While Tesla fans praise Elon Musk for turning the electric car into a high-tech toy, some of those telemetry metrics may come back to hurt drivers' insurance premiums.
The automaker is currently working on a way to integrate Autopilot usage and other driving habits into its insurance program, all in the name of delivering a ‘safety score’ and more accurate pricing.
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Tesla has been running its own insurance (opens in new tab) in California since 2019, promising that it could offer premiums up to 30% cheaper than competing providers. The company claims that the fact it has access to so much data about how vehicles are used means it can offer better insurance products to its customers.
And thanks to some reverse engineering in the Tesla app (via Redditor u/Callump01), we can get an idea of what Tesla has in mind. Evidently the Tesla app will include a new ‘Safety Rating’ page that tracks your car and is linked to your insurance. It essentially sounds like a black box that tracks your car and can communicate with your insurance provider.
But in this instance, a Tesla will be monitoring more than just driver speed. According to the data mining, it’ll be able to see how often the car forcibly disengages Autopilot due to the driver ignoring warnings, the number of hours driven, ABS activations, forward collision warnings, unsafe following time, as well as intensity of both acceleration and braking
As it stands right now, users will be able to see this information in graph form. Tesla will also have a pass/fail rating system, though Callump01 mentions that it isn’t clear whether the user will actually be able to see this.
Naturally, though, these stats will be used to alter your premium by up to 50% on a monthly basis. So your driving style could well end up costing you more, all because your car was snitching on your personal habits. Though, alternatively, being a safe and more cautious driver would lead to your premiums going down.
Apparently the app will feature a simulator mode that will show you how various factors will affect your insurance premiums. So you do, at the very least, get the opportunity to change your habits before you’re left with a potential price hike.
While Callump01 says that these features appear to still be in very early development, it is an indicator of what drivers could face in the future. As cars get more connected and hi-tech, they can collect and transmit more data. If your insurance company gets hold of it all, it means you could end up with a very personalized insurance plan.
Of course, if a self-driving future does come to fruition, then the car insurance industry (opens in new tab) as we currently know it will completely change.
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