DriveSense™: Saving on Car Insurance Gets Personal

You’re a safe driver. Other drivers, pedestrians, and your car insurance company appreciate it. In fact, your car insurance company might even show their appreciation by offering you a discount for your safe driving.

But wouldn’t it be cool if your discount was based on exactly how well you drive? And if you could save even more based on how little you drive?

We thought so. That’s why we introduced the DriveSense™ discount.

Pay as you drive with the DriveSense™ discount

In our never-ending quest to find drivers new and smarter ways to save on their car insurance, we couldn’t help but wonder, “What if there was a device that could tell exactly how well a driver was doing behind the wheel? Even better, what if it rewarded them with a discount tailor-made to their awesome driving skills?”

“Sounds like a good idea,” we thought. And after a period of testing and tinkering, we released our usage-based insurance device, DriveSense to drivers in the great state of Texas.

Why just Texas, you ask? Well, a fully detailed answer would probably bore you (and me) to tears, but the gist is that we wanted to see how well the device and discount worked before rolling it out to the rest of the country.

So far, things are looking pretty darn good in Texas, which means DriveSense could be coming to your state soon.

How the DriveSense discount works

When you sign up for the DriveSense program, we’ll send you a small telematic device that you plug into your car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) port. Standard in most cars since 1996, the OBD port simply allows access to your car’s internal computer (which can tell how fast you drive, how often you brake, etc.). The DriveSense telematic device is able to send, receive, and store that info via telecommunication. Don’t worry though, we make sure your info stays private and secure.

That’s really it. You’ll immediately score a 5 percent discount just for installing the device, and depending on how safely and how much you drive, you could save as much as 30 percent!

Huge, right?

What you can do with the DriveSense device

The DriveSense program isn’t just about giving safe drivers some sweet, sweet savings. When you sign up for the program, you’ll get access to a personalized website where you can review and analyze your driving (and compare it with others’ as well). Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see how many times you were a little lead-footed, when you had to brake a little harshly, and how many miles you drove recently (among other things).

You can even set up notifications that’ll let you know as soon as you do … well, just about anything. Want to know if you topped 70 yesterday? You got it. Prefer to be notified when you’ve driven over 100 miles in a day? No problem. How about if your son is out driving past curfew while you’re off on a business trip? Done.

Which leads us to another use for DriveSense: teaching.

Help young drivers be better drivers

With access to all that data, you can more effectively monitor your young driver’s performance and proactively troubleshoot any behaviors that aren’t so great. You can even set up driver-specific notifications to let you know about your son or daughter’s driving. So, if you notice young Danny tends to hit the brakes a little hard, you can combine custom notifications with a little one-on-one driver training to correct the problem.

You can’t be with your young driver every time they get behind the wheel, but with DriveSense, you can still get a good idea of how well they’re doing out there on the road.

Why Esurance likes DriveSense … and you might too

As noted in a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article, “insurance carriers have traditionally evaluated risk based on criteria such as age, gender, marital status, and vehicle type.” And statistics show that those criteria work pretty well. But with a pay-as-you-drive system like DriveSense, we can move beyond such generalized ratings to provide you with more personalized savings.

Let us know what you think!

Are you interested in personalizing your savings with programs like DriveSense? Let us know!

Related link

See which car insurance discounts are available in your state.

Esurance Coverage Counselor®: Car Insurance CliffsNotes

If there were a real Car Insurance 101, your notes from the first lesson would read something like: Car insurance protects you and your assets in case of an accident.

Pretty simple, right?

But past day one, things could get pretty complex pretty fast. You’d have to buy flash cards with terms like “deductible,” “total loss,” and “personal injury protection” on one side and mini-epics of explanation on the other.

And the final exam would probably involve managing all the claims resulting from a 16-car pileup caused by a frantic squirrel (who no doubt emerged absolutely unscathed).

Enter the Coverage Counselor® online tool from Esurance, aka, the CliffsNotes of car insurance.

The Coverage Counselor helps simplify car insurance

Let’s face it: most of us have neither the time nor the inclination to really bone up on car insurance. But if we want to drive, we’ve gotta have it.

That’s why we developed the Coverage Counselor. It’s like Car Insurance 101, except geared only toward those aspects of car insurance that mean something to you.

It’s not bone-dry and deadly boring either. It’s interactive … it asks you questions, explains why it’s asking those questions, provides suggestions — and explains why it’s making those suggestions. It’s all done online and it only takes a few minutes to work your way through a dozen or so questions. (The number of questions varies by state in order to provide the most relevant info.)

Once you’ve provided some basic info regarding yourself, your car(s), and your needs, the Coverage Counselor will provide a detailed list of coverages for you to consider. It also suggests specific limits and deductibles along with explanations of why you should consider them. (Printable and email-friendly versions included.)

