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State Farm is one of the country’s largest and best-known car insurance brands. Its optional Drive Safe and Save program offers you the opportunity to get a discounted car insurance premium in return for sharing data about how you drive.
What is State Farm Drive Safe and Save?
Insurers recognize that people with safer driving habits are at a lower risk of getting into an accident and filing a claim. That’s why many now offer usage-based insurance (UBI) programs that use telematics technology — which transmits data wirelessly to the company — to monitor how their customers drive. Lower-risk customers participating in these programs can earn a lower insurance premium, usually as a discount.
State Farm claims that opting into its Drive Safe and Save UBI program can earn you discounts of up to 30%, based on your mileage and “basic driving characteristics.” The company factors the discount into your premium when it sends you a renewal quote at the end of your six-month policy term. To continue receiving a discount at each renewal, you must remain opted into the program.
How Drive Safe and Save works
With Drive Safe and Save, State Farm monitors your driving habits through one of two methods.
Download the Drive Safe and Save app, which is available for both iOS and Android, to your phone. This app is paired with a Bluetooth beacon that you receive in the mail from State Farm. The beacon, designed to adhere to your windshield, and app work together to track relevant driving data. The app also monitors when you pick up your phone, indicating potential distracted driving.
2020 or newer Ford or Lincoln vehicles include telematics technology that allows you to participate in Drive Safe and Save without using the app or beacon. State Farm notes that this option is not available in all states and excludes some Ford and Lincoln models.
Drive Safe and Save is optional for State Farm customers. Once you've decided to opt in and complete enrollment, the program will monitor a variety of your driving habits every time you drive and transmit that data to the company. State Farm will calculate a policy discount based on the driving data at the end of your six-month policy term. It will factor this discount into your renewal premium.
According to the State Farm website, Drive Safe and Save will never result in a surcharge to your premium. However, if you currently receive the company’s discount for low estimated mileage, and Drive Safe and Save shows you drive more than the discount's 7,500 mile-per-year limit, you may lose that discount.
You'll need to keep participating in the program to continue earning a discount with each policy renewal. Your discount may increase or decrease at subsequent renewals, depending on your driving habits. If you stop participating in the program, the discount will be removed from your policy.
What does Drive Safe and Save track?
State Farm tracks various habits to determine if a customer is driving safely, including:
- Annual mileage.
- Hard braking.
- Phone use while behind the wheel.
- Speed, relative to the speed limit.
How do you earn a discount with Drive Safe and Save?
Once you understand what Drive Safe and Save tracks, you can take steps to maximize your program discount. This may mean maintaining safe driving habits or working carefully to develop them. Here are some tips:
- Try to keep your speed within the posted speed limit — note that the app shows when you’ve exceeded the speed limit by 8 miles per hour or more. Heed caution signs, such as those that advise you to lower your speed when cornering.
- Avoid hard braking by maintaining a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Use the three-second rule as a guide.
- Limit your overall mileage by combining trips, carpooling, using public transportation or going by foot.
- Avoid “jackrabbit starts” (sudden acceleration). This can also help you save gas.
- Finally, avoid using your phone to make calls, text, or access the internet while driving.
According to its description in the app store, the Drive Safe and Save mobile app provides interactive maps of each trip. These maps highlight precise spots where you accelerate quickly, brake hard, take a corner too fast, speed, or use your phone. The app also provides a driving score so you can get a sense overall of how you’re doing with the program.
Drive Safe and Save mobile option vs. Ford Connected Car
Participating in Drive Safe and Save using the Connected Car option provides a slightly different experience. Because you don't use the Drive Safe and Save app, you cannot access a driving score or interactive maps. This means you won’t get feedback you can use to improve your driving habits.
It’s presumed that the Drive Safe and Save program tracks the same driving information whether the customer uses the mobile app or the built-in telematics features on their Ford or Lincoln. However, the State Farm website only confirms that the “discount is based on your annual mileage and driving characteristics.”
The Connected Car option is perhaps a bit more convenient for those with an eligible vehicle. But those wanting to enjoy the full benefits of Drive Save and Save should choose the mobile app.
How to sign up for Drive Safe and Save
Follow these steps to sign up for Drive Safe and Save with your smartphone.
- Download the mobile app from the iOS App Store or Google Play. You can also text SAVE to 42407 to receive a link to the app download.
- Follow the prompts in the app to register for the program.
- Receive the Bluetooth beacon in the U.S. mail; follow the instructions to pair it with the Drive Safe and Save app.
Follow these steps to sign up for Drive Safe and Save with an eligible 2020 or newer Ford or Lincoln vehicle.
- Add your car to the Garage in the FordPass or LincolnWay app.
- Contact your State Farm agent and let them know you want to enroll in Drive Safe and Save.
- You’ll see an in-vehicle agreement for Drive Safe and Save displayed the next time you turn on your car. Accept the agreement to complete the setup.
The sign-up process is fairly straightforward, and the Drive Safe and Save app has received fairly positive feedback from users.
Is Drive Safe and Save right for you?
Saving almost one-third of your car insurance premium is an attractive prospect. But before you commit to State Farm's Drive and Save program, be sure to understand if it's right for you — and if you’re right for it.
