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My Experience Using Allstate's Drive Wise Device to Save Money on Auto Insurance

Tracking How I Drive With An Automated Device -- Will I Save on my Insurance Premium?

It does feel a little strange, like Big Brother is watching as I drive. But, then again, Allsate says I have the chance to save up to 30 percent on my auto insurance (which, for me, would be about $100 every six months) and it makes me more conscientious about my driving habits, which overall I think is a good thing. So I'm giving Drive Wise a test run for six months.

I found out about Drive Wise from my Allstate agent, when he called me just before my policy renewal. He told me that, yes, it would probably feel a bit intrusive at first, but I could give it a try and then return it at any time if I didn't like using the device. He told me I'd save an automatic, one-time minimum 10% discount for trying this system.

The device arrived by FedEx and was easy to install. I now monitor my driving on the Drive Wise website, along with my projected discount. I'll keep you up to date on my experience.

Please let me -- and others -- know what you think of using a device like this to save money in the "duel" comments below.

Please take a moment to answer this poll.

A screenshot from my Drive Wise account

A screenshot from my Drive Wise account

What Drive Wise Monitors

Here are the driving details monitored by the Drive Wise device. Not all of these things are counted toward or against your discount, and not all parameters are given equal weight towards that discount. But we, the drivers, don't know the actual algorithm.

  • Hard and Extreme Braking
  • Hard and Extreme Acceleration (These are not yet used in calculating the savings, because Allstate is still evaluating the risk-predictive value of these events.)
  • Miles Driven Over 80mph
  • When You Drive -- Days and Hours of the Day
  • Total Cumulative Miles Driven
  • Trip Time, Duration and Distance, and Speed

This is what the Drive Wise site says about the risk for various driving times on weekdays and weekends. When you log into your account, you'll see charts showing you when you've been driving based on these time slots...


  • High Risk 11pm - 4am
  • Moderate Risk 4am - 12pm
  • Low Risk 12pm - 11pm


  • High Risk 11pm - 5 am
  • Lowest Risk 5am - 11pm

Notes on the Discount and Hard/Extreme Braking:

Per the Drive Wise site: For your first full policy cycle, you'll get a 10% enrollment discount on your "major insurance coverages." (I now need to find out exactly what THAT means. I'd ASSUMED the discount was on my whole policy cost but apparently not.) After that, your discount -- if any -- will be calculated on a rolling basis, based on the previous 12 months (or 6 months when you begin) of driving.

As the program is currently set up, your performance rating cannot increase your premium, but your rating doesn't guarantee you a discount either.

Regarding hard braking, the scoring model is said to take into account the fact that some hard braking is occasionally necessary, even for the very safest drivers. (For example, someone might pull out in front of you.) So you're not supposed to be overly concerned with any one event recorded on your device.

The Drive Wise risk models are designed to look at "the big picture," and they say that if your driving habits are generally safe, you'll perform well over the long run. Likewise, if you or someone driving your vehicle could stand to leave a bigger space cushion between your car and others, the device is supposed to help you see that, and then you can monitor your progress.

If you have questions about Allstate's Drive Wise program, you can contact them at (877)431-7670.

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What My Auto Insurance Agent Didn't Tell Me

I really like my agent and have known him for a long time. But he did neglect to tell me a couple of things about Drive Wise.

First, AFTER THE INITIAL TRIAL POLICY PERIOD, there's a $10 fee for each 6 month policy period per enrolled vehicle, for the use of the device. So that cuts into any discount right there. IF one gets a discount at all (because it's not guaranteed). That could mean paying $10 extra! (Update 3/2013: A comment was posted on this page by an Allstate agent in another state, telling us that this $10 is only charged in some states, not others.)

Also, the rules specify a minimum number of days that the device must be installed for you to earn a "Performance Rating." Specifically, that's 90 days over the course of the six-month renewal period. And there are no exceptions to this rule, even if your car breaks down or you're in an accident and your car is out of commission for a while. If you fall short of the 90-day minimum, your Performance Rating will be 0%, and you won't earn a discount for that policy cycle. (But you'll still have the $10 fee. At least, I don't see where it says you won't.)

After getting my DriveWise device and reading the fine print, I spoke to my agent, and he said he didn't know about the $10 fee (now apparently discontinued in some states) or the part about "major coverages" and wasn't even sure what the latter means exactly. He said I'm the first one of his clients to use this thing. He asked me to keep him posted ... which I will.

Drive Wise installation

Drive Wise installation

Installing the Drive Wise Device

As my agent said, it was indeed very easy to install the device. But he did tell me that if I had any trouble with it, I could come by and he'd take care of it for me. I didn't need any help at all.

There's a port on or just under your dashboard, where auto mechanics stick a device that does engine diagnostics. That's where you put Drive Wise.

Just be careful not to hit it with your leg or foot when getting in and out of the vehicle, if the port is just to the left and below the steering wheel like mine is. I hit it once and knocked off the back cover. I was able to pop it back on and made sure the device was still installed properly, but there's the potential of breaking it, I would say.

Maximizing Your Savings with Drive Wise

And being a safer driver

Allstate suggests....

  • Give yourself enough time to get where you're going, and "drive easy."
  • Eliminate distractions. (I'd say that includes using a cell phone while driving.)
  • They say, "Practice the art of not being there in the first place." (But I'm not exactly sure what that means. Stay home?)
  • Mileage management. (I suppose this could mean planning your trip--ie errands--so you drive an efficient route with the least possible miles.)
  • Time management. (Kind of seems like the first point to me. That and not driving during the riskiest times if you can avoid it.)
Drive Wise

Drive Wise

My Driving with Drive Wise So Far

I'll track my driving "events" here

I work at home and, on a daily basis, don't usually drive outside of the small city of Flagstaff. So my average daily mileage and speeds are relatively low. The exceptions are road trips, usually no more than about three or four hours, one way, from home.

Those road trips usually involve driving on the freeway, where speed limits are as high as 75mph. Since the device monitors miles driven over 80mph, I'm expecting to have some distance in that category over time, since I occasionally speed up to pass a slower driver or semi truck.

Here, I'll keep track of any "events" the device records:

  • 12/29: One instance of hard braking on my first day with the device installed. I was going the speed limit and approaching a green light. It changed very quickly from green to yellow to red as I got close, and I made the decision to brake hard and stop rather than go through the light as it turned red.
  • 1/16: On a long weekend trip to Phoenix (a 2.5-hour drive), my husband did the driving and apparently had 2 instances of hard braking. I was a passenger the whole time, however, and I don't recall anything that I would have thought qualified as such. I do know other drivers occasionally veered into our lane or made a turn without signaling, and I'd certainly notice that we braked -- we had to! -- but "hard breaking? Well, Drive Wise says so.
  • 1/12: A hard acceleration event was recorded from about a week ago. I don't recall doing that, but it may have been when I pulled out into a lane of traffic and needed to get up to speed fairly quickly. Acceleration "events," however, aren't supposed to count against our Drive Wise discount, and I don't see that the recorded event made any difference in mine.
  • 2/17: Hard braking ... so it says. I'm so careful these days, I think I would have noticed. That Drive Wise device is either super touchy or lying.
  • 2/27: Hard braking ... are you kidding me?! Is this thing programmed to SAY you braked hard every so often? I've been ultra careful about this, and I was paying attention on that short drive yesterday. I definitely take issue with the device.
  • 4/3: Well, the device says I have a total of 9 events so far, with two hard braking events added since the last time I updated here and one hard acceleration. I still take issue with some of the "hard braking" events (you might want to read some of the guestbook comments below about strange hard braking statistics with DriveWise), but my projected discounted has remained at 24% for some time now.
  • 4/10: Now, that is TOTAL B.S.! The gizmo apparently thinks I had a hard-braking event today, and I know I did not. Never once in my short trip to town and back did I step on that brake in any way that would constitute hard. I never stopped short or even close to short. Now I'm convinced there's something fishy about the hard braking results. We'll see what my discount percentage does in the next few days, but it had better not go down. How bogus.
  • 4/30: Two more totally bogus hard braking events were (supposedly) recorded two and three days ago. I'm convinced that the device is calibrated incorrectly or too sensitively OR dishonestly, penalizing safe drivers for slowing down to stop for lights that turn yellow then red. I've been paying close attention when this happens, as I approach lights at or below the posted speed limit. I don't brake hard when this happens. If I were close enough to the light to require hard braking, I'd be able to legally and safely go through the yellow light. I tried to write to Allstate about this, but their contact form continuously says, "No special characters allowed" in the message when there are not. I'm frustrated with this program, to say the least.
  • 5/16: I think my Drive Wise device is picking up data from someone else's vehicle. (Sarcasm) Now it shows an extreme braking event that I know did not happen. I looked at the trip it "claims" included the event, and it was a short, slow drive at about 5am, when I was on my way from home to the Search & Rescue building for a non-emergency call. There were hardly any other cars on the road and I was paying close attention to my driving and the way I rolled to a stop for a red light. I barely had to touch the brake. So, I went onto the website and wrote a message to Drive Wise about the bogus results. Here is the response I got:

