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For several years I have received emails about enrolling in the Safe Driving program offered by my insurance company, Liberty Mutual, which they designated as RightTrack.
And for several years I simply just ignored these requests.
Despite the potential for savings to my auto insurance premiums, I never acted on it for several reasons:
- Owning an electric vehicle known for its acceleration and having a bit of a lead foot was a combination that I thought would put me in hot water with my insurance company.
- Getting penalized even more for the mileage put on my daily driver.
- Even though I was tiered in the highest mileage category already for my Tesla (>20k/yr), I still drive a significant amount more than that the cutoff into that tier.
- Potential for “Big Brother” like surveillance beyond what was stated to be observed.
- Concern that the end result would be that instead of a discount on my premiums, I would have them raised from a combination of the above factors.
Liberty Mutual gave assurance that everyone enrolled would get at least a 5% discount on their premiums which could increase to as much as a 30% discount.
This year I therefore caved in and thought why not just give it a try and see what happens.
The RightTrack Enrollment Process.
Enrolling into RightTrack could not have been any easier.
I went on to the website and opted into the program.
I had the choice to enroll one, two, or all three of my vehicles into the program.
I went for the whole shebang and requested all three vehicles to be entered.
About a week later I received in the mail a package containing 3 GPS tracking devices (about 2 square inches in size) that had adhesive tape on the back to mount to the rearview mirror of each vehicle.
I also had to download the RightTrack app on my smartphone and subsequently pair each tracking device via Bluetooth.
The RightTrack Fine Print.
The RightTrack program was pretty straightforward.
For a period of 90 days the tracking device would be monitoring the following parameters:
- Aggressive Acceleration/Deceleration events.
- Total miles driven.
- Amount of nighttime driving (midnight to 4am).
As stated above, based on my previous driving habits, the first 2 were the potential pitfalls for me.
The RightTrack journey begins.
The timing of me starting this program was quite fortuitous.
I essentially initiated this program right when the COVID-19 pandemic concerns were hitting my state and shelter at home orders were being issued.
Because of this, my daughter’s private school had stopped on campus learning and started web based lectures in its place.
Just this act alone removed a little over 20 miles or more from my daily commute which resulted in less opportunity for the insurance company to scrutinize by driving.
On top of this, my 2nd car, the 2014 Toyota Camry I had just purchased for use by my mom, was also essentially taken out of the picture as she no longer had to pick my daughter up from school as well as doing her own groceries/errands (which I had to assume instead).
The 3rd vehicle, the 2006 Land Rover LR3, which I termed my “Luxury Garbage Truck,” was barely driven even before the pandemic hit.
So with 2/3s of my fleet sidelined by COVID-19, it was only my main driver that was going to be put under the microscope by Liberty Mutual.
This scrutiny did not start auspiciously as the following driving recap on one of the first days of me driving under the program clearly demonstrates:
To be fair, it is hard to press on the accelerator in an electric vehicle and not zoom off compared to its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) counterparts.
Did my driving habits change while I was being monitored by RightTrack?
That is a great question.
Although I think the length of the program, 90 days, makes it difficult to mask your innate driving habits, I did feel my driving style change in order to improve my driving image under the app.
In the past if I ever came to a traffic light and was in “pole position” I had a tendency to gun the car a little more than my typical driving style just to pull away from the rest of the pack.
With the RightTrack GPS tracker recording these trips I found that this habit greatly diminished in frequency if not eliminated altogether.
I also, quite painfully, started trying to simulate acceleration patterns of non-electric vehicles so I didn’t get dinged at every turn.
Of course if there was a need to use full acceleration (such as going on an interstate and getting in front of approaching traffic) I would do so without much worry about what RightTrack was thinking.
I did make a game out of it on some commutes and try to get a flawless commute (rewarded with a smiling icon) but most of the time I was happy with the indifferent emoji.
[By the way not once during the 90 days did I ever get a frowning emoji.]
The Final Tally.
Finally day 90 came and I was freed from my digital overlord watching me.
To be honest it wasn’t that bad an experience, helped by the shelter at home issues as described above.
All in all I think I didn’t do too bad and because of it got a sizeable premium discount for my efforts:
Using RightTrack resulted in the follow percentage premium reduction for my auto policies:
It is the percentage discount, rather than the actual dollar amount reduced, that is actually the more important discount metric as it will prove to be more valuable down the line.
This is because the premium percentage discount I received by enrolling in the 3 months of RightTrack can be carried forward indefinitely as long as I keep my auto policy in good standing.
I contacted customer service to clarify this detail further and asked what happens when I sell a vehicle and buy another one.
I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that the new vehicle will assume the same discount as whatever vehicle it replaced had.
[If I was to buy an additional vehicle and add it to my current stable, that vehicle, and that vehicle alone, would have to be placed under a new 90 day RightTrack assessment if I wanted it to have a premium discount as well.]
Would I recommend others to enroll in RightTrack (or any other safe driving discount offered by insurance companies)?
That would be a resounding yes.
Hopefully other insurance companies offer a minimum discount just for participating like the 5% Liberty Mutual did.
If so then it really is a win-win situation.
If you choose not to volunteer under a safe driving monitoring program like RightTrack, I feel the insurance company will automatically assume you are in the worst tier of drivers and penalize you for it.
You will therefore pay far more dollars over your lifetime in auto insurance premiums than you needed to because of some actuarial formula the insurance company uses to cover worst case scenarios.
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