straightforward: once installed, it automatically records all your trips, whether you’re driving or just a passenger. It also logs any phone calls made or received during drives, providing comprehensive insights into driving behaviors. Users often praise the app for its user-friendliness and the positive impact it has on their driving awareness.

Eligibility for SafePilot is limited to USAA members, which includes active-duty military members, veterans and their qualifying family members. However, it’s important to note that the program isn’t available in every state—currently, residents of California, Delaware and New Jersey can’t participate, and the program isn’t available in U.S. territories. These limitations are important to keep in mind when evaluating whether SafePilot might be a suitable option for you.

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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, time of day 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

The USAA SafePilot app considers several factors when calculating your driving score, which ultimately influence the discount you might receive on your insurance premiums. Here are the key elements the app tracks:

  • Location and time of day: The app collects data on where and when you drive. Traveling during less congested hours and in safer conditions usually poses fewer risks and can help improve your score.
  • Role in the vehicle: Whether you are driving or merely a passenger is important, as the app adjusts its data collection based on this status to ensure the app is accurately reflecting the driving behaviors of each individual listed on the policy who is enrolled in the program.
  • Phone handling: The app monitors any interaction with your phone during driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free. The goal is to identify and discourage distracted driving behaviors.
  • Harsh braking: The app assesses how often and with what intensity you brake. Frequent or severe braking can indicate aggressive or reactive driving, which might negatively affect your score.
  • Annualized hours driven: More time spent driving can increase exposure to risk, which is why the app tracks the total hours you drive annually.
  • Hand-held calling: Specific attention is paid to calls made while holding your smartphone, as this is a significant indicator of distracted driving.
  • Hands-free calling: Even when using hands-free devices, the app notes the frequency and context of calls to assess how distractions might affect your driving.
  • Potential accidents detected: The app’s ability to detect incidents resembling potential accidents plays a critical role in evaluating driving safety and can have a corresponding impact on your score.

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 USAA SafePilot pros and cons.

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

Who is the USAA SafePilot app a good option for?

The USAA SafePilot app could be a valuable tool for various types of drivers, particularly those committed to maintaining or improving their safe driving habits. Here’s a look at who might find the SafePilot app especially useful:

  • Defensive drivers: If you pride yourself on safe driving practices, the SafePilot app may reward you with discounts that reflect your cautious approach on the road. This could be particularly appealing for drivers who consistently adhere to speed limits and use safe driving techniques.
  • New drivers: For individuals just starting out behind the wheel, such as teenagers or adults who have recently obtained their driver’s licenses, the SafePilot app might serve as a beneficial feedback tool. It provides insights and real-time data that can help new drivers become more aware of their driving behaviors and areas where they could improve.
  • Budget-conscious families: Families looking to save money on car insurance might find the SafePilot app helpful. Since the app offers the possibility of discounts based on the driving behavior of all insured family members on the policy, it could lead to considerable savings.
  • Tech-savvy users: Drivers who are comfortable using technology and apps might appreciate the features and interface of the SafePilot app. It integrates seamlessly into daily driving routines by running in the background and automatically gathering data, making it a convenient option for drivers who appreciate a digital touch.
  • USAA members seeking extra savings: Active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families already using USAA for their insurance needs might see this as an opportunity to maximize their membership benefits through potential insurance discounts.

Ultimately, the USAA SafePilot app might be a good option for drivers who are already part of the USAA community and are looking for ways to reduce their insurance costs while promoting safer driving habits.

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. Additionally, you will receive a discount just for enrolling in the program.
    • 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-duty 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, it is not mandatory for every individual listed on your USAA auto insurance policy to participate in the SafePilot program. However, the extent of the discount you might receive can be influenced by the number of eligible drivers on your policy who choose to use the app. While each participating driver has the potential to contribute to the overall discount through safe driving habits, non-participation does not disqualify the policy from receiving a discount altogether. Participation is optional, and each driver can decide whether they want to join the program. The more drivers participating, the greater the potential savings could be, based on the collective driving data and safety scores accumulated through the app. Each individual who signs up for the program in your household will be tracked separately from the other enrolled drivers when operating the vehicle.
    • Determining the best telematics insurance program often depends on individual needs, driving habits and specific eligibility requirements. If you’re considering a program like USAA SafePilot, you may want to compare its features with those of other highly-rated insurers to see which one aligns best with your personal driving profile and insurance needs. USAA SafePilot is available only to USAA members, which includes active duty or retired military personnel and their qualifying immediate family members, so its availability is more restricted than many other telematics programs.

      If you do qualify, one notable advantage of USAA SafePilot is that it focuses solely on offering potential discounts based on safe driving; your premiums will not go up if the app detects unsafe driving habits. This can be particularly appealing if you are cautious about programs that might penalize poor driving with increased rates.