Plus, you can easily get a quote using the very same coverages the Coverage Counselor offered for your consideration.

Using the Coverage Counselor

In short, the Coverage Counselor helps you find the coverages that are right for you. (And by “right” we mean the coverages that give you all the protection you need with none of the features you don’t.)

So give it a spin. Try the Coverage Counselor today and see just how easy it can be to understand your insurance needs and car insurance in general.

Related reading

Check out our insurance learning center to find out everything you need to know about car insurance.
Or peruse our Insurance 101 posts here on the Esurance blog.

Rickshaws, Elvis, and Outside Lands: The History of Pedicabs

Once a novel import from Asia, pedicabs now commonly grace our urban streets. From New York to San Francisco, these 3-wheeled bike taxis provide an eco-friendly way to get from here to there … and take in the sights along the way. That makes them pretty cool in our book.

But where do they come from? And how did they get here? To answer our burning questions, we turned to the magic of the internet … and here’s what we learned.

Pedicabs (aka rickshaws) get their start in 19th-century Japan

The precursor to our modern-day pedicab was the rickshaw, which was pulled by a human on foot. (The name itself comes from the Japanese word jinrikisha, which literally means human-powered vehicle.) Legend has it that the rickshaw was invented by Jonathan Scobie, an American missionary in Japan, in 1869 to help transport his invalid wife.

There are, of course, conflicting theories behind the rickshaw’s true inventor. But we do know one thing for sure: Japan was the first to popularize this mode of transportation. In fact, by the late 1870s, Tokyo had about 40,000 rickshaws running through its bustling streets.

Rickshaws pull their way across Asia

The rickshaw’s popularity in Japan quickly spread to China, India, and across all of Asia. From Bangkok to Bangladesh, India to Cambodia (and everywhere in between), the rickshaw soon became the preferred mode of transportation.

It’s no wonder that pedicabs have so many names. Here are a few of them:

  • Xyclo or Cyclo– Vietnam and Cambodia
  • Trishaw (a condensed form of tricycle and rickshaw) – Malaysia and Singapore
  • Becak – Indonesia
  • Samlor – Thailand

Rickshaws get a set of wheels

With the invention of the bicycle, it wasn’t long before someone had the brilliant idea to add wheels to the rickshaw. And thus, the trishaw or pedicab was born.

Of course, other innovations — like hydraulic brakes, suspensions, and seat belts — happened between then and now to make the pedicab a green and comfortable ride. But the wheel was the biggest innovation of all.

Pedicabs peddle into the U.S.

Though pedicabs were all the rage in Asia from the get-go, they didn’t become popular on this side of the Pacific until a fleet of 20 pedicabs peddled their way into the 1962 World’s Fair.

Among the fleet’s most famous passengers was Elvis! Yes, the King himself rode in a pedicab for the filming of the 1963 musical It Happened at the World’s Fair, thereby launching pedicabs to stardom.

Pedicabs, Outside Lands 2012, and one really cool contest

Speaking of music and pedicabs, if you’ll be at Outside Lands in San Francisco this August 10–12, look for the free Esurance pedicabs and hop on to get in and out of Golden Gate Park. What better way to celebrate rock ‘n’ roll than to roll like the King himself?

Inside Outside Lands Sweepstakes

If you don’t already have tickets to Outside Lands but want them, we’re giving one lucky winner 2 VIP tickets and more (you know, like Outside Lands goodies and stuff).*

For your shot at some VIP action, follow @esurance on Twitter. From July 23–27, we’ll post an Insider Question (about SF or Outside Lands) 2 times a day. Tweet your answer @esurance using #InsideOutside and you’re in the running to win. Don’t miss out on your shot to catch some of the biggest names in music at one of the coolest festivals of the year.

Stuff our legal team makes us say

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. PT on 7/23/12. Ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on 7/27/12. Open to legal residents of any 1 of the 50 US or DC who are at least 21 years old. Internet access, a Twitter account in good standing, and a reply to one of the tweets using #InsideOutside are all required to enter. Void where prohibited by law. SUBJECT TO FULL OFFICIAL RULES. Winner must be able to attend Outside Lands events in San Francisco, CA from 8/10/12–8/12/12 or the prize may be forfeited. Prize does not include air travel. Limit 1 entry per person and per Twitter account. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor: Esurance Insurance Services, Inc., 650 Davis St., San Francisco, California 94111-1922.

Related link

Sharing the road with bikes
If you drive in a city where pedicabs are common, find out how to safely share the road.

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Hemingway (And His Boat)

The writers at Esurance tend to be word nerds (many of us are former English majors), so it’s only natural that we’d celebrate one of our most heralded authors on the eve of what would have been his 113th birthday. Of course we’re talking about Ernest Hemingway.

