So, Let’s consider: Giving your OnStar information to your auto insurance company
OnStar, for those of you not familiar with it, is a really nice, albeit expensive, service you can add to your vehicle to help you with things like: navigation, auto problem diagnostics, travel tips, emergency assistance, etc. They use GPS technology to know where you are, where you’re going and what’s around you that you may need in an assistance call.
So, I was rather intrigued when I got a letter from my auto insurance carrier suggesting that I let them have access to my OnStar data to help them with my insurance. Frankly, my mind had flashbacks to the Lost In Space robot running around yelling “WARNING!”.
So, I thought about this a bit. Just how could giving my insurance company OnStar data help ME with my insurance?
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do have over 30 years in IT and related lines of work including data analytics. I realized that with the OnStar data my insurer would potentially know not only where I go, when I go there, how I get there, how long the distance it is to get there, but also how fast I traveled getting there! With this information, they would, over time, know how many miles I travel, if I traveled in higher risk areas, if I traveled faster than the speed limit and any one of several other variables that could be used in calculating how much they want to charge me for coverage!
Keep in mind that ALL policies are “rated”. They all go through a piece of software called a “rater” which uses info like how many miles you’re expected to drive, where you live and work, your driving record, etc. So, if you drive more miles than they are allowing for what they’re initially charging you – guess what could happen? Or, if they determine that you got there a bit faster than you should have – guess what could happen? Or maybe you have to drive through a “risky” neighborhood or where you work is a “higher risk” area – guess what could happen? Yup, in ALL those cases, your premium rates could INCREASE.
Frankly, I can’t control what they do with any data they get, BUT I sure can prevent them from getting anything I don’t want them to have that could potentially be used against me. Further with OnStar and cell phone tracking type technology, this kind of threat is going to become nothing but something we need to be watching for more closely and frequently. I’m not George Orwell, but “Big Brother” is clearly here – and the less we tell him the better off we will be.
It’s also interesting that an email to my agent on this subject was never returned.
So, if and when you get hit with these kinds of requests, get IN WRITING a statement from your insurance carrier exactly what information they will be gathering, how frequently and exactly how they intend to use it.
It’s not 1982, but it definately IS caveat emptor!
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.