    "Thank you for writing to us. A hard braking event will feel different in different vehicles, but in general, it's coming to a stop with enough force to pitch the car forward, if even only slightly. A hard braking event triggers when there is a deceleration of at least 8 m.p.h. in one second.

    The threshold for an extreme braking event is a deceleration of 10 m.p.h. or more in one second. For the most vehicles this kind of braking event will activate the passenger restraint system (momentarily locking the seatbelts in place). It might also activate the vehicle's anti-lock brakes - though some extreme braking events are too brief to do that."

    ...Which even makes me MORE adamant that NO hard or extreme braking happened. Oh, but my discount went down, and it's not long before my renewal. How convenient. For Allstate.

Does Drive Wise actually encourage unsafe driving?

I feel like Drive Wise encourages running red lights. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but if I'm driving along at or even slightly below the speed limit, and the light I'm approaching goes from green to yellow to red very quickly--which seems to happen a lot around here--I have to make a decision to brake a little harder than usual or speed up and go through the red light just after it turns. I don't SLAM on my brakes to do that, but I sometimes have to slow down rather quickly. And each time that happens, Drive Wise records an "event" and lowers my projected discount. I'd be concerned that people who install Drive Wise might be tempted to run through those lights more often.

Obviously, Drive Wise can't detect someone talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, or doing other distracting things while behind the wheel, and those are much more dangerous habits than some hard braking. And, believe me, it doesn't seem to take much for Drive Wise to record hard braking.

One year later:

After all of the above, this might seem strange, but I haven't had a recorded hard-braking event in many months. I don't know if it's the new vehicle which drives differently or MY driving or what. Still, my discount won't go up beyond 20%. The max is supposedly 30, but I guess that, even though I've had no events, I must be doing something wrong.

And several months later: Turns out, my device was apparently on the fritz. I kept getting emails from the program, telling me there was no communication from it, thinking I'd taken the device out, which I hadn't. So they ended up sending me a new one, along with postage to return the old one ... and now the new thing is recording hard braking events, which I STILL don't think are accurate at all. But there goes my 20% discount.

Tracking My Projected Auto Insurance Discount

The website shows that percentage as it changes

As I check in with my Drive Wise account online, I'll update my project discount, cumulative miles driven and cumulative "events." My renewal date for my auto insurance is 6/24/12, so that's when my first discount will be finalized.

  • 12/29 -- 10% enrollment discount showing
  • 1/10 -- 24%: 86.1 total miles driven, 1 event
  • 1/12 -- 19%: Strange. Why did my discount go down 5% in two days when I've hardly driven and had no "events"?
  • 1/16 -- 12%: Down 7 percentage points after a long weekend in Phoenix -- drove down from Flagstaff -- with apparently 2 instances of hard breaking but never going over 80mph, even on the freeway where the speed limit is often 75mph.
  • 1/19 -- 5%: What!? How did it go down even more when I've done only a few miles of driving since Phoenix and with no events? And if I'm guaranteed a 10% discount for the first policy period using this device, HOW can it go BELOW 10%? Hmm...
  • 1/23 -- 14%: Going back up. The more I drive without any events, the more the events the Device has recorded are "diluted.")
  • 1/30 -- 17%
  • 2/12 -- 21%: One "event" was added, but it's a "hard acceleration," which they say doesn't count against you.
  • 2/23 -- 24% even with a hard breaking event added
  • 4/3 -- 24%: Nothing new to report. Says I have a total of 9 events--2 hard accelerations and seven hard brakings.
  • 4/30 -- 24% but waiting to see if this will drop, because of two BOGUS events supposedly recorded
  • 5/16 -- 21%
  • Final Policy Period Discount -- 21% BUT ... of course my base premium went up for no particular reason (that is, no accidents, claims, or changes on my part) and this discount only applies to "major coverages," so my final premium ends up only a few dollars less than my last renewal.

    My total discount ended up being $23.00 after all of this. So 21%, when applied to "major coverages," doesn't amount to very much.

More updates...

  • 9/28 -- 24% projected discount: I have a new vehicle now, a Rav4 instead of a Corolla. What feels like a hard braking now doesn't usually register as one on DriveWise. Did they tweak the device, or is it due to the new, heavier vehicle?
  • 10/16 -- 20%: My discount was reduced for no apparent reason, because I've had no new events for a long time. I called DriveWise, and the rep suggested "maybe" it was because of mileage. That makes no sense, as I've not driven any more than usual, and I really don't drive a lot considering I work from home. I questioned this reason, and he said he really couldn't give me a "better" explanation. Nice, huh? I'm getting close to policy renewal time, and my discount mysteriously drops.
  • 6/20 (8 months later): Still at 20%, where I've been since my last update. Sure, it's a nice discount, but I haven't had a SINGLE hard-braking or other event. So, I don't know why I'm not receiving the full (max) 30% discount.
  • 8/20 (2 months later): STILL at 20%. No additional events recorded. No matter what I do or don't do, it's like they've fixed my discount at 20%.

Returning the Drive Wise Device and Exiting the Program

I read on the Drive Wise website that f you decide not to continue in the program, you can cancel at any time. You have to notify your Allstate Agent or call 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828). They'll update your policy information and adjust your premium, then give you instructions on returning the device to Allstate at no cost to you.

Would YOU Use a Device Like Drive Wise?

What do you think?

If it meant possibly saving 30% on your auto insurance, would you use Drive Wise or a similar device?

And if this Isn't the Hokiest Commercial - Are they serious?

Love how she drives. Very attentive!

© 2012 Deb Kingsbury

Comments About Drive Wise or a Similar Device? - Please share your experience and opinion.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on December 26, 2019:

After so many years, I've almost forgotten the device in the car (and we have a second one in our truck). We've gotten used to the discounts too, which oddly now seem to stay the same, year after year, for each vehicle.

Kelly Ann Christensen from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas on December 25, 2019:

Yuck! I don't think I would like this at all. Thanks for the information and article about Drive Wise.

Nicky on September 20, 2019:

I had 1 hard breaking incident since using the app for 4 weeks now. Since then I've had 5 just this week. I know I haven't done ANY hard breaking since the first incident. My agent suggested trying your phone (if you are using the app) in different spots. It's usually in my purse in the backseat, but I'll try using the cup holder and see if it makes any difference. I like the app so far minus the hard breaking reports and it seems I am not the only one reporting this!

Maurice Glaude from Mobile on June 29, 2019:

It just sounds like good marketing.

Jeff McKee on December 05, 2018:

Got to agree with the issue of the hard braking definition. Totally unrealistic!! Just today I was coming from a plaza to another plaza. Total trip was 3 minutes and just shy of a mile. No traffic lights to stop for. Only had to slow down to wait to enter the 2nd plaza and to park the car. No sudden stopping at all. Per the Drivewise report , at the time I pulled into the parking lot and parked the car was when the hard braking took place. No way was there any hard braking involved , but the car did slow down in order to park.

