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Can Insurance Tracking Data Be used Against You in a Car Crash Claim?


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Aug 20, 2020 in Car Accidents

driver using a smartphone appUsage based insurance programs (UBIs) are offered by most insurance companies across the U.S. While the program name may vary by company, the purpose is the same: to track your location, driving habits and more in exchange for good driver discounts. However, there are also risks to consider.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak discuss what data is collected in a UBI program and how your insurance company may use it.

After being injured in a car crash, we strongly recommend that you seek legal help with your potential claim. As technology advances, it is becoming even more critical that you have experienced lawyers to protect your legal rights and best interests.

Contact our firm to learn more in a free and confidential, no-obligation consultation.

What are Insurance Companies Doing With Your Data?

Many policyholders who are looking for ways to save money are enticed by various “safe driver” programs their insurer may offer. These UBI programs offer various discounts to encourage policyholder participation. However, if you decide to enroll in a UBI, we strongly recommend that you not only find out what data your insurer is collecting, but also how it will be used.

How Data is Collected

The type of UBI program and data collected varies by company. Data may be tracked using a variety of methods, such as a smartphone app or by connecting to equipment that is already installed in many newer cars. In other vehicles, you may be able to install a plug-in device to enable your data to be tracked. If you use a smartphone app, you must have your Bluetooth turned on for the device to work. If the tracking device is installed directly in your car, you will not have to do anything. In either situation, you are not required to be logged in. This means, potentially, if your Bluetooth is enabled, your phone or vehicle can track your location data all the time.

Types of Data Tracked

GEICO, USAA, State Farm, Progressive, Allstate, Farmer’s Insurance, Nationwide and Liberty Mutual all offer optional variations of a UBI program, including Safe Pilot, Drive Safe and Save, Drive Easy, and more.

Private information about your driving habits may include:

  • Phone calls (handheld and hands free)
  • Harsh braking
  • Cornering
  • Acceleration or deceleration
  • Speed
  • Time of day

The discount, when the policy comes up for renewal, may be based on your driving data collected by the insurance company. This means, in some cases, the discount may not be renewed for some drivers. Additionally, your insurer may also use this data to assess what risk you may pose as a driver and adjust your rates (sometimes higher) accordingly.

Is Tracked Data Permissible in a Civil Lawsuit?

Absolutely. In fact, in the fine print, although the wording may vary slightly by UBI program and company, insurers promise not to share your private data except as required by law or as stated in their individual policy.

Organizations are already required to submit private information for criminal cases. It is not a far reach to expect they can also be compelled by the court to submit your tracked private data. Just like social media, the data your insurance company collects is legally permissible in a civil lawsuit and may help, or hurt, your claim.

How Could This Data Impact Your Car Crash Claim?

Reviewing and understanding what data is collected, when it is tracked and how it may be used against you in a car crash claim is critical. If you participate in a UBI, review your existing data reports regularly to understand the story your data may tell about your current driving habits.

What the Data May Not Reflect

The problem with the data that is collected is that it may not tell the whole story. This means it may be up to the interpretation of others and can be twisted and used against you.

Indiana’s Modified Comparative Negligence

The state’s modified comparative negligence law, Indiana Code 34-51-2-5, states that a plaintiff must be less than 51 percent at-fault to be eligible to pursue compensation for injuries and other losses in a civil lawsuit.

If an insurance company can use your driving data against you, it could affect the amount of liability you are assigned for the accident. In turn, this could impact the amount of damages you are able to recover, or whether you are able to recover any compensation for your losses.

If you, like many U.S. drivers, have enrolled in a UBI, we recommend that you seek legal assistance after an accident and notify your attorney about your participation. It is better that he or she sees and assesses the potential damage your data could do to your claim before the at-fault party does.

Contact Our Firm for Legal Help Today

At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend auto accident lawyers are ready to help protect your claim from this and other tactics insurers use to deny and devalue car crash claims. Contact our firm after an auto accident involving another’s negligence to learn whether you may have a valid case.

If we take your case, we will pursue maximum compensation on your behalf, and you will not pay us anything up front or while we represent you. We collect our fees only after we obtain compensation on your behalf.

Call our firm at: (844) 678-1800 to learn more about your legal options.