State Farm competing with OnStar's emergency response
State Farm announced a new program to provide vehicle reporting, emergency response, and geofencing services that drivers can use to report accidents, locate stolen vehicles, and potentially get discounts on their auto insurance policy.
Liane Yvkoff is a freelance writer who blogs about cars for CNET Car Tech. E-mail Liane.
When you get into a car accident, State Farm will be there. Or at least, one of its partners' emergency operators will be. The insurance company announced a new program to provide emergency response, vehicle reporting, and geofencing services. Drivers can use the service to report accidents, locate stolen vehicles, and potentially get discounts on their auto insurance policies.
In-Drive is a new service being introduced to State Farm customers in Illinois. Hughes Telematics developed the technology and will supply subscribers with a device that plugs into the vehicle's On-Board Diagnostics port. Customers connect with operators at the touch of a button using cellular technology embedded in a visor-mounted device.
The In-Drive program has two levels: Connect and Guardian. Connect is the basic package, and costs $5.99 per month. For that monthly fee you'll get vehicle diagnostics, fuel economy and carbon footprint reports, driving risk assessment (based on hard braking, sharp turns, and time of day driving), and stolen vehicle location capability.
For a $11.99 per month, the Guardian program provides all the benefits of the Connect program, but adds emergency roadside assistance using Hughes Telematics operators. Customers can press a button and communicate with the operators who then locate the vehicle and contact local emergency response services. With the service, operators will also automatically try to contact the driver if the system detects that the vehicle has been in an accident.
Along with both programs, State Farm policy holders can add the Co Pilot option for $9.99 per month. Ideally suited for families with teen drivers, the program alerts customers when the vehicle operates over a certain speed limit. It also enables parents to set up geofencing. With geofencing, the system will send alerts when the vehicle leaves a certain area. Parents can monitor the location of the vehicle by following a breadcrumb trail of where the vehicle has been.
Offsetting the cost of these services is State Farm's Drive Safe and Save program. Until now, the pay-as-you-go auto insurance program has been available only to customers who use OnStar in Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Colorado, and California (California customers can also self-report mileage). In-Drive is a new way to be eligible for the program, which saves drivers between three and 20 percent on their policies. And to entice customers to sign up for both, State Farm is offering a 10-percent discount to customers enrolling in Drive Safe and Save.
The program will be available this fall in Illinois, and State Farm has plans to roll it out to other states in the future.