In cities where owning a car can be a pain (New York, Boston, Seattle), drivers are opting instead to share vehicles with other drivers, with companies such as ZipCar, Car2Go, RelayRides et al offering their services to help the public get around. All anyone needs beyond the basics is a subscription to the car-sharing service, a reservation, and a drop-off location when they are finished with their errands. Even big-name rental car companies like Enterprise and Hertz are jumping into the new business model for a test drive, Avis having gone the farthest by purchasing ZipCar in January of 2013.
However, the insurance offered by these peer-to-peer rental companies might not all that it’s cracked up to be, with severe consequences should anything remotely catastrophic occur.
It’s amazing what having a ton of cash can buy you these days. For example, if you have a tween daughter with big dreams to be on stage singing about her favorite Asian foods, up to $4,000 can buy her a music video featuring a clown in a panda costume, plus the music and lyrics.
That said, why allow your daughter to become the next big viral sensation (for all the wrong reasons), when for the right price, you can buy a wrecked 1995 Ferrari F50?
South Carolina’s WSPA TV is reporting that the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles is considering doing away with stamped metal plates and replacing them with new, electronic tags that would be linked to a central computer database. According to WSPA’s website, the new plates use “electronic paper” technology that can hold an image without power for up to 10 years. A clear coating on the plates could also generate small amounts of electricity, which would be required to change the image, from sunlight or even vibrations generated when a car is in motion. Read More >
Two things happen today, December 21: The world is coming to an end. And in Europe, insurance companies are no longer allowed to vary premiums according to a policyholder’s sex. The first thought that flashed through my caveman mind was: “Those accident-prone women drivers will get great deals, and us guys will pay for it.” Wrong on both counts. Read More >
Privacy is highly valued – until we can sell it for a small discount. Hundreds of thousands of auto insurance customers allowed an electronic ankle bracelet fitted to their car in exchange for a possible insurance discount. A year ago, Progressive offered its “”Snapshot“ device. It plugs into your car’s OBD system keeps and collects data that help Progressive to profile your driving. According to Reuters, Progressive already analyzed more than 5 billion driven miles. The company says its driving-behavior data is twice as good as any other factor in predicting risk, and that bad drivers cost Progressive more than twice as much as good ones. Read More >
So let’s say you don’t live in Washington or Oregon, and you don’t want to buy a GM vehicle, what do you do to save on car insurance? Easy: You say you drive it on your farm. Auto insurers offer farm-use discounts of up to 20 percent. And a lot of less-than-gentleman farmers harvest the savings. Read More >
We didn’t want to mention it when we wrote about GM’s buy a car, get free insurance deal. If we would have said it, it would have been the nasty B-word all over again. The rest of the media showed less compunction. “The worse you drive, the bigger the deal” headlined MSN Money. The deal can be staggering under the right or wrong circumstances, says MSN Money: Read More >
At GM, Joel Ewanick and Chris Perry need to repeat the miracles for which they became famous at Hyundai. So what do you do in that case? “Let’s just do the same thing again.”
If GM would do a repeat of the Hyundai Assurance Plan (lose your job, return your car), with a 10 year warranty thrown in, the journos would snicker, but the cars would fly off the lot. But at GM, this would be too gutsy. So what about the next best idea? That’s right: “Free insurance!” Read More >
Forget crash test results, star ratings, or the number of acronym-laden electronic nanny systems that a vehicle has. If you’re a play-it-by-the-numbers kind of person and want to know safe a car is, statistically speaking, you’ll want to check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new status report on “Dying In A Crash” [PDF]. The latest data comes from the 2006-2009 period, and includes only 2005-2008 model-year vehicles with at least 100,000 “registered vehicle years” in that time frame (if a vehicle was substantially redesigned in 2005-08, only the most recent design is included). Also,
researchers adjusted for a variety of factors that affect crash rates, including driver age and gender, calendar year, vehicle age, and vehicle density at the garaging location. Previously, researchers had adjusted only for driver age and gender.
“The adjusted driver death rates do abetter job of teasing out differences among vehicles, but they can only go so far. For one thing, people don’t behave the same when they’re behind the wheel of a sports car as when they’re driving a minivan. And some people are more susceptible to injury and death for reasons that can’t completely be adjusted for.”
Keep in mind that this data is for drivers only, since passenger data is harder to adjust for. Also, statistics don’t determine your safety on an individual level… that’s up to you every time you take the wheel. For more caveats (and the complete list), check out the report itself… or just wave this in front of your friends and family members who drive cars on the “highest rates of driver death” list, and hyperventilate at them. They’ll either thank you or tell you to take your nannyish concern elsewhere.
In what “could herald a new era in auto insurance” (if the Wall Street Journal is right), Progressive “introduced a new type of car insurance that offers a discount to policyholders based on real-time information about how and when they drive.”
And how will Progressive obtain all that info? Read More >
More and more Americans have recently detected that they have a rich uncle in Japan. The uncle’s name is Toyota. From LaHood to a bevy of lawyers, all have a yen for Toyota’s money. Latest (but surely not last) to join the fray: State Farm. You know, that same insurance company that had disclosed all those claims to NHTSA and never received an answer. They went public with the story a few days before the congressional hearings. Now we know why: Like a good neighbor, State Farms wants its money back.
“Armed with reports of accidents for which they’ve already paid claims, State Farm insurance has asked Toyota to repay them for any crashes related to unintended acceleration by its vehicles,” reports USA Today. The request for a little Farm Aid is just the beginning.
Other insurance companies are expected to – make that will follow and ask for money. In the trade, this is called “subrogation.” No, it’s not a kinky sex practice. Read More >
If news about recalls can’t bring Toyota sales in China to their knees, maybe insurance premiums will.
The Nikkei [sub] reports from China that insurance premiums on Toyotas have recently risen by as much as 40 percent. Insurance premiums are going up everywhere in China. No wonder, considering that more than 100,000 die a year on China’s roads, and about half a million are wounded. But Toyota premiums are rising particularly sharply. Read More >
Akio Toyoda is spending the weekend in Japan, being prepped for his appearance in front of the modern day version of the tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition, better known as a Congressional Hearing.
According to Reuters, and as suggested by TTAC, Toyoda “is likely to undergo intense preparation. Toyota may hire lawyers to drill him with mock questions, one consultant said. A company source said it had not yet been decided whether Toyoda would speak in Japanese or English, but the company has already contacted some translation companies.”
The weekend drill was interrupted by the news that State Farm had informed the NHTSA as early as February 27, 2004, that the insurance company had five claims of unwanted acceleration in the 2002 Lexus ES 300 during the previous 12 months. Reuters broke the story, writing “the insurer said earlier this month it had contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in late 2007. However, prompted by the public interest in Toyota, the insurer reviewed its records again and has now found that it contacted safety regulators initially in 2004.” All hell broke loose … Read More >
Electronic monitoring of motorists is gaining legitimacy, as the federal government explores a pay-per-mile road tax and California mulls pay-per-mile insurance. But will the possibility of improved efficiency and use-based taxation convince drivers to accept on-board electronic spies? Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has already expressed his fondness for pay-per-mile road taxation, and the Chicago Sun Times reports that he’s willing to pay participants nearly a grand to help him test the idea.