The Hidden Cost of Connected Cars: Your Driving Data and Insurance


Driving to a weekend getaway or a doctor’s appointment leaves more than just a memory; it leaves a data trail. Modern cars equipped with internet capabilities, GPS tracking, or services like OnStar, capture your driving history. This data is not just stored—it can be sold to your insurance company.

A recent report highlighted how ordinary driving activities generate a data footprint that can be sold to insurers. These data collections often occur through “safe driving” programs installed in your vehicle or connected car apps. Real-time tracking usually begins when you download an app or agree to terms on your car’s dashboard screen. 

Car technology has evolved significantly since General Motors introduced OnStar in 1996. From mobile data enhancing navigation to telematics in the 2010s, today’s cars are more connected than ever. This connectivity offers benefits like emergency alerts, maintenance notifications, and software updates. By 2030, it’s predicted that over 95% of new cars will have some form of internet connectivity.

Manufacturers like General Motors, Kia, Subaru, and Mitsubishi offer services that collect and share your driving data with insurance companies. Insurers purchase this data to analyze your driving habits, influencing your “risk score” and potentially increasing your premiums. 

One example is the OnStar Smart Driver program, which collects data and sends it to manufacturers who then sell it to data brokers. These brokers resell the data to various buyers, including

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