State Farm Offering Discounts to Ford Owners Who Are “In-Sync”

For late-model Ford owners who aren’t afraid to have "big brother" digging through their automotive closet, State Farm recently announced it will offer a 5% discount to Ford and Lincoln drivers willing to let the insurance company log into your Sync-equipped vehicle to view its vehicle health report. While the program is new to Sync-equipped Ford vehicles, State Farm has offered the program for drivers with OnStar equipped vehicles for some time.

The partnership between Ford and State Farm should mean there are plenty of drivers on the road eligible for the discount. Ford estimates there are more than four million of its vehicles on the road equipped with Sync. To get the discount, eligible drivers must enroll in State Farm's Drive Safe & Smart program, where Sync-equipped vehicles will automatically forward enrolled drivers' odometer readings to State Farm each time a customer's policy is renewed. This allows the customer's driving habits to be assessed. Ford's Sync program logs information, like miles traveled, to provide drivers with maintenance and vehicle health reports.

OnStar customers participating in the Drive Safe & Smart program automatically save 5% off their premium as well. However, OnStar drivers enrolled in the program who drive less than 1,000 miles per month can see additional savings. Those who drive fewer than 1,000 miles a year can save as much as 40%. Discounts should be the same or similar for drivers in Sync-equipped Fords. The discounts are given based on the fact that drivers who spend less time on the road significantly lower their chance of an accident.

Additionally, State Farm, in partnership with Hughes Telematics, launched their own OnStar-like service called In-Drive last September. The In-Drive program offers features like one-touch emergency response, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location assistance, and a feature that reports location and speed alerts to vehicle owners in the event that the car is borrowed by a licensed and underage son or daughter.

In addition, In-Drive subscribers can use the system to take part in the Drive Smart & Safe program. In this instance, In-Drive reports driving performance data to State Farm, who calculates savings based on mileage, turns, acceleration, braking, speed, and the time of day when the vehicle is driven. According to State Farm, discounts can increase by as much as 50% based on how safely a person drives. The savings, or lack thereof, are re-adjusted every six months at the time of the customer's policy renewal.

While this practice may seem fairly harmless, those who possess an Orwellian outlook to invasive technologies may feel otherwise. These programs could potentially allow insurance companies to see when and where you are driving your car at any given moment. This could result in higher premiums for those driving during high traffic times, or if you park your vehicle in an area associated with high crime. In fact, Jeff Sabatini of points out that car insurance companies could even begin charging mileage overage similar to cell phone companies. Let's hope State Farm chooses to use their power for good.

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