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Insurance Companies Want to Link to Your Technology

Home, auto and health insurers could lower your premiums if your tracking devices tell them to do so.

| BY Kent McDill

The latest technology for personal use is expensive, but it can save you money in the form of lower insurance premiums.

Some insurance companies are offering lower premiums to customers who share their personal data from new technological tools such as health monitoring systems similar to Fitbits, which measure healthy living habits. Likewise, homes with newer technology to monitor heating and cooling habits are allowing home insurance companies to offer lower premiums.

If you allow your auto insurance company to link to your GPS, the company can note your safe-driving habits and adjust your premiums accordingly.

Of course, if any of this technology reveals negative trends in your living or driving habits, it can adjust your premiums northward as well.

But let’s concentrate on the positives, shall we?

Insurance companies and the companies they insure want healthy employees because it reduces their health care benefit costs and improves the odds that any long-term care costs will be avoided. Insurance companies can offer lower premiums to those employees who are willing to share the data from their health monitoring systems.

Research is being conducted now on wearable devices that can measure and track heart rate, temperature and glucose levels over a period of time. Insurance companies linked to those wearables could use that information to determine which employees are at a lower risk of long-term medical care and drop premiums accordingly. 

The automobile insurance industry has been out front in rewarding good behavior with lower premiums in the past, but industry experts say those premium reductions can happen more quickly if the insurance company is allowed to monitor driving habits through GPS or vehicle sensors. Those monitoring systems not only keep track of collisions, but also other driving habits like exceeding the speed limit or making violent turns, all which would go into determining an insurance premium.

Progressive Insurance offers policyholders the opportunity to attach a sensor to their vehicle to monitor driving habits with the promise of lowering rates if the driving habits fit their profile for safe driving.

The homeowner’s insurance situation is as significant and perhaps less intrusive than measuring one’s lifestyle or driving habits. Being allowed to see measurements on environmental conditions in a home can help determine insurance premiums, and in the case of property that is not lived in constantly, like second homes or beachfront properties, those monitoring systems can provide information directly to insurance companies to help preserve and maintain the property, which again could cause an insurance company to lower its premiums.

There remain concerns about privacy and whether the information collected would be shared intentionally or unintentionally with other parties. There also is the question of interpretation of raw data, so that a person trying to lose weight but being unable to do so would be punished even if they are working out. Driving conditions, like road wear or heavy traffic, could lead to driving decisions that might be interpreted as unsafe driving when they are just the opposite.


About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.