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Ford, Nationwide Partner on Sharing Driver Data

Service simplifies monitoring of driver behavior
#Ford #Lincoln

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Ford and Nationwide are testing a new wrinkle for programs that offer cheaper car insurance to consumers willing to let their driving habits be monitored.

The partners say drivers could save as much as 40% on insurance by participating in the program.

The U.S. service marries Nationwide’s existing SmartRide usage-based insurance plan with data monitored by certain late-model Ford and Lincoln vehicles. For Ford-branded vehicles, the plan is called Ford Insure. At Lincoln, the same plan has a loftier title befitting the luxury brand: Lincoln Motor Company Insure.

No Hardware Needed

Many insurance carriers already offer usage-based plans that index rates to the way you actually behave behind the wheel. Inevitably, these programs require the participant to plug a special module into their car that captures data about such things as hard braking, sharp acceleration and proportion of night driving. Insurers collect the readings via a special phone app.

The Ford-Nationwide program delivers similar results, but without the need for extra hardware. Users simply opt in to the plan through their FordPass or Lincoln Way owner’s app.

Customers buy an initial six-month Nationwide policy, during which time the insurer tracks the user’s driving data. Assuming the result is a low-risk rating, Nationwide presents a policy renewal that could be as much as 40% cheaper.

Eligibility

The program is available only to owners of 2020-model Ford Escape, Explorer, Edge, EcoSport and Expedition SUV/crossovers; Transit and Transit Connect vans; Focus and Mustang cars; and Ranger and certain F-Series pickup trucks.

Eligible Lincoln vehicles are 2020 versions of the MKZ sedan; and Aviator, Corsair, Nautilus and Navigator SUV/crossovers. All qualified models of both brands are equipped with a factory-installed modem, which relays operating data to Nationwide.

Ford says it takes only a few minutes to sign up for the service, which debuts in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

The company indicates that at least some of the initial non-participating states—Alaska, Florida, North and South Dakota, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming—may be added later.

Pros and Cons

It’s gratifying to be rewarded with cheaper coverage when you are a careful and conscientious driver. Ford and Nationwide definitely are making it easier to access this type of insurance, assuming you happen to own a qualified vehicle.

But privacy advocates have a beef with any use-based insurance plan. They point out that the monitoring system which proves you’re a good driver also could be used to track your every move.

Insurers say that would never happen. Cybersecurity skeptics aren’t so sure. Their advice: If you don’t mind the possibility of being tracked, go right ahead. Otherwise, proceed with caution.

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