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.

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.

In other words, Coverage Counselor takes the guesswork out of car insurance – making it super straightforward and understandable. It explains coverages for you to consider in words that make sense. No confusing gobbledy gook. So you can feel confident about getting the protection that’s right for you.

It’s all done online and it only takes a few minutes to work your way through a few questions. (The number of questions varies by state in order to provide the most relevant info.)

Once you’ve provided some basic info about yourself, your car(s), and your needs, 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, Coverage Counselor helps you find the coverages that are right for you. So give it a spin. Try Coverage Counselor today and see just how easy it can be to understand your car insurance needs.

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?

The Checkered History of NYC Taxis

New York, New York. In a city known for its skyscrapers, theater/nightlife, and that “love us or get lost” attitude, it’s hard to pick just one thing to represent the Big Apple. But when you talk about the city (especially driving there), it’s hard not to mention the iconic NYC taxi.

To honor the rides that give us designated drivers on demand, here’s a little history on NYC taxicabs.

1800s – The horse-and-carriage-days

Before there were taxicabs, New Yorkers relied on horse-drawn carriages, known as cabriolets (or cabs for short), to get from here to there. While it may sound romantic and glamorous to travel the streets of New York like Cinderella, the reality was anything but a fairy tale.

Carriages were slow, causing congestion throughout the city. And the horses themselves, aside from smelling like horses, caused a huge amount of waste. (All that hay has to go somewhere, right?)

Clearly, the city needed alternative transportation.

1890s – Electric taxicabs and the first car accident

When the 1890s rolled around, electric (and steam-powered) cars were zooming down streets throughout the country, including in New York. And New Yorkers, ever enterprising, decided to use these electric cars to compete with the ole horse-drawn buggies — debuting the first electric hansom cabs in 1897.

Quieter, cleaner, and faster, the first electric cabs were immensely popular. But their arrival also brought (surprise, surprise) traffic accidents. On September 13, 1899, an electric taxicab struck Henry H. Bliss as he dismounted from a streetcar, making this traffic accident the first recorded in New York City history.

1907 – Gas-powered New York taxis enter the scene

Electric taxis were a vast improvement over the equine rides, but they weren’t completely ideal. Electric cars — while the height of technological innovation today — were impractical in their infancy. Batteries weighed around 800 pounds, making them slow. And let’s not forget that whole recharging thing.

So when gas-powered taxis appeared in France, American entrepreneur Harry N. Allen saw a great opportunity. He purchased the city’s first fleet — 65 shiny red Darracq cabs, fully loaded with fare meters — from France, where they were already in use.

(In case you’re wondering, the term “taxi” stems from the French “taximètre,” a combination of the words “taxe,” or tariff, and “metre,” or measure. Makes sense, huh?)

On October 1, 1907, the very first U.S. taxis traveled down 5th Avenue to the spanking-new Plaza Hotel on 59th Street. And the streets of New York haven’t been the same since.

1920s – Checker cabs make their debut

Taxi cabs in the early days came in all different colors, from red to green to yellow. But the iconic Checker cabs didn’t make their grand entrance until 1922 when Morris Markin founded the Checker Cab Manufacturing Corporation.

Though produced in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Checker cabs, distinguished by their black and white checker designs, were made famous in NYC. And they were hugely popular from the get-go. In fact, during the 1920s, more than 7,000 Checker cabs transported people to their destinations in the city that never sleeps.

1960s – NYC taxis turn yellow

By the second half of the 20th century, taxis were a vital part of life in New York. But with the proliferation of taxis came the proliferation of unlicensed, illegal taxicabs.

To standardize the industry and to help passengers distinguish between legal and illegal rides, lawmakers required all certified taxicabs to be painted yellow in 1967. To date, medallion yellow taxis remain the only cabs authorized to respond to street hails.

1990s – The last Checker cab checks out

As the decades changed, so did the appearance of the taxis (the color, of course, stayed the same). Over the years, Fords, Plymouths, Chevies, and of course, Checker all graced New York’s city streets.

But all good things come to an end. By the ’90s, it was the end of the road for Checker with only 2 cabs still chugging along. The last NYC Checker cab (#1N11) retired in June of ‘99.


Driving Safety: How Safe Are Our Roads?

Every driver knows that the road is a potentially dangerous place and that the risk for car accidents and (not to be morbid) fatalities comes with the territory. But now drivers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief because our roads are safer than they’ve ever been in recorded history.

Traffic fatalities drop to lowest level on record

Preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that fatality rates declined by 1.6 percent for the first 9 months of 2011 compared to the same time frame in 2010. Big deal, you say?

Well, actually, it kind of is.

A 1.6 percent decrease may not seem like much, but when it comes to lives saved it’s monumental. There were nearly 400  fewer fatalities in the first 3 quarters of 2011 compared with 2010. And when you consider that traffic fatality rates dropped to their lowest level in history in 2010, you can see why we’re excited.

In fact, though Americans are driving more than ever — 3 trillion miles in 2010 alone — the number of deadly accidents has decreased relative to the number of miles driven. In other words, we have more drivers on the road putting more miles on their odometers, but the same number of fatalities as in 1949.

Car accidents on the decline

In 1990, about 6.5 million car accidents took place on our highways and byways. In 2010, highway safety improved and that number plummeted by one million, or about 20 percent. Of course, as a car insurance company, we think this is pretty great news.

Car technology and safety laws work

So what or who can we thank for our safer roads? The sudden discovery of the safe-driving gene? Seat belts? Air bags? Tougher distracted driving and drinking and driving laws?

Well, it’s a little bit of everything. Nifty things like seat belts and air bags, now standard in every car, have been proven to reduce fatalities by a whopping 61 percent. Plus, with 86 percent of the driving population buckling up and air bags that protect everything from your knees to your forehead, it’s easy to see that safety features have come a long way since 1949.

Additionally, the Highway Loss Data Institute reports that new-on-the-market crash avoidance technology like autonomous braking and adaptive headlights (which shift direction as you steer) have been shown to reduce accidents (particularly front-to-rear fender benders). These features are currently only available as options in higher-end cars. But over time, they might find their way into your ride as standard elements (the way antilock brakes did), improving road and highway safety even more .

Add to these facts an increased public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and drunk driving — and stricter laws to back it all up — and you’ve got a fairly reliable formula for safe roads.

Special thanks to all you good drivers out there for buckling your seat belts, putting your phones away, and driving as if our safety (and lives) depend on it.

Driving safety tips

While these stats are encouraging, we still have work to do. After all, fatality and accident rates may have dropped, but millions of accidents still happen each year. To help you stay safe on the road, we’ve amassed a wealth of driving safety tips. Check them out and find out how to handle anything the road throws your way, from driving in high winds to handling a car breakdown to avoiding animals on the roads.