Your car is spying on you and raising your insurance rates: Report

Drivers of cars manufactured by General Motors, Ford, Honda and other popular brands say their insurance rates rose after the companies sent data about their driving behavior to issuers without their knowledge.

Ken Dahl, 65, is a Seattle-area businessman Which he told the New York Times His car insurance costs rose 21% in 2022 after GM's OnStar Smart Driver system installed in his Chevy Bolt collected information about the details of his driving habits.

Dahl said his insurance agent told him the rate increase was based on data collected by LexisNexis, which compiled a report tracking every time he and his wife drove a Chevy Bolt over a six-month period.

General Motors sends driver data to insurance companies that then use the information to measure customer rates, according to a report. Reuters

According to Dahl, the 258-page report contains information about the start and end times of his trips, distance traveled, and other data detailing potential instances of speeding, hard braking, and sharp acceleration.

The report included information about one particular ride in June, which lasted 18 minutes and spanned 7.33 miles

During that same trip, the LexisNexis report recorded two instances of rapid acceleration and two incidents of hard braking.

The LexisNexis report noted that the details pulled together were sourced from OnStar Smart Driver, a General Motors-owned subscription service that records driver information such as total miles driven, incident hard braking, and other aspects of driver behavior.

According to its website, OnStar Smart Driver “provides driving insights on how you can become a smarter, safer driver” while enabling users to “earn badges by completing challenges, building on specific lines for different driving habits and viewing all your data in an intuitive dashboard “

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“I felt betrayed,” Dahl said. “They're taking information I didn't know would be shared and screwing up our insurance.”

It's not just electric car owners who are complaining.

A Chevy Bolt driver from the Seattle area told the New York Times that the cost of his insurance rose 21% as a result of data collected by General Motors. AP

A Cadillac driver based in Palm Beach County, Florida, told the Times that he is considering filing a lawsuit against General Motors after seven different companies denied him car insurance in December.

He said he plans to sell his Cadillac and will never buy another GM car again.

The decision was based on a LexisNexis report that detailed six months of his driving behavior, including numerous instances of hard braking, hard acceleration and speeding.

“I don't know the definition of hard braking. My passenger's head doesn't hit the dashboard,” the unnamed Cadillac driver, who like Dahl was signed up to the OnStar Smart Driver subscription service, told the Times.

GM's OnStar Smart Driver collects data about the driver's braking, acceleration and speed. Onstar

“Same with acceleration. I don't peel. I'm not sure how the car defines that. I don't feel like I'm driving hard or dangerously.

GM, whose brands include Chevy, GMC, Cadillac and Buick, isn't the only auto company collecting data through an Internet connection and then providing it to insurance companies.

Subaru, Mitsubishi, Honda, Kia and Hyundai also offer drivers the option to turn on similar features without realizing the data is being sold to intermediaries similar to LexisNexis.

Verisk said it had access to driver data from millions of vehicles including those made by Ford, Honda and Hyundai.

A Ford spokesperson told the Times that the company “does not transfer any vehicle-related data to either partner” — referring to Verisk and LexisNexis.

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A Cadillac driver is considering filing a lawsuit against General Motors after their insurance rates went up as a result of data collected by OnStar Smart Driver. Onstar

Ford will not share driver behavior data with the insurance company unless the driver gives explicit consent via an in-car touchscreen.

Kia, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Honda and Acura are enabling drivers to stop the collection of road behavior data in their apps.

But Honda is asking drivers to accept a 2,000-word “terms and conditions” screen on its app that specifies that the company will share data with Verisk.

The Post has requested comment from Honda.

“GM's OnStar Smart Driver service is optional for customers, who give their consent three times before sharing limited data with their insurer through a third party,” a GM spokesperson told The Post.

“Customer benefits include learning more about safe driving behaviors or vehicle performance which, with their consent, can be used to obtain insurance quotes,” the spokesperson said, adding: “Customers can also unenroll from Smart Driver at any time.”

The information it gets from OnStar “is used by insurance companies as one of many factors to create more personalized insurance coverage,” a LexisNexis spokesperson told the Times.

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