They definitely need to re-evaluate the incident definitions to be more realistic and upgrade the system!

Letha Lampkin on November 15, 2018:

The only thing they found was that I braked too often. I drove almost entirely to work and back. The drive to work had a lot of stop signs. I guess maybe they thought I should have run right thru the stop signs. I think it is a scam.

Carol Shepherd on July 19, 2018:

I've had my DRIVEWISE DEVISE from Allstate 1 month and have had 17 "hard Braking, and 2 SEVERE BRAKING. i 'M LIKE you in the factr that I DO STOP for caution lights.

I called and they fed me a line of bull. I ease up to a stop so that I don't "jerk" the car.


Fred on October 15, 2017:

I have used the Allstate Drivewise App for 6 months. My reward was about 14% ($61.00). In 6 months it recorded 3 hard braking incidents and 1 extreme braking incident. I also have a Garmin camera on my dash that records everything (time by the seconds, all GPS data, and of course, the video). When I reviewed the "extreme" braking incident, there was NO braking at all! I called Allstate to provide the video evidence but they weren't interested - they just thanked me for calling and advised me to delete the false braking incident. I did delete it, or so I thought, but it is still listed for the month of September, 2017. With their newest app (last week), I have found Drivewise to be useless. MOST of my trips aren't being reported - usually only 1 leg of the trip might show up - and another "hard brake" incident showed up last night. Again, the Garmin video proves it was NOT a hard braking incident (I was the only one on the road). Bottom line: this appears to have degenerated into a scam - a false promise. Drivewise in highly unreliable.

Worst of all - while I did get a $61.00 reward, my insurance went up $70 for the next six months! SOME REWARD, HUH?

Marek on May 15, 2017:

Drivewise is a joke. 1456.8 miles per year, 1118 safe miles, 1456.6 below 80mph. 14events, 10 hard breaking (NYC stop and go), 1 extreme breaking (animal on the road) 12% discount !!!! and remember You have the spy on Your board.

AMIGIRL on October 26, 2015:

I have had my Drivewise device for almost 2 months now. I am annoyed for several reasons. The first being that I only have an A rating and not an A+ for my mileage driven. Do I need to stay home and not drive at all to get an A+? I bought my car on January 2015 and as of October, I still have less than 3000 miles on it. I was recorded 4 times for hard braking, which I do not recall either. The last one indicated in the Drivewise website that I hard braked from 12.4 mph and got down to 2.3 mph, indicating no abrupt stop at all, only a slow down. This again lowered my percent. If they do not rectify this system, I will be seeking another ins. co.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on July 19, 2015:

Sounds like they have a lot of software bugs with this device. The fact that it stopped recording and you had to get a replacement, which then started recording quick stops again, all indicates that they have problems with accuracy.

I don't have Allstate anymore. A few years ago they canceled my home insurance policy because they anticipated a lot of hurricanes, which actually happened. They were right. But in any case, when they canceled my home insurance, I took my car insurance away from them too. Since then they've been sending me invitations to come back. How silly!

As for the Drive Wise, I think if I were to use it, I'd have problems with quick stops too. Because we started having red light cameras in my town a few years ago. Prior to that I used to go through yellow lights when I was close anyway. But since the red light cameras were installed, they reduced the timing of the yellow so that it goes from green to red in a fraction of a second. When that first happend I got a ticket for running a red light. So now I slam on my brakes if I'm right up at the light when it turns yellow. Some day I may get rear ended, but I don't want to get red light tickets anymore either.

So I guess if my insurance company ever offered a device like the Drive Wise, I'd pass on it. Sounds more like a frustrating nuisance than what it might be worth.

Suzie from Carson City on May 23, 2015:

Oh brother, ramkitten...I warn you, my answer will be LONG......I suppose that first I should tell you that I pay the least amount of money for the very best and most complete coverage, available to drivers from any company.......The reason is simple. I have a meticulous....totally flawless 50 year driving record. Not a single moving violation nor an accident~~ in 50 years of continuous driving. According to last statistical calculation, my category of drivers represent less than 5% of the American driving population.

In addition to this, I take the State Vehicle & traffic exam every 2 years that presents an online course on any and all updates in motor vehicle laws per State.

But.....incurable tight wad that I am, if something comes along that promises to REDUCE a premium further, I'm all over it. Therefore I had a drive wise device sent from my friendly Allstate agent.

For the first few weeks it was "A+ Driver" free sailing..... Then one very icy winter day, I checked my Drive wise scores and was FLOORED!! I had been graded a B-!! "THIS will never do", I say to myself.

I investigated my scores per category.....and the only thing noted in any negative manner was "4 incidents of HARD BRAKING"....I checked the dates. I was on the phone with drive wise in a heartbeat!

My tirade went sort of like this. "OK people.....just digging for some sign of trouble, aren't you?.....Explain this to me: You noted 4 incidents of hard braking, which BTW, occurred on the SAME day within seconds or minutes of one another......So what was your THINKING??? This 60-some year old lady with the meticulous driving record, one day went berserk and took her car on the road to simply slam on the brakes 4 times in a row to piss people off?????" Hello...does anyone there ever scratch their heads and see this is a very UNUSUAL & isolated incident?" I went on to explain that on that day, what really occurred was that I was attempting to drive out of my driveway filled with snow and driveway has an INCLINE at it's entrance which LEADS TO A MAJOR HIGHWAY! I was gaining a running start to make it up the incline and then HAVING TO STOP SHORT AS OPPOSED TO JUST BARRELING OUT ONTO THE HIGHWAY!!! As you can clearly took me 4 tries.

Exactly HOW does this reflect negatively on my score???

Soooo I got the big apologies and the next thing I know, I'm back to an A+.

After that, it one one incident of nit-picking after another that THEY translated as a MINUS...which in fact simply were NOT. I knew I had no intention of calling Drive wise each and every time to educate these people so I just emailed them of my TOTAL dissatisfaction with program and was removing the device immediately.....and if they gave me any lip, there are HUNDREDS of other companies besides ALLSTATE who would love my business!

They asked me to return the device. I said, "It's in my purse. Come and get it! I'm not wasting my gas nor paying any postage for YOUR convenience!" I guess they decided I could keep it!

And THAT my friend, is my drivewise experience.

Joe on November 23, 2014:

My experience with Drivewise so far is that it's ludicrously inaccurate. For example, it shows my drive to work on Friday, but not a trip home. Apparently I'm still at work . . . two days later. Similarly, the web site shows a four-mile trip to a store today, but a 2.5 mile trip home on the same route. So, if the drivewise device can't track mileage accurately, how do I know it tracks *anything* accurately?

alterego71 on July 20, 2014:

I have the DriveWise module on my Chrysler 300. The majority of the time this car sits in the driveway. I purchased the car for my wife so she would have a safe reliable vehicle to drive to replace her 25 yr old Toyota (now the daughter's first car). Since my wife works from home, the car barely gets driven at all. Our projected discount has never gone above 14% even though we have A+ to A- ratings in miles, braking, and speed categories. However, due to their risk evaluations for the time of day you drive, we have a C rating there. I was doing some research in an effort to maximize our discount and found that the module alerts a hard braking event for periods where the brake pedal is depressed 50% or more. Even though a person may decelerate appropriately when approaching a light or a turn, if you get the distance wrong and have to depress the brake a little harder at the end, you will more than likely trigger an event. I was reviewing my events one day and noticed that two of the events showed the vehicle slowing from 24 to 11 mph and 18 to 9 mph. The statement regarding "pitching" the car forward is a falsehood. Common physics dictates that every vehicle on the road, no matter how you use the brakes, pitches forward on deceleration. However, this is not the cause of our discount being so low as we have an A rating in braking.

