What Is Usage-Based Car Insurance? A Total Guidebook

Technology has made it possible for companies to come up with innovative and user-friendly insurance plans. Usage-based car insurance is one such technological boon for drivers with safe and conscientious drivers. Here, we explore the many benefits of usage-based car insurance!
usage based car insurance
What Is Usage-Based Car Insurance? A Total Guidebook
Usage-based insurance (UBI) is becoming more popular, with an estimated 18 million U.S. policyholders using telematics-based insurance in recent years. Let's learn some benefits of usage-based insurance in the USA.
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Usage-based car insurance is a boon for drivers with safe and conscientious drivers. Technology has made it possible for companies to come up with innovative and user-friendly insurance plans. It is possible to track driving metrics like speed, miles traveled, use of mobile phones, and driving time, etc. Based on these risk-related metrics and usage, car insurance companies usually calculate your premium. Usage-based insurance (UBI) is becoming more popular, with an estimated 18 million U.S. policyholders using telematics-based insurance in recent years. There are many benefits of usage-based car insurance that both providers and drivers can avail. Let’s explore!

What is Usage-based Car insurance? 

Usage-based car insurance policy (UBI) is also known as telematics insurance and pay-as-you-drive insurance. It is typically based on your driving habits and frequency. Traditional insurance policies consider factors like vehicle make the year, car model, location, driver’s age, etc.; usage-based policy goes beyond and considers your driving habits. The safer you drive on the road, the lower your premium gets. It also depends on how often you drive your car.

Insurers may offer up to 30% discounts for safe drivers enrolled in UBI programs. Remember, auto insurance costs vary widely depending on factors such as your age, driving record, and the type of vehicle you drive. You can get quotes from different insurance companies using Beem’s online comparison tool to compare prices and get the best deal as per your needs.

Factors Affecting Usage-based Car Insurance

The insurance providers use telematics or other gadgets or mobile apps to keep track of the driver. Insurance companies offer impressive discounts to drivers who follow the rules and have safe driving habits. Here are some factors that impact usage-based car insurance:

  • Braking: You can qualify for improved rates by avoiding sudden and brutal braking incidents.
  • Speed: Maintaining a safe and reasonable speed will be rewarded with favorable premiums.
  • Driving times: Driving during safer hours, particularly avoiding late-night driving after 11 p.m., can lead to better insurance rates.
  • Idle and traffic time: Minimizing time spent idling in congested traffic can positively impact your insurance costs.
  • Phone usage: Only using your phone while driving can contribute to lower premiums unless it’s for answering a hands-free call.
  • Total miles driven: Drivers who cover fewer miles on the road are often eligible for more affordable insurance rates under UBI programs.

Types Of Usage-Based Car Insurance 

Usage-based auto insurance is divided into various categories, and the premium is calculated based on different parameters. Here are the most popular types: 

Pay As You Drive (PAYD)

With PAYD, the insurance premium is decided on the actual distance driven. Users can select from different distance slabs depending on their driving habits.

Pay How You Drive (PHYD)

PHYD estimates the premium by monitoring driving patterns such as speed, acceleration, and braking habits. Risky behavior, like frequent hard-braking events and rash driving, can affect the premium.

Pay As You Go

Pay As You Go is a hybrid of the previous two types. It involves a subscription-based model where the policyholder is charged according to the distance driven or time. It benefits those who borrow or rent cars for a specific duration.

Talking about the benefits of usage-based car insurance, each UBI type offers policyholders greater control over insurance costs, as premiums are based on actual usage data and driving behavior rather than generic risk profiles.


How Does Usage-based Car Insurance Work?

Usage-based insurance (UBI) tracks your driving habit using a plug-in device for a certain period. After the UBI program concludes, your insurance company will consider the data collected when calculating your premium. The guidelines and potential savings offered through UBI differ from one insurance provider to another. Safer driving habits may lead to further discounts and perks, while unsafe practices can add to your insurance premium. There are two main types of usage-based programs:

Driving-based: This type measures your driving habits, including braking intensity, acceleration rate, and driving time.

Mileage-based: Pay per miles, or miles-based program, only monitors the number of miles you drive irrespective of your driving behavior. But these premiums may be higher than the driving-based model. 

also know about: liability insurance

Why Choose Usage-based Car Insurance?

By opting for usage-based car insurance, drivers may earn significant premium discounts by allowing their driving habits to be tracked. When you sign up for the UBI discount, you’ll receive a plug-in device or a mobile app to track your driving behavior. The tracking period lasts three to six months before you receive a discounted rate. Telematic devices are used to track driving. The technology used to collect driving data depends on your car insurance company. It can be through systems built into your car, a device plugged into your car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) port, or a smartphone app paired with a device installed on your windshield or rear window.

