After another year of big increases in the price of car insurance, many people are looking for ways to save money on insuring their vehicles. If your budget is feeling the pain from higher auto insurance premiums, you might want to try something new: telematics car insurance, for instance.
Telematics, or “usage-based insurance,” is a special kind of car insurance that rewards safe drivers with discounts. This goes beyond “how many years have you been accident free.” Instead, telematics car insurance (with your permission) uses your everyday driving data to give you a personalized car insurance rate. These car insurance discounts can be significant.
Here are our top three picks for car insurance companies that offer the best discounts for safe drivers.
1. Nationwide SmartRide®
Nationwide’s SmartRide® program is our pick for the No. 1 telematics car insurance. That’s because Nationwide offers the biggest potential discounts — up to 40% based on your safe driving behavior. You also get an immediate 10% discount just for signing up.
Why we ranked Nationwide No. 1
- Biggest possible discounts: Your specific discount is not guaranteed and will depend which state you’re in. But if you’re a safe driver, Nationwide offers a higher potential for discounts (up to 40%) than any other insurance company we’ve found.
- Your premium won’t go up: Even if your driving behavior is sometimes less than “safe,” Nationwide promises not to raise your premium as a result of signing up for this program. (Not every insurance company offers this — some other companies will raise your premium based on risky driving data.)
- Available in most states: Nationwide SmartRide® is a truly, well, “nationwide” telematics car insurance program. It’s available in all states that Nationwide serves, except for Alaska, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, and Puerto Rico.
- Mobile app gets rave reviews: The Nationwide SmartRide® app (which you need to use to help track your driving data) gets some of the highest ratings we’ve seen. Android and iOS users both seem to love the app, giving it 4.6 out of 5 stars on the App Store and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Play.
- Get your discount fast: Most drivers can collect enough driving data to earn their discount within 80 days. Nationwide SmartRide® could be a good option to see quick results in the cost of your car insurance.
2. State Farm Drive Safe & Save™
State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save™ is another telematics insurance plan that offers significant discounts to safe drivers. We ranked State Farm No. 2 for the best telematics car insurance. Like Nationwide, State Farm offers an immediate 10% discount for enrolling in the plan. And although State Farm’s potential safe driving discounts are not quite as high as Nationwide’s, they’re still pretty impressive: up to 30%.
Why we ranked State Farm No. 2
- Big discounts: Not every car insurance company lists specific (average) potential discounts for safe driving on its website. State Farm offers safe driving discounts of up to 30%, which is a pretty big deal even if it’s not as high as the 40% available at Nationwide. Some State Farm safe driving discounts could end up being higher than 30%, but exact amounts will depend on your state.
- Your premium won’t go up: State Farm also promises not to raise your insurance rates based on risky driving behavior as part of this program. Your safe driving discount might be 0%, but it won’t cause your premium to go up.
- State Farm tracks distracted driving: Not every company does this, but State Farm Drive Safe & Save™ measures data about your phone usage while driving. This can be a good thing to help avoid distracted driving (and car crashes), but some people might feel that it’s too intrusive.
- State Farm app gets good reviews: The State Farm Drive Safe & Save™ mobile app gets high praise from iOS users (4.6 out of 5 stars on the App Store) but slightly lower ratings from Android users (4 out of 5 stars on Google Play). These are still some of the highest ratings we’ve seen from any insurance company’s telematics app.
- Available almost everywhere: Drive Safe & Save™ is available in almost all 50 states, but not in California, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island. North Carolina residents might not be able to get discounts through this program. Contact your State Farm agent with any questions.
3. Ford Insure (for Ford connected vehicles)
What if you could get car insurance from inside your car? With embedded insurance, you can! Ford Insure is a type of insurance that you buy from your car company. Ford Insure works with Ford vehicles that have connected vehicle technology — from model year 2020 or newer.
Read more: check out our picks for the best car insurance companies
Why we ranked Ford Insure No. 3
- Great discounts: Ford Insure is offered in partnership with Nationwide, and like Nationwide’s telematics program, it offers some of the biggest safe driving discounts — up to 40%. You get an instant 10% discount for signing up, and can also get bundled insurance discounts with homeowners insurance and pet insurance.
- No extra gadgets: Because Ford Insure works seamlessly with your connected vehicle technology, you don’t need any extra telematics plug-in devices.
- Only for Ford owners: One limitation of Ford Insure is that it’s only available to people who own newer model Ford vehicles.
- Wide national reach: Ford Insure is available almost everywhere in the U.S., except for Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma. Florida and New York residents should call Ford Insure to find out what options are available.
Bottom line: Our top three picks for car insurance companies with best discounts for safe drivers all offer unique benefits for telematics car insurance plans. You can get instant discounts of 10%, plus the chance to earn safe driving discounts of up to 30%-40%.
Our best car insurance companies for 2024
Ready to shop for car insurance? Whether you’re focused on price, claims handling, or customer service, we’ve researched insurers nationwide to provide our best-in-class picks for car insurance coverage. Read our free expert review today to get started.
Clinton Mora is a reporter for Trending Insurance News. He has previously worked for the Forbes. As a contributor to Trending Insurance News, Clinton covers emerging a wide range of property and casualty insurance related stories.