The time of day you drive plays a HUGE role in determining your discount. The average person, with the average job, cannot possible get ahead in this metric based on the hours that determine risk levels. If you drive TO work at 7:30 a.m. you are in low risk time . . . you just can't drive home at 5 p.m. or you will be in moderate risk time. Now if you need to stop by the store, go to a meeting, out to dinner, visit a friend, etc. in the evening you will always have a higher number of miles driven in the moderate risk area. You can totally forget about driving your vehicle if you work nights. Apparently, the geniuses who created this device and the metrics that Allstate use to determine discounts only drive from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. during the week.

I am pleased to save even a few dollars a month on my insurance ( I like saving money) and I am not complaining about receiving a discount. However, I am a person who strives to achieve maximum success in whatever I do and this device is driving me insane. I know the personal target is to hit that 30% mark or as close as I can get. I know that realistically this is impossible. I have decided to lower my expectations of maximum success to 10% and drive normally again instead of constantly being distracted from what is going on around me to focus on my speed, braking, what time it is, and how far I've gone. I think if I take this approach I will be much happier with the program than I currently am.

acarich on July 15, 2014:

I only had drive wise installed for a little over a week when suddenly the check engine light came on? Then I noticed when I pulled out from a stop my transmission was slipping. So I went to a transmission shop and he checked the code and told me that code po700 meant a communication problem between the engine and transmission. He recommended removing the device for awhile to see if the code appears again.I'll give you an update in a couple of weeks.

aversas on June 26, 2014:

@amallo: My wife had the same exact problem in her 2006 Cobalt. GM told her they advise against using DriveWise in their vehicles.

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seatrain on February 11, 2014:

DriveWise was used after agent mentioned possible savings, I tried it and liked it my numbers were great in my 2011 Ford Escape. I purchased a 2014 Ford Escape and surprise, surprise Allstate told me it did not qualify for their DriveWise program. After asking why and receiving some vague answers that made me question the true knowledge of the CSR giving the info I thought Iâd do some checking on my own. I still had the DriveWise device as Allstate had not yet requested I send it back to them. Plugged it in to the OBD port on the 2014 Escape and got the same lights I had when it was plugged into the 2011 Escape this made me think it would work the same way in this vehicle. The OBD port is generic in nature and that made me wonder why Allstate would exclude a newer model of a vehicle they support. It seems Ford Escape designers on the 2014 Escape added a plastic door that swings down to expose the OBD port, when closed it blends in with the dash. The 2011 Escape had an exposed OBD in the same location as the 2014 , lower left side of the dash. Do to the length of Allstateâs Drive Wise module the door cannot be closed when the module is in place. And that is the REAL reason the 2014 Ford Escape âDoesnât qualify for DriveWiseâ I did not feel like I was âIn good handsâ after that discovery! I spoke with my agent and mentioned I donât mind leaving the door down and when a âpossible safety hazardâ was mentioned I stated I would be happy to detach the door as it would be easy to do and would do nothing to detract from the vehicleâs appearance. The reply was âWell, even if you did that we couldnât add DriveWise to your policy as it would not appear or be grayed out in the dropdown menu that is used to add DriveWise to a policyâ âWe just would not be able to add it to your policyâ . I fully understand the agents explanation and realize itâs not the agent but Allstate Corporate that is doing this.

To sum it up: Allstate offers me a way to save money on my rates by showing them, through monitoring of my driving habits, Iâm a safe driver. I say sign me up, get very high marks and Iâm on the road to saving some money on my premium. Allstate then pulls the rug out from under me because their module is too long. Just doesnât seem right to me and I hope it doesnât happen to you. Progressive may just have a new customer coming their way. Iâve done some checking and it looks as if the size of their OBD module for their Snapshot program (same type program, in fact I believe Progressive had it out first) would allow the dash OBD port door to be closed with the module plugged into the 2014 Escape . Allstate you need to make some allowances to remain successful and keep your customers happy in this area.

micronot on January 21, 2014:

@amallo: Yes, I had a similar issue with my Chevy Cruze, with the gauges and the failure warnings. My car is a stick shift, so no shifting issues. When this would happen, I was able to unplug the device and plug it back in and it would be OK for a few months, but this happened to me about 3 times, then the device failed. This never did any damage to the car luckily.

I contacted Drivewise, and they sent me a new device. The new device is smaller. I have not had any problems at all with the new device. Contact them, tell them about your issues, and ask for a new device. Or, leave it unplugged and when they contact you complaining that there is no signal, tell them the device must be broken and ask for a new one.

amallo on January 21, 2014:

I plugged the drivewise into my car on January 9th, on January 12th my transmission starting acting funny. I would be cruising around going 45 mph then all of a sudden it would downshift on its own and my car would jerk like someone driving a stick shift who does not know how. over the next few days I would have random warning lights popping on and off, car security, seat belts, random dinging...finally on this past Saturday January 18th my husband was driving my car and all of a sudden all of the gauges, speedometer, fuel, engine heat, all of them started to flip up and down from bottom to top then each of the diagnostic codes started flipping through on my dash. it was like a ufo hovering over the car in a movie. he pulled out the drivewise at a stop light within 1/2 mile all of the activity stopped and it was fine the past two days. now this morning the gauges were doing the same thing and I had no power steering. I have two small children and I am just glad it did not happen while I was driving them to school and daycare. anyone else have anything similar happen to them?

â³ â½

amallo on January 21, 2014:

I plugged the drivewise into my car on January 9th, on January 12th my transmission starting acting funny. I would be cruising around going 45 mph then all of a sudden it would downshift on its own and my car would jerk like someone driving a stick shift who does not know how. over the next few days I would have random warning lights popping on and off, car security, seat belts, random dinging...finally on this past Saturday January 18th my husband was driving my car and all of a sudden all of the gauges, speedometer, fuel, engine heat, all of them started to flip up and down from bottom to top then each of the diagnostic codes started flipping through on my dash. it was like a ufo hovering over the car in a movie. he pulled out the drivewise at a stop light within 1/2 mile all of the activity stopped and it was fine the past two days. now this morning the gauges were doing the same thing and I had no power steering. I have two small children and I am just glad it did not happen while I was driving them to school and daycare. anyone else have anything similar happen to them?

â³ â½

AutoInsuranceGuru on October 22, 2013:

wow. Really good lens- I have been wondering about this for a while. Its pretty telling that there is a fee to have this after the first period.

mros71 on October 18, 2013:

I signed up when I first learned about Drive-wise, and was anxious to use it. The only category that I didn't get an A+ in was time of day, since much of my driving is in the afternoon. My rating for most of the six months I used it projected a 21% discount. When shopping for a new car I consulted my agent to see that the model I was considering would be covered. He advised me that the 2014s had not yet been approved, but all earlier models of that car were, so I bought the 2014. That was in mid-May, and more than five months later Allstate has still not approved my model, or, according to my agent, ANY 2014 model. They haven't disapproved it, they just haven't gotten around to updating the list of eligible vehicles, and since I renew in November, I've lost the discount that I had earned, through no fault of my own. My wife's car, which is a 2010 Hyundai Elantra, was not on the approved list, so I get no advantage there, even though she drives very little and would likely have a superior rating. I'm very disappointed that Allstate was a leader in using this technology, and then seems to have totally dropped the ball.

anonymous on September 05, 2013:

@anonymous: Drivewise is stacked against you if you average 30 miles or more or per day. Mileage presents 15% of the maximum 30% discount advertised. The other factors: Braking, time of day, and over 80 mph each give you a 5% or another possible 15%. To receive the maximum 30% you must have an A+ rating. My rating after 90 days is C- for mileage, A+ for braking, A+ for mph over 80 and B for time of day. I am projected to receive a 5% discount. This amounts to approximately $15. Consider a person who drives 3600 miles a year. This person would receive an A+ . Suppose this driver gets C- for braking, C- for time of day and C- for mph over 80. Allstate would reward this person with a 15% discount at renewal since low mileage is the key to getting a large discount. Who do think is the more at risk driver my profile or the one above? Allstate says the low mileage driver. This is not realistic. I think most drivers would says the person who is braking hard, driving at risky times and going over 80 mph is more at risk to himself and to others on the road. Mileage should not be the 50% of the rating. Allstate is not being realistic. If you live in the suburbs or rural areas you have to use your vehicle to get to work and other routine events on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Who doesn't use their vehicle to go on vacation. This program is designed for people who drive 10 miles or less a day. I wish I had the facts before I began. It is also very difficult to get Drivewise customer service to tell you these facts. Be informed before you agree to this program.

