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Saving money and saving lives: Can your driving pass the test?

Michigan drivers pay some of the highest auto insurance in the country, and many of us would go to great lengths to save a little every month on what we pay for coverage.

Michigan drivers pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country, and many of us would go to great lengths to save a little every month on what we pay for coverage. As it turns out, there is a way for us to cut our costs with at least one insurance company, but it means that your every turn will be graded.

Scott Tilford knows a lot about the importance of safe driving, both as a State Farm Insurance agent and as a parent. It's one of the reasons he is big supporter of the Drive Safe and Save program. Tilford explains "this is something that I wish was around when my son was 16. He was pushing the limits a little bit, had I had this program and been able to monitor what he was doing we could have had some conversations before he got himself into trouble." Drive Safe and Save is a voluntary program that State Farm clients can sign up for. When they do, they will be given a small monitoring fob to put in their car. The fob, via Bluetooth, relays driving characteristics back to State Farm.

The sensor records things like acceleration, speed, braking, the time of day you drive and the number of turns you make. Each month you are issued a report card with a grade in each category. It's a teaching tool that gives us the feedback on ways we can be better drivers and lower our risks of being in an accident. But it raises a big question; why would anyone let their insurance company essentially watch how they drive? The answer for many is that it can save money. According to Tilford, “right off the bat, when you register it's a 5% discount and then depending on how many miles you drive, and your driving characteristics that percentage can increase." For Tilford, it's been a savings of about $100 every 6 months. The better your report card, the better your savings.

But for some the program's benefits go beyond cash savings. For parents of teenage drivers, the report card is way to see exactly how they are driving when an adult isn't in the car. But it does more than that. It also gives young drivers feedback about their habits, and what they can do to be safer. They are lessons that could pay off in a lifetime of driving that lies ahead of them.

To learn more about the Drive Safe and Save program, click here.

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