You couldn’t find a more interesting subject than Hemingway. His biography reads like an extended Dos Equis ad. And few of his stories are more interesting than the ones that happened aboard his boat, Pilar. In fact, the germ-seed of The Old Man and the Sea finds its origins on that boat.

In the spirit of summer, summer reading, (and the boat insurance offered through Esurance) we thought we’d take a look at 3 of the strangest things that ever happened aboard Pilar — which, for reasons you’re about to learn, would be totally uninsurable by today’s standards.

Hemingway fought sharks

Like that other intrepid mariner Odysseus, Hemingway was known for physically strapping himself to his boat with a custom-built harness to resist the pull, not of sirens, but of half-ton marlins. Aside from being capable of breaking his back or pulling him overboard, those giant catches — which can take several hours to reel in — were also easy pickings for hungry sharks looking for a free meal.

To counter such thievery, Hemingway developed a habit of indiscriminately shooting sharks from the deck of Pilar as he reeled in his catch. His recent biographer Paul Hendrickson describes Hemingway “gunning sharks with a Thompson submachine gun, sputtering the waves, turning the foam red, trying to keep track of how many he killed.” Remember when I said the boat was uninsurable?

Hemingway accidentally shot himself

Hemingway’s nautical trigger-happiness eventually backfired on him (literally). On a deep-sea excursion in 1935, he accidentally hooked a particularly large and aggressive shark, which he then intended to bring aboard to retrieve the expensive hooks and leaders that the shark had claimed. (Because that makes sense, right?)

Bringing the giant predator aboard was difficult, so he turned to his trusty Colt .22 for assistance. He fired once. The bullet ricocheted off the side of the boat and split into fragments, 3 of which found their way to various parts of his legs.

Hemingway hunted German U-boats

During World War II the U.S. Government hired Hemingway to patrol the waters off Cuba, which were rife with German submarines looking to disrupt the supply line between the U.S. to its European allies. Loading Pilar full of concealed bazookas and machine guns, Hemingway and his cohorts patrolled the sea searching in earnest (pun intended) for submarines. Good thing Hemingway never actually encountered any U-boats, otherwise The Old Man and the Sea might have read a little bit more like Das Boot.

While Hemingway may have been a literary great, it’s clear that he needed a little help in the boating safety department. If you happen to be a boat owner, hopefully you’ll be more careful than old Hemingway and consider insuring your boat through Esurance.

Related link

What’s the most common boat insurance claim?

Esurance Now Offers Car Insurance in Kansas (and Things to Do in Kansas Too)

Today, we’re excited to announce our arrival in Kansas! Drivers in America’s heartland can now look to Esurance for reliable coverage, great discounts, and a bevy of useful tools that make car insurance easy, smart, and modern. And we’ll admit we’ve gone a little Kansas crazy around here in preparation.

To welcome the newest state into our family (and educate our readers on all things Kansas), we asked Esurance associates from the Sunflower State to give us the hot scoop on their hometown. If you ever plan a trip to Kansas consider us your unofficial guides to Kansas tourism.

Special thanks to our Kansas experts (who also double as car insurance experts), Angela V., Ed W., Tessa D., Teresa B., and Kendra W.

Kansas facts — what every visitor should know

If you had to describe Kansas in one word, what would it be? 

  • FLAT – Angela
  • Jayhawks – Ron
  • Flat – Tessa
  • Homey – Kendra

(FYI: Ed and Kendra tell us Kansas isn’t as flat as people think.)

How would you describe Kansans? 

  • Very nice, helpful – Angela
  • All-American, down to earth – Ed
  • Laid back – Ron
  • Friendly, courteous, fun – Tessa
  • Down to earth [with] just the right amount of country in their blood – Kendra

What is a distinctly Kansan thing to do? 

  • Mud bogging. – Tessa
  • Taking high school senior pictures in either a wheat field or sunflower field … people from other states have to use corn! And going outside when the tornado sirens go off. – Kendra

What kind of culinary specialty is Kansas known for?

  • Beef – Angela
  • Anything beef – Tessa
  • Barbeque! – Kendra

(You know, yesterday just so happened to be Cow Appreciation Day!)

What is your favorite restaurant in Kansas?

  • Waffle House – Ed
  • Scotch and Sirloin in Wichita – Tessa
  • Daimaru Steakhouse in Salina – Kendra

What is your favorite hidden gem in Kansas?

  • The architecture at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary – Ed
  • The Blind Pig Sports Lounge and the Cozy Inn (a burger place) in Salina – Kendra

Which Kansas attractions do you recommend someone visit?

Tessa had a lot to say on this subject!

Thanks everyone for your insight! And welcome, Kansas!

Tell your Kansas friends

If you have friends and family in the great state of Kansas, don’t forget to let them know we’re there.

Related links

More places to see in Kansas
Who was Carrie Nation?