anonymous on July 25, 2013:

@anonymous: I am new to Allstate and installed the Drive Wise four days ago. The first day I drove the car everything was fine. The next day I started the car and my "check engine" light came on and has stayed on. Drive Wise rep suggested I remove it, wait five minutes, and reinstall. I did that but the check engine light remains on. None of my driving data transmitted except for the first day so sounds like the device is faulty. My concern is did it damage my car's computer? I drive a 1998 Camry with California emissions. So for a small discount on my policy I might have done serious damage to my car and I am sure that Allstate will not offer to pick up the repair bill. I am returning the device, especially after reading of your troubles, PA Driver.

anonymous on July 12, 2013:

We have only had Drive Wise for a short while (<90 days) but just encountered an issue where our 2004 Chrysler Town and Country stalled while going down the road at about 30 miles per hour. It continued to have problems stalling (only going a block or two before cutting out) until I removed the Drive Wise unit. After that it ran perfectly. I was wondering if anyone has experienced anything like this. It's hard to see where stalling unpredictably would result in a safer driving experience (tongue in cheek). I too have concerns with having such monitering devices becoming the new norm, and frequently found myself somewhat in a quandry when confronted with a yellow traffic light, knowing that almost certainly that stopping would generate a hard braking event. Also I think there is element of luck as to whether you are forced to drive in adverse conditions (like rush hour in the Philly area) and that some might be better off without the device if their driving conditions are frequently worse than the average driver would encounter. We're returning the unit for the one car I'll see how it goes for the other two.

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

I've had the Allstate device since Jan 13. In May it stopped recording my trips. After numerous called to Drive Wise, they finally sent me a new device after 3 1/2 weeks. Got my insurance renewal and it was higher than the last 6 months. Went directly to my agent's office to find out why. My initial 10% discount was removed by Drive Wise because they said I removed myself from the program, when in reality, it was because of the defective device, and by the time I got my nenewal, the new device was installed in my car. My agent is still trying to get the 10%, reinstated, plus the additional amount for having over 90 days of driving recorded. It's been 2 weeks. Also all my grades are "A", but my Projected discount is on 12%. Been nothing but a headache - I'm switching companies!

anonymous on July 03, 2013:

Starting out from a traffic light, if you accidentally kick the gas pedal, you could go from say 1 - 10 MPH w/in a second, triggering an "extreme breaking event." Also, if you have a clutch, and you shift into neutral, and kill the engine, and coast to your destination, say from 16 MPH, Drivewise thinks you went from 16 MPH to Zero instantly, and you'll trigger an Extreme Breaking Event.

anonymous on July 01, 2013:

@anonymous: Completely's a way for them to justify increases despite if you have an excellent driving record and no points....that should be reason enough to give me a discount without recording everything I do!

anonymous on July 01, 2013:

I was glad you offered this information. Personally, I was mad when out of the blue I received a device after i added a vehicle after we sold a previous one. It began with me asking for quotes on 2 cars we were considering getting. One was extremely high on an old beat up car but it had low miles and many things done to it. I checked again and I had been misquoted on a price. i ended up getting a focus temporaily although it is not as mechanically sound. When i added it, they gave me a quote and did not mention anything about the program. They had enrolled me in it anyways. I have no accidents and perfect driving record. However, I had told them I would teaching my child to drive in it since I wanted to know if he needed to be added. Since I'm using it as a vehicle to help my child as well as an extra vehicle, i felt very upset they didnt inform me of it. Second, I know hes not going to drive perfect at first and I want him to have plenty of time to I get punished with mileage and if he brakes to hard or accelerates to fast. Hes learning...that's the point. For the little amount of simply not worth it. The car is old will probably have goof ball readings simply because it's old and beat up. I'm sorry, I don't believe that these monitors wont eventually hurt drivers because of what they have recorded on them. Insurance will go up, they just find another excuse to raise it. I returned mine immediately and told them I didn't appreciate not being told about it. I had already checked some other insurance companies and they can give about the same rate and a couple even gave better rates without devices. If they want to keep raising it to much..I'll just go. Before i added the car...I was paying the same cost for 2 vehicles on plpd that I was paying for on 1 plpd car and full coverage on another vehicle 2 yrs ago.

anonymous on May 31, 2013:

You experience validates all of my concerns - TRUST: It has not overcome the lack of trust most people have regarding their insurance company; CUSTOMER RELATIONS: Insurance companies are not equipped to interact with customers more frequently than 1-2x/year; AN END IN ITSELF: Insurance companies need to offer MORE than insurance discounts (gas, parking, coffee?) for participating; ACCESS TO SAVINGS: The carrot of the big savings somewhere in the future isn't meaningful, I want my savings NOW; INTRUSIVENESS: the device is annoying, honestly; HELP: How about some route guidance, help me improve my efficiency, did I mention offer me gasoline discounts at the stations on my most-used routes? How about weather and hazardous driving condition warnings? - State Farm is a little better - providing vehicle diagnostic and service information, but NOT providing drive-by-drive insights. But both programs fall short. State Farm offers 5% sign up discount with 30-40% discount potential.

anonymous on May 15, 2013:

About the 'false' hard breaking and fast acceleration hits. If an accelerometer chip is used, a lot can depend on the angle the OBDI connector - the way it is mounted under the dash. You could try re-mounting the connector at right angle to the 'flight' path. This would reduce the sensitivity of the device. Just my 2 cents worth....

anonymous on May 13, 2013:

Don't think I would use this device......think we should all take a driver safety course every couple years to remind us that we are not the only ones on the road..

mariacarbonara on May 05, 2013:

Nice idea in theory. Probably wont work in practice. One problem is that a lot of people think they are good or safe drivers. The same people that will weave in and out of traffic or accelerate hard and brake hard or drive right up behind other dirvers.

anonymous on April 30, 2013:

The program super-sucks. Just drive 90 and slam the brakes !

anonymous on April 24, 2013:

Doesn't add up. I have an overall rating of C with my lowest score being C+ for mileage. B- for braking and time of day and A- for over 80 mph. That is A- for being 0.2 miles over 80 mph. How does that average to C to make discount 0%.

other car is rating of B. mileage is A-, braking C-, time of day B- and over 80 mph A+.

if mileage is making first car a C why is isn't second car getting a high rating.

anonymous on April 20, 2013:

I have been using Drive-Wise since 1/18/2013. Currently, I'm at 12% discount with a B+ rating. I have a couple of issues with this program and will most likely send it back. For starters, here is my grade: A+ braking, A for time of day, A+ Speed under 80, B mileage. Now, I realize that Allstate states that their calculation isn't based on a straight assessment, but I think they basically just use your mileage as a factor and therefore braking, speed, and time of day make up only a very small percentage of your actual grade. My next issue is that I only drive about only 169 miles a week or about 8,000 miles a year. To me, that is a very small amount of miles, yet it equates to only a B. Basically, what I'm saying is that the only way I can get a good grade on my driving is to not drive my car. Now, from the insurance company's perspective, this makes sense because no matter how good of a driver you are, if you are on the road, then you have a higher percentage of getting into some sort of accident be it your fault or not. In the end, coupled with the fact that the 12% savings doesn't come off the entire bill and that I will save about 5 bucks off my bill, it isn't worth it. Furthermore, it doesn't make me a better driver because I rarely use my brakes anymore in order to prevent hard braking marks. The only thing I will actually save is my brakes because at this rate, I will need new pads in about 10 years. In my opinion, Drive Wise is a waste of time and unless they drastically change their grading system or increase the payoff, it isn't worth it.