You should be comfortable with the idea of sharing data with your insurance company every time you drive. And you should practice good driving habits — such as staying within the speed limit, keeping a safe following distance, and avoiding distractions such as cell phone use. You'll also be more likely to benefit if you drive fewer miles than average.
|Drive Save and Save is Good For||Drive Safe and Save is Not Good For|
Drive Save and Save is Good ForDrivers with safe driving habits
Drive Safe and Save is Not Good ForDrivers with risky driving habits
Drive Save and Save is Good ForThose who drive less than average
Drive Safe and Save is Not Good ForThose who put a lot of miles on their car
Drive Save and Save is Good ForThose with poor credit, who are unable to get a low car insurance premium with a standard policy
Drive Safe and Save is Not Good ForDrivers who want a consistent discount each policy term
Drive Save and Save is Good ForTeen drivers, who tend to pay the highest car insurance premiums
Drive Safe and Save is Not Good ForDrivers who have a hard time putting down their phone when behind the wheel
Drive Save and Save is Good ForThose with a late model (2020 or newer) Ford or Lincoln
Drive Safe and Save is Not Good For
As with any UBI program, Drive Safe and Save is probably not for everybody. The good news is that if you decide the program isn’t for you, State Farm offers many other car insurance discounts.
Is Drive Safe and Save worth it?
You’ll also want a good understanding of the pros and cons of Drive Safe and Save.
ProsDiscounts of up to 30%
ConsContinuous monitoring may lead to privacy concerns
ProsRisk-free: poor driving habits will not cause your premium to increase
ConsContinuous monitoring may drain your phone battery (location services has to be set to “always”)
ProsApp provides maps of each trip, including alerts for where you could improve your driving habits
ConsUse of the Bluetooth beacon (including waiting for it in the mail) may be a hassle for some drivers
ProsAn opportunity for teen drivers or those with poor credit to save money on their car insurance
ConsYou’ll lose your discount if you opt out of the program.
How we evaluated State Farm Drive Safe and Save
Drive Safe and Save discounts
Drive Safe and Save offers the opportunity to earn a discount of up to 30% based on your driving. State Farm also says customers earn a discount for signing up but does not disclose the size of that discount. The program will not surcharge your policy, so you won't pay more.
This compares favorably to competitors’ UBI program savings: Liberty Mutual RightTrack claims customers can save 30% and get a 10% discount for signing up, while Progressive Snapshot claims average savings of up to $156, plus a $47 average discount when enrolling.
Drive Safe and Save flexibility
State Farm customers can participate in Drive Save and Save in multiple ways:
- A mobile app paired with a Bluetooth device.
- Through the telematics features of a 2020 or newer Ford or Lincoln.
Drive Safe and Save sign-up process
The Drive Safe and Save sign-up process is relatively straightforward if you're an existing State Farm customer. Download the app, open it, and then follow the prompts to complete the registration process. You'll receive the Bluetooth beacon in the mail within a few days, which you'll pair with the app. Adhere the beacon to your windshield, and begin driving.
If you have a 2020 or newer Ford or Lincoln, make sure your car is in the Garage of your FordPass or LincolnWay app. Then contact your State Farm agent. You'll complete the sign-up on your vehicle's display screen.
Drive Safe and Save ease of use
The need to receive and pair the Bluetooth beacon with the app could be a barrier for some Drive Safe and Save customers. It’s a more complex process than, for instance, Allstate’s Drivewise, which uses only the app to track your driving.
The app also requires location services to be set to “always,” which may contribute to battery drain.
Maintaining your Drive Safe and Save discount
To maintain a Drive Safe and Save discount, you must remain enrolled in the program for as long as you're a State Farm customer. If you decide at some point to opt out, you'll lose your discount. This differs from some competitors, such as Progressive, which typically requires tracking for only a single policy term.
Frequently asked questions: Drive Safe and Save
Can you lose money with Drive Safe and Save?
Drive Safe and Save will not surcharge your policy, even if you frequently demonstrate unsafe driving habits. So the program is virtually risk-free.
There’s one exception: If you receive State Farm's discount for low estimated mileage, and the program shows you drive more than the discount's 7,500 mile-per-year limit, you may lose that discount.
What is a good discount percentage with Drive Safe and Save?
Even a fraction of the maximum 30% discount could save you hundreds of dollars, considering the average full-coverage car insurance policy costs, as per Bankrate, more than $2,000 annually.
Is Drive Safe and Save available with OnStar?
Drivers with General Motors' OnStar service could opt into Drive Safe and Save and have their driving data transmitted to State Farm automatically. However, new enrollees can no longer benefit from this collaboration.
Does Drive Safe and Save track phone use?
Drive Safe and Save tracks when you pick up and use your phone while driving. To earn the maximum possible discount, avoid using your phone when behind the wheel.
Is it possible to turn off Drive Safe and Save?
You can turn off Drive Safe and Save by uninstalling the app, but the company warns that this could cause you to forfeit your discount.
Is the whole household required to participate in Drive Safe and Save?
No, the entire household is not required to participate.
How does telematics work?
Telematics is the long-distance transmission of electronic data. Telematics devices have become commonplace in commercial trucking, where they are used to monitor truck/driver movements to ensure regulatory compliance and maximize efficiency.
A growing number of personal car insurance companies now offer usage-based insurance (UBI). These programs commonly use the capabilities of smartphones, including GPS, accelerometers, and wireless transmission, to gather and transmit data about their customers’ driving habits.
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