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State Farm Launches OnStar Competitor: In-Drive [UPDATED]

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State Farm's In-Drive telematics system

State Farm's In-Drive telematics system

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It's no secret that car shoppers are smitten with technology, and nothing is hotter right now than the mix of navigation and concierge services known generally as "telematics". GM has made a bundle with OnStar, and now State Farm has partnered with Hughes Telematics to grab its own slice of the pie via a new service called In-Drive.

In-Drive offers features that should be familiar to users of OnStar, SYNC, and other services -- features like roadside assistance, emergency response, and stolen vehicle location. In-Drive also provides alerts and reminders about auto maintenance, like the kinds we've seen on many smartphone apps

According to State Farm, In-Drive works via  "an easy-to-install device that works in most vehicles made after 1995". There's also a free smartphone app that gives subscribers access to many of the features offered by the in-car system. The service is competitively priced -- free for the first six months (excluding a $10 activation fee), with subsequent monthly charges ranging from $5 to $14.99, depending on the package customers choose.

In-Drive also allows drivers to tap into State Farm's Drive Safe & Save Program. Drive Save & Save is fairly similar to Progressive's Snapshot program, which monitors drivers' habits like hard braking, acceleration, and so on. Drive safely, and customers can save on their insurance rates. Drive poorly, and, well, it's time to cut back on Starbucks.

Will In-Drive prove to be a viable competitor to OnStar? Only time will tell. But as technology becomes smaller and cheaper to produce, telematics outfits will see competition from all over -- not only from big guns like GM, Ford, and State Farm, but from smaller start-ups, too.

One major impediment to State Farm's new program may be that in order to use In-Drive, it appears that customers will have to sign up for Drive Safe & Save, too. Those who think such monitoring programs are too intrusive will likely opt for other telematics services. 

In-Drive is rolling out in phases -- first in Illinois this September, with other states to follow in 2012. For additional information, visit www.in-drive.com/sf.

UPDATE: Kip Diggs from State Farm has confirmed that In-Drive is currently unavailable outside the Drive Safe & Save program -- meaning that if you want State Farm's telematics, you'll have to sign up for being monitored, too.

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Comments (5)
  1. Hmmm, why would I want to give an insurance company that kind of access to my driving habits?
     
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  2. One nice tech features like OnStar & Ford Sync inadvertantly do is give vehicle buyers the choice of opting out of buying an expensive navigation package.
    I've used OnStar and it works great ! We needed directions while driving in Cleveland during street updating / detours. OnStar was right on the mark helping us avoid traffic tie ups.
     
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  3. Let me get this straight........an INSURANCE CO is going to do something for you...by straight out by forcing you to being MONITORING.
    Next they need to have your DNA. Plus, Cameras inside of your house, so to be MONITORED there, too.
    It will be a cold day in Hades before an INSURANCE does something GOOD for its customers or anyone else.
    I would feel more secure with a bunch of rattlesnakes in my auto than an Insurance co inside my auto.
    Heck, they have the state doing their marketing by forcing you to buy their over priced products and the DMV sending in your tickets records, weekly.
     
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  4. I do find the technology aspect of this fascinating. However, the privacy issues concern me. Say if the insurance company found from my travel habits that I frequented an area of town with a high crime rate, would that affect my rate? It could be the home of a friend or relative, where I shop, my place of employment or simply and area I drive through to get somewhere else. Such a device provides them with too much information.
     
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  5. NOT IMPRESSED SO FAR.
     
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