anonymous on March 19, 2013:

Allstate Drivewise vs. Progressive snap shot. One other thing i like about the Drivewise is allows better discounts and room for improvement. This is what i mean- with progressive's 'snap shot' what ever you did 'wrong' (hard breaking, high miles cuz you took ONE long trip on vacation one year) stays with's a life long accumualtion. The negatives things you did keeps getting averaged in. But with drivewise, it seems allstate is pushing the safe idea of learning from mistakes or learning over time. once you renew (not sure if it's after 6 months or two renewals like once year), the drivewise will re-set itself. the past is the past. the whole point is to work on the negative and Improve driving habits...try to do better next time. Being the mom of a teen i can tell you that my dghtr was very disappointed that she learned nothing in drivers ed class like we did in the 1980's. The kids only watch movies to scare them. But they do no learn the basics like how to determine how far you should drive behind someone. And when at a stop light you should be able to see the tires of person in front of you. People seem to drive way too close to the car in front of them these days. After having drivewise for a year or even six months and you realize how often you have to brake hard becuz of start to realize that the "hurry syndrome" in this country has made many people drive on each other's tails. Drivewise seems to encourage slowing down and more relaxed driving....not driving on top of someone. I'm starting to sound like a commercial for drivewise....but i am certainly an long as you use it to IMPROVE safe driving habits...which lets be the WHOLE point. We are rewarded for safe driving. I like it.

anonymous on March 19, 2013:

@Ramkitten2000: I am only speaking for Ohio regarding the fee. You may not want to update the info....other states still may charge it, i have no clue. But in Ohio, I know for certain that it started being offered with the fee and they quickly got rid of it due to customer response. its nice to know that sometimes the different companies we deal with actually DO listen to our input. so again, no fee in ohio, but i am not educated on other states.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on March 18, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks for sharing your positive opinion about the DriveWise program. It's always good to get different views. And thanks for the update about the fee. My agent hadn't told me the fee has been discontinued .. which is good to hear. Last I knew--based on a comment posted here on this page by an Allstate agent--the fee depended on which state you were in. But perhaps now they've done away with it in all states. I'll add a note to my review to let people know. Thanks again.

anonymous on March 18, 2013:

Interesting....some things need to be updated becuz i was told last year that there was a $10 fee for drivewise and i wouldn't try it. Then allstate got rid of that fee completely. thats why i decided to try it. I verified with allstate that no fee comes into play. they got rid of that fee which is accurate. Since i leave a lot of space between myself and car in front of me i knew i wouldnt have many occurs with hard braking. and its true....i earned 23% off my "main coverages" and noticed an awesome decrease in my premium. For someone who was against it at first, let me say i am THRILLED WITH MY DISCOUNT AND DRIVEWISE overall! :) My agent DID explain that all discounts are figured on the 'major coverages' like liability collision and comp. you don't get discounts off of rental or towing or uninsured motorist. fine with me. i have learned that is very normal in the insurance world. no one can get 30% discounts with drivewise because no one is perfect and squirrels jump out in front of people and green lights turn red quickly sometimes. The thing that seems to be ticking people off is that on their website they start us off with a 30% discount and we watch that discount decrease over time. But who cares? even if you get 10 or 15% off its HUGE. My one suggestion is that maybe allstate should start us off at 15% on the website when we log in and we get to see that discount go up or down depending on our driving habits. The fact that they start us off at 30% and we watch it go down is what is getting people cranky. regardless, our family loved our first discount and it encourages leaving enough room between you and car in front of you which we have been able to point out to our teenager with evidence from the drivewise website. we Love It!

anonymous on March 13, 2013:

This Drive Wise program is a SHAM!! How is a driver to be penalized for braking to avoid running Traffic Lights and avoiding accidents? As well, one is penalized for driving at certain hours of the day. Most of us work...most of us have family obligations after work. I can understand rapid acceleration and prolonged speeds above 80mph. Truly, I discern that some drivers will save for driving very little on average-maybe. But, the vast majority of drivers will be penalized soon or not too far in the future when the Basic Rate Structure is revised upwardly. After all, this is an Insurance Company that is profit-driven!!!

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on March 08, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks for the info! As far as the $10 fee, someone from Allstate made a comment here a while back, saying it depends on the state you're in. So, some people will get the fee, and others won't. Glad you're one of the lucky ones that doesn't. :-)

anonymous on March 08, 2013:

**IMPORTANT** Every now and then you need to make sure the device is securely seated. About 2 months after installing the device, as I was driving my car was reporting that every system needed service - I was getting warnings that the power steering, traction control, stabli-trac, ABS brakes, everything was failing. This happened a few times randomly, and when I took the vehicle in for service I asked them to look into this. The dealer could find nothing wrong after hours of investigation. When they removed their code scanner and plugged the drive wise device back in, no problems for another 2 months. They suspected that the device was the cause and told me to keep an eye on it. Sure enough, the next time the car freaked out, I reseated the device and the problem went away. Luckily, the car was still under warranty, so no cost to me. But if this happened to someone not under warranty, it could cost them a fortune in diagnostic service, far outweighing any savings they might get.

Also, like most everyone else, the stupid thing is constantly reporting false hard braking events. It's almost always a reduction of 8.0 MPH, and almost always at a starting speed of under 20mph (for instance, hard brake from 15.8 to 7.8 MPH). How is this considered unsafe? I have a newer car, so I drive it very gently.

The other issue I have is being dinged for time of day that I drive. Most all of my driving is going to work and back at a 9-5 job. It's not like I am out driving at bar closing times on weekends.

In the end, I got a discount of $42, so not too bad. I also have the device on my daughters car, and because of too many braking events, her discount is $0. Also, I can't see any evidence of a $10 fee, so the savings seem to be worth it.

jrbonetti on March 07, 2013:

I have DriveWise. I am convinced that different cars get extremely different results. Since I started the program (3 weeks now), I have had 3 hard braking events on my Minivan. I am the most aggressive driver in the family. I used our other car ('99 Escort) yesterday, and drove the same way. Every stop was a hard braking event! That makes no sense to me unless the device reacts differently depending upon the vehicle. I am going to continue using the device, since we drive very few miles and the device will prove that and hopefully save us money. If it does not reduce our bill by at least 10% over the course of a year, it's going back. Until then, I'll keep it and continue to track how it works. I spoke about it with my agent, and since I'm not being critical, just sharing the facts I'm finding, he is looking forward to my feedback and wants my input.

My advice is not to expect miracles with these devices - they are not perfect. If it saves me money, great. It's worth risk for me, but ask me again in a year!


ps. to Beth... yes, it does seem to give hard braking when the traction control/anti-lock kicks in. We've had a mild winter, and only had to deal with it one day, and that day gave me two hard braking events when it actually took me longer to stop (but of course, the wheels weren't turning as fast as the car was moving since it was sliding).

anonymous on February 25, 2013:

Has anyone else noticed an increase in hard breaking when there is snow on the road. Last week it claims I had hard breaking everyday and I don't think it was even possible because the roads were all snow covered. I'm thinking it picks up every time the antilocks kick in.

anonymous on January 22, 2013:

This program is not working.

anonymous on January 22, 2013:

Got the drivewise and installed it on my new chevy cruze,found uot it blocks on-star diagnostics and after talking to Allstate agent and him calling drivewise I found out their hidden lies--You must keep the device plugged in PERMANENTLY to receive your discount-that is as long as you have your policy--your discount only lasts till the next renewal period then you start again-you can not receive discount like you do with progressive if you end drivewise after 6 months.ALLSTATE IS HIDING THESE FACTS AND SCREWING THEIR CUSTOMERS--My agent says that being a publicly traded company they will do [ or screw ] all policyholders to give their stockholders a dividend.AVOID ALLSTATE AND THEIR B.S DRIVEWISE PROGRAM

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on January 16, 2013:

@anonymous: There is no fee the FIRST TIME (first policy period) one uses the device. My experience ... which is what I was told by Allstate when I called after reading it in the fine print on the site ... is that there is a fee the second and subsequent policy periods you have the device installed. My agent was unaware of that fact until I reported back to him about it. At that time, DriveWise was a new program, so he was just learning about it himself and I was his first customer to actually use it. At any rate, this is my experience. Perhaps yours will be different.

anonymous on January 16, 2013:

My agent said there would not be a fee. Also does anyone know how long it takes the get info the website after install? Thanks Jason

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on January 13, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks for commenting, John. I hear you and agree. I'm self-employed and work at home, so I drive much less than many people, yet I get "dinged" for driving a few extra miles than I normally do, when I went an hour's drive to visit with a client. I made that drive--no incidents recorded--and saw my discount go down by 2 percentage points. I'm wondering if they'd prefer the car just sit in the garage except for a few token drives a month maybe, to register some "events."

anonymous on January 13, 2013:

I have been on this device now for 2 months. I have driven for 51 years without 1 accident and only 1 ticket. This device is nothing more than a vehicle for the insurance company to increase profits by making you look like a bad driver. I was knocked down for going to midnight mass on Christmas. Most of the negatives eliminating my projected discount come from hard breaking. I monitored each incident and noticed that it was not to inattentive driving. One example was where I saw a green arrow and sped up to make the light but it turned yellow and instead of going through a red light, I stopped quickly. This is only programming me to run the red light so as to save money on insurance. Bad!!!

Bad!!! The other item is the brakes in my Hyundai are the best breaks of any car I have ever bought. They will stop you on a dime. Iâm sure in studying this program no one realized the difference between the effectiveness of various vehicles. I think that basing safe driving entirely on how hard you break isnât enough to actually indicate how safe you drive.

I am retired and am allotted 3,944 miles for the year. Since I live in a rural area, just driving to church and my Optimist Club once a week exceeds my weekly allotment. This mileage is ridiculous. Whose hair brained idea is this? No one who is retired drives less than 4,000 miles a year unless they are disabled; Just another insurance scam.

Iâm ready to pull the device. If my rates are not competitive, I will look for someone else. Adios Allstate.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on January 08, 2013:

@anonymous: I'm not sure if you'd be charged twice if you have two devices, but I thought you could have just one device per policy. If they're two separate policies, though, then yes, you'd be charged for each. It's not for the initial policy period, though; only if you decide to renew/keep using DriveWise for the next policy period, etc. Then it's $10 each time. Unless they've changed things, and they hadn't when mine renewed in December, then there is a charge for the second and subsequent periods.

anonymous on January 07, 2013:

I just was told about Drivewise by Allstate and the never mentioned a $10 fee per device. I have to get 2, which will be $20. In order to recoup, I would have to get more than a 20% discount. This non-disclosure sounds like a good class-action suit for someone to pick up.

anonymous on December 03, 2012:

The article was a great inspiration for my syndicated column Techlife - "Data Racing League: Cash For Your Driving" - It was interesting to note the fact Allstate updated their graphing tools. Some of the ones in this article looked very confusing. I linked to your article as a good resource for my readers.

Thanks again great info.

anonymous on September 18, 2012:

I agree that the hard braking monitor is exceptionally sensitive. I'm wondering if it records how fast you step on the brake pedal rather than how hard you brake.

cubfan on August 30, 2012:

@anonymous: I have the consistent -8.6 miles per hour hard brake on my Nissan pick up and Subaru Forester. Too consistent to be believable. Did the vehicles really have extreme braking or was the module false reporting that too?

anonymous on May 11, 2012:

I've had my Drive Wise device for 10 days at this point. Over the course of that time, it has registered 6 events. There were 2 of them that I know happened from people pulling out in front of me. The other ones were all suspiciously -8.0 MPH. The annoying thing about one of my known events was that I saw traffic coming to an abrupt stop, so I hit the brake to slow my approach and maintain my cushion. But I broke just fast enough to register an event. To keep the events to a minimum it seems my option is to slowly eat up my cushion and just not hit the person in front of me. The other thing that pisses me off is that my other events were all under 12MPH. So it seems that going 8 miles an hour and stopping at a stop sign, if you do it just fast enough will register an event. I seriously don't think that seems like an unsafe event. At this point I'm not thinking of getting rid of the device since I am getting a discount no matter what. I just think that basing "safe driving" entirely on how hard you break, time and distance travelled just aren't enough metrics to actually indicate how safe you drive.

BeInsuranceSavvy on April 11, 2012:

Great article! I will pass it a long!

anonymous on April 05, 2012:

@Ramkitten2000: Thank you for providing this outlet for my frustration. I hope you will show this link to your agent. I have been letting our agent know as well. I spoke to and wrote to Drive Wise again and they just send out a form letter thanking me for my feedback. It is BS. I agree with you that charging $10 for the device is not really fair if the % of reward is not met because of the 'event' of the 'hard brake.' In actuality, we could end up spending more for our premium for having the device. I will continue for this first six months but, unless I get enough of a discount to not only pay for the device but to be worth it to me to have the device in place, it isn't worth the aggravation of not be able to enjoy my drive. The whole Big Brother effect makes me a more uptight driver than if I don't have the Drive Wise device in place. I believe that the criteria for the Drive Wise Model needs to be reevaluated and structured so that normal defensive drivers are not penalized.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on April 04, 2012:

@anonymous: Thank you for adding your comments. It'll be interesting to see how or if the program changes and what kinds of discounts people are getting with or in spite of these questionable "hard braking" events. I'm still in my first six months with the device, but I'll definitely be talking to my agent when those six months are up and giving him some feedback. I'll probably send him a link to this page. (I've known him for years.) I don't know if I'll do a second round with the device IF they insist on charging that $10 for it after the initial trial run. And that's even without the automatic 10% discount you get the first time around. I can just see the thing costing me money instead of saving any. I'd really like to get them to change that $10 charge. I mean, come on, WE'RE supplying THEM with information.

anonymous on April 04, 2012:

@squidoohwc: Good to hear I'm not the only one with a magically precise braking foot. I've since gathered up two more events (all hard braking as usual), both a net -8.6MPH. My most recent one is my new favorite. I went from 8.6MPH to 0MPH. HAZARD! You better watch out for me on the road!!! Clearly I am dangerous! I went from a crawl to a stop!

They obviously have a seriously flawed system... or I have one heck of a precise lead foot (in the braking sense, not the speeding sense).

Did you know, 8-9MPH is the average speed of a human in sustained running? I can literally run faster than I was driving, and I got a hard braking event! My discount is at 7% (well, 10% - I'm still in the intro). It's still worth it for me, but... meh.

I've stopped being angry about it, begin frustrated with it, or worrying about it - it's quite amusing to me now. I doubt Allstate will revise their algorithm. Why would they? Like I said before, the house *always* wins. Statistically, this device records so many anomalies that the probability of it being anywhere near accurate in its measurements is infinitely approaching ZERO. And, I'd bet my life that that's the way Allstate designed it.

Anyway, thanks again for your input. It's nice to get more confirmation that I'm not actually a reckless driver, nor am I imagining some conspiracy. Their device is just weighted in their favor (heavily, I might add), and probably not so accurate to begin with.


squidoohwc on April 04, 2012:

@anonymous: Hi Jessica,

I have a total of 49 events: 19 hard accel and 30 hard braking. I've had the device installed for 7 months now. I got a 24% discount. My hard brake speed differential is at either -8.0 or -8.6; mostly the first number.

