USAA Expands Telematics Offerings for Auto Insurance

Policyholders in 23 states are now eligible for potential discounts

USAA is ramping up the availability of its app to track driving habits and reward auto insurance policyholders for safe driving. The insurer says drivers in 23 states will now be eligible for discounts based on the voluntary telematics technology.

Key Takeaways

  • USAA has expanded the availability of its SafePilot app to seven more states, bringing the total to 23.
  • The new states are Alabama, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Utah.
  • Policyholders with the voluntary app are eligible for premium discounts of up to 10% at sign-up, and that can rise to 30% over time.

What USAA Announced

The San Antonio-based insurer announced on May 19 that it would be making its app available in seven more states. SafePilot, as it is called, will now be offered in almost half the states, or 23 in total. 

The new states added in the voluntary program are Alabama, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Utah. It was already available in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Policyholders who enroll are eligible for discounts of up to 10% at sign-up, which can rise to 30% for safe driving behavior over time, the insurer said. 

USAA noted in February that sign-ups for SafePilot grew more than 200% in 2020, with almost half of new policyholders in states where the program was available opting for it.

SafePilot collects information such as speed, acceleration, braking, swerving, cornering, distance driven, and location.

Behind the Telematics Trend

A study by Nationwide late last year found that many auto policyholders are open to trying out telematics. Some 65% of respondents said they would allow a telematics device to capture their driving behavior if it meant receiving a discount. At the same time, only 10% were currently using one. 

Telematics and usage-based insurance first came to public attention more than 10 years ago when Progressive Insurance and General Motors Assurance Co. started offering mileage-linked discounts based on systems that tracked miles driven by policyholders, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Today most major insurers offer such programs.

Companies have also teamed up with automakers to share telematics data for programs like State Farm’s opt-in Drive Safe & Save with Ford vehicles. General Motors announced in November that it would begin selling auto insurance, setting rates based on data collected by its vehicles' OnStar systems.

While telematics technology may save drivers money, it has also raised privacy concerns. As a result, the NAIC says, "some states have enacted legislation requiring disclosure of tracking practices and devices. Additionally, some insurers limit the data they collect."

However, the NAIC also notes that telematics is part of an even larger trend. The "acceptance of information sharing is growing as more mainstream technology devices (such as smartphones, tablets, and GPS devices) and social media networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) enter the market," the association says.

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  1. USAA. "USAA SafePilot Telematics Program Grows Over 200% in 2020 Amid Pandemic; Program to Expand in 2021."

  2. USAA. "USAA SafePilot FAQ."

  3. NAIC. "Telematics/Usage-Based Insurance."