ROANOKE, VA - In the latest sign of how "pay as you drive" programs using telematics are changing the auto insurance industry, Allstate Insurance Co. has launched a new voluntary program called Drive Wise. The program uses a monitoring device to reward safe and low-mileage Illinois drivers with discounts of up to 30 percent.

Allstate said it plans to expand Drive Wise to other states as early as the second quarter of 2011. Program enrollees receive a small, wireless telematics device that plugs into their vehicle's onboard computer via the diagnostic port - under the dash in most car models. No GPS data is collected. The device tracks only those factors used to calculate a performance rating, including:

  • Mileage
  • Driving time of day
  • Hard/extreme braking
  • Maximum speed (speeds over 80 mph affect ratings)

Drive Wise rewards, Allstate said, begin immediately when participating customers receive a 10-percent discount just for joining during the first policy term. Subsequent policy terms shift to a performance rating approach, in which customers' driving behavior and total mileage driven over the course of the policy term determine the discount.

Rates will not go up based on driving scores, but savings of up to 30 percent can be earned by drivers with the safest driving and low mileage scores, the company said.