I believe the device is extremely sensitive to braking. I am a very good driver and drive deffensively. I was flabbergasted to see 30 hard breaking incidents. I can only recall truly having to hit the breaks hard, about 6 times to avoid running a yellow light. Since hard accel doesn't count against me, from now on, I will run a yellow light just to avoid another ding in my data =)


anonymous on April 04, 2012:

The "hard braking" events are ridiculous. How can you have a hard brake when you are only going 11 mph? I now have 3 hard braking events and I would never consider any of them a "hard brake." I have called and written to Drive Wise to complain and try to even understand if they are listening to their customers and going to tweak what constitutes a "hard brake." The first woman was very rude. Today, a got a younger woman who said they are receiving MANY calls about the hard braking events and she does not know if Allsate will be changing the way they track what a hard brake is or not. I told her that I am seriously considering discontinuing the program as I think the hard brake issue is bogus and it just isn't worth the hassles. I am a very good driver and a cautious/defensive driver. Where is the reward for good drivers if you are penalized for bogus info? Not worth it to me.

anonymous on April 03, 2012:

I'm glad you posted this because I randomly got a bunch of 'hard brakes' the other day and have no idea what they're talking about. Usually I know but now it's just accruing them left and right. When I called about it the woman was pretty rude. I'm wondering if they get people calling about the hard brake stuff often.

anonymous on March 14, 2012:

@Ramkitten2000: Thanks... out of curiosity, how are your hard braking numbers? Or those of other commenters? I'm curious how many other people see the same speed reduction over and over, especially with that -8.6 MPH.

My dad got a drivewise at the beginning of this month, and I installed it and set up his account (he's computer illiterate and Allstate literally will NOT give you a drivewise if you don't set up the online account). We checked out his stats yesterday... 3 events, all were net -8.6MPH hard braking. Let me tell you, my dad is the safest (read: slowest) driver on the planet, and 99% of his trips are 5 miles each way on the same side-street route to/from the dog park at 5-6 AM. I poked fun at him for being so 'dangerous' while he called up our agent to insist he hadn't braked hard and tell them there must be an error because he had to be seeing someone else's stats - LOL!

Since I lasted posted, I've gathered up two more hard braking events of my own as well (one very valid, the other ???). You guessed it, both were a net -8.6 MPH!

There's certainly something very, very wrong with their hard braking algorithm/stats. In my most recent event, I totally SLAMMED on my breaks to not hit a bewildered dog that came out of nowhere. I mean, coffee spilled and the seatbelt lock kicked in and my purse flew from the passenger seat into the dash. My first thought after the dog was "$&!#, now I'm going to have an EXTREME braking event!" Nope, -8.6 mph. I contrast that with the day I went all of 3.2 miles, going under 20 the entire time, didn't run into anything at all, and got a -8.6MPH hard braking event. It's totally random.

I'm wondering if my drivewise device is defective (I really thought so until I saw dad's suspicious trio of -8.6MPH events). So far from what I had seen, it's severely sensitive in their favor, but after seeing it so drastically err in my favor, I just don't know.

I wonder if the device only has sensitivity ranges? (So that -8.6 could mean an unfair -5mph or a jolting -15mph?) Or perhaps some are poorly/incorrectly calibrated? Or...? I'm very curious about this and would love input. I've tried talking to my Allstate agent, but he has no idea and hates Drivewise more than I do, poor guy.

Anyway! Just a few more of my two cents. You really have the best, most thorough, accurate, and detailed blog out there about this, and it's nice to follow along someone else's experiences too! So keep it up!



Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on March 09, 2012:

@anonymous: Thank you so much, Jessica, for that great feedback. That definitely is "interesting" about the hard braking statistics. Hm....

anonymous on February 29, 2012:

Sorry - I put my comment as a vote, oops... I'm new here! If you can delete my long poll response, I would appreciate it!

I've had this thing in my car a month, since 1/17/12. I drive very well, especially for someone my age - I'm a 25 year old female living in Phoenix. I don't tailgate, use my turn signals every time, always pay attention (there are snowbirds here playing bumper cars, you HAVE TO!!!), I know my way around, and I rarely speed by >5mph. But, with two prior accidents on my record (neither of which I was deemed at-fault for, but both of which skyrocketed my insurance rates), my insurance rates are ridiculous... so my agent talked me into one of these.

My advice: check out what exactly the events say for your "hard braking." I've had "only" 5 hard braking events so far (of which two I COULD understand, though I think they barely qualified as moderate braking under a reasonable standard and the other three 100% baffled me).

So I checked out my detailed stats, my "trips". Once you go to your My DriveWise Trips page (with the calendar), choose a day you had an 'incident,' then click on a trip with an event to the right, and if you scroll to the bottom, it will tell you the time in minutes you spent going certain speeds, and also detail the info behind your event.

All 5 of my hard braking events were me braking -8.6 mph. Here's the detail:

1/17, 5:12pm: 23.5mph down to 14.9mph = -8.6mph

2/2, 2:49pm: 43.3mph down to 34.7mph = -8.6mph

2/20, 7:03am: 19.7mph down to 11.1mph = -8.6mph

2/23, 7:05am: 13.5mph down to 4.9mph = -8.6mph

2/24, 12:59pm: 30.9mpg down to 22.3mpg = -8.6mph

They all started at different speeds (from 43.3 all the way down to 13.5) and, after my greivous "hard braking," ended at correlative speeds 8.6mph below the initial speeds. Yes, the net difference on every single one was -8.6mph.

So, I understand your paranoia. 5 events, a various range of speeds, different times of day and days of the week. And on EVERY single one, I happened to brake the EXACT same amount, reducing my speed by exactly 8.6 mph in every instance? I'm not one of those "they're out to get you" conspiracy people, but it begs the question: Coincidence? I think not! That's a statistical anomaly.

My opinion: At best, their software is flawed. At worst, they're falsely advertising and misleading customers, using depetive/rigged programming in this device to find ways to not hand out that 30% discount. Kind of like going to a casino... someone may win big, but almost everyone is going to lose because the machines are programmed in the house's favor!

I call baloney on this thing. I'll keep it for my automatic 10% (and out of curiosity to see how many more times in a row my foot can brake by exactly 8.6mph). I'd be happy to provide screenshots if you'd like. But, mainly I'm curious to hear if anyone else notices that they magically always brake by the exact same amount in these so-called "hard braking" events...



Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on February 28, 2012:

@julieannbrady: Yep, definitely. Thing is, it SEEMS to be recording things that aren't happening, meaning "hard braking." I'm very cognizant of that now that the device is in my car, and, wow, it must be VERY picky, because except for two instances where I can agree (both times due to other drivers pulling in front of me), the rest I'm skeptical about.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on February 28, 2012:

@anonymous: Yes, thank you for the feedback. I'm happy with the "projected discount" ... so far. But I definitely take issue with most of the so-called hard-braking events. The thing says I did that yesterday (drove all of 10 miles), but I was very careful and paying attention, and I can't imagine when and where I would have braked hard. Makes me paranoid that the thing just throws one in there every so often.

anonymous on February 28, 2012:

I've had this device in my car for several months. I'm a very cautious driver, so I thought this little thing would help me save money and I wouldn't have to work for it. Well... what Drivewise considers hard braking may need to be recalculated. I avoided an accident when someone abruptly pulled into my lane so I had to brake really hard. This counts against me! I live in Phoenix and work in Scottsdale so I have quite a commute and yes, I have almost been tempted to cut a yellow light too close because I don't want braking to count against me. The device makes you conscious of your driving habits, which is good, but it can also encourage some less than stellar driving habits to avoid being penalized. It has totally changed my husband's driving habits for the better so I guess there are pro's and con's to everything. Hope you found this helpful.

julieannbrady on February 24, 2012:

Hey, is this the little device that Flo has been promoting? I wondered about it. Yeah, big brother. Any performance anxiety?

Pangionedevelopers on February 21, 2012:

great info

anonymous on January 30, 2012:

Liablity issues for you

anonymous on January 30, 2012:

I just received one and am still not sure. i haven't installed it yet, but feel it may be too intrusive. My husband (from Germany) says "hell no!" We shall see...

JoshK47 on January 11, 2012:

Very interesting information! I don't have anything quite like this, but it's intriguing indeed.

WriterJanis2 on January 11, 2012:

I still don't have a GPS! So much for modern technology. Very interesting read. It will be fun to hear your progress.

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