Your Smartphone Can Tell How Well You’re Driving



By Barbara Marquand

Your official driving record tells insurance companies whether you’ve gotten any traffic tickets. But the ultimate tattletale could be your smartphone.

While insurance companies have been using plug-in telematics devices to track driving behavior for several years, smartphone apps promise to take it to the next level. Apps allow insurance companies to track driving behaviors without the consumer having to install an onboard telematics device.

New apps developed for insurers can detect when, where and how you drive. The technology captures data from the sensors and GPS in the phone, analyzes the information and produces a driving score. The results could affect your car insurance rates, depending on the insurer.

“We think of it as the Fitbit for driving,” says Kevin Farrell, president of Censio in Boston, which developed a mobile app for Progressive Insurance’s Snapshot program.

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