Telematics enables the transmission of data from moving vehicles to an information center. Whether your usage-based program uses an onboard diagnostics device plugged into your car or a mobile app, telematics collects information about your driving tendencies, such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, speed, distracted driving, and turning behavior.

Although having your driving habits tracked might cause some initial concern, reviewing the specific metrics tracked by individual telematics programs and comparing them with your driving habits can help you understand how enrollment might impact your insurance premiums. Some drivers may find that telematics programs incentivize them to reduce high-risk driving behavior.

Get Discounts With Usage-based Insurance

Many insurance companies offer usage-based discounts to save on insurance premiums. It is one of the many benefits of usage-based car insurance. You can even sign up for usage-based car insurance with an existing policy, as the discount will be applied when your coverage is renewed. Companies with UBI discounts often offer savings just for enrolling in the program. This means that even if your driving test doesn’t go perfectly and you don’t qualify for a significant discount, you can still receive some savings for participating.

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What are the Benefits of Usage-based Car Insurance?

Usage-based car insurance is beneficial to both insurance companies and drivers. They are capable of monitoring exact, more precise driving risks. Let us explore a few benefits of usage-based car insurance:

Improves Driving Habits

A recent study revealed that UBI programs have the remarkable potential to reduce risky driving behavior. 70% showed significant improvements in their driving habits. Drivers adopt safer practices, resulting in fewer accidents and claims risk. Insurance companies offer premium discounts ranging from 10% to 25% as a reward for their safe driving. 

Family Member or Employee Tracking

Insurance-approved vehicle trackers often include a software platform that enables real-time vehicle tracking and geofencing. Geofencing technology allows you to set predefined territories and receive alerts if your vehicle leaves these areas. This feature helps companies monitor their fleets’ efficiency, and parents keep tabs on their teenagers’ driving behavior. Additional tracking rules, such as receiving a text alert when a vehicle exceeds the speed limit, enhance safety and accountability.

Track Driving Behavior

The driving behavior of employees or teenage drivers can differ significantly when driving without supervision. Telematics devices provide an extra set of eyes on the road, offering real-time insights into driving habits. You get an alert if the system identifies any unsafe driving act that involves your vehicle. 

Enhancing Accident Investigations

By analyzing data such as braking intensity, speed, and acceleration, authorities and insurance claims adjusters can pinpoint the factors contributing to the incident with greater accuracy. The use of telematic devices makes it easier to investigate accidents.

Rewards for Safe Driving

You will get rewarded for your driving skills if you are safe. A good driving record leads to customized premium rates, reflecting your responsible driving behavior.

Stolen Vehicle Recovery

The gadgets and apps employed to track driving speed and habits come with GPS trackers. Location tracking makes it convenient and easy to trace stolen cars.

Reduces Claim Fraud

Telematics data help insurers to detect any fraudulent claims. They can easily detect fraud and take action. This

Improves Customer Loyalty

Personalized premium rates and discounts foster customer loyalty and satisfaction. Customers are more likely to stay longer with an insurer provider if they are getting great discounts and need to pay lower premiums. 

Easier Claim Management

Tracking and recording driving data streamline the claims process, making it more efficient for insurance companies and policyholders.


Usage-based car insurance is transforming how the insurance industry works—making it easier for the client and the provider. It goes beyond discounts and perks. Tracking devices create a safer driving environment and subsequently reduce accidents and fraud. Considering there are many benefits of usage-based car insurance, they are here to stay and, indeed, a wiser choice to make. Furthermore, don’t forget to compare car insurance quotes using Beem’s online tool to get the best deal for your budget and the best coverage as per your requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Start With Usage-Based Insurance?

To start with UBI, you need to look for an insurance company that provides such an option and sign up for this plan. You also need to put a gadget in your car or use an app on your phone that tracks your driving stuff, like how fast you go, how hard you brake, how quickly you speed up, and when you drive. The gadget or app then sends the info to the insurance company, which decides how much you pay based on your risk. You can see how you’re doing and get tips through a website or app. One of the many benefits of usage-based car insurance is that it is good for drivers who don’t drive a lot, drive safely, and avoid busy times.

How Does Mileage Impact Auto Insurance Rates?

Drivers with low annual mileage may qualify for lower rates than drivers with high annual mileage. Some insurance companies benefit drivers who drive less than a certain number of miles per year or use a device that tracks their driving habits and rewards them for safe and efficient driving. Consider reducing your mileage if you want to lower your auto insurance rates.

How Do Telematics Devices Work?

Telematics devices are instruments that track driving behavior and other data of vehicles using GPS, internet, and communication technologies. They can be installed in any vehicle, from cars to trucks, to send the data to the cloud or an insurance company. 

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Aniket Kulkarni

A seasoned Product Manager specializing in car insurance content, Aniket has a passion for simplifying complex insurance concepts. His strategic approach to content development reflects years of experience in the product development industry, coupled with a commitment to providing accurate, reliable information.


This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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