Most People Won’t Trade Away Privacy

More than six in 10 people don’t think that any discount is worth letting insurance companies collect more information about their driving habits and homes.

A gold lock atop a blue background with elements of data

It’s becoming increasingly common for insurance companies to offer discounts in exchange for agreeing to share some personal information, usually through high-tech monitoring. This information, about a driver’s habits behind the wheel or potential threats to a house, is valuable to insurers because it gives clearer insights into potential risk.

But an annual survey from Policygenius about technology and insurance shows that most consumers value their privacy more than savings. More than six in 10 people said that they would not install data-sharing devices — including apps, doorbell and dashboard cameras or sensors in their homes — for any discount amount.

Diving more deeply into the Policygenius findings:

  • 68% of Americans would not install an app that collects driving behavior or location data for any insurance discount amount, up from 58% last year.
  • 68% of Americans would not install a live dashboard camera for any insurance discount amount.
  • 65% of Americans would not install smart-home devices (doorbell cameras, water sensors, thermostats) that collect personal data for any insurance discount amount.
  • 77% of Americans would not install a smart doorbell camera that shares facial recognition data with third parties for any insurance discount amount, compared with 67% last year.

Some people indicated they could be persuaded to share personal information with their insurance companies as long as they were guaranteed a big discount. 

Depending on the type of data-sharing device and whether it’s for a home or car, between 67% and 74% of people who say they would install these devices would only do so for a discount that reduced their insurance premiums by at least half.

Still, even with promises of large discounts, the majority of people aren’t interested in sacrificing their privacy to save money.

Year over year, more Americans choose privacy over insurance discounts

When we compared the results with last year’s Home & Auto Insurance Technology Survey, we found that fewer drivers, homeowners, and renters say they would exchange privacy for discounted rates.

Last year, 58% to 67% of people (depending on the data-sharing device we asked about) said that no discount was worth sharing more data with their insurance companies. This year, 68% to 77% of consumers say they’re against giving their insurers access to more information for lower rates.

And fewer people said they would install a device that monitored their homes or driving habits even if it meant they could reduce their insurance premiums by half. Last year, 24% to 32% of people said that they would be open to this for a large discount; this year that range shrunk to 16% to 24% (depending on the device).

See also: Raising the Bar on Data Privacy

More than two thirds of people say that no discount is worth using dashcams and data-tracking apps

For the most part, drivers just aren’t interested in lower car insurance if it means downloading and using apps or installing dashboard cameras to monitor their driving habits.

Sixty-eight percent of people say that no discount is worth installing a usage-based app that tracks their driving behaviors and location. The same percentage of people say that they wouldn’t install a dashcam that recorded them while they drove.

Drivers are even cooler toward this tech than they were last year. In last year’s survey, 58% of drivers said that no discount was worth using an app that kept track of their driving habits, and 60% said they would decline to install a dashcam.

Not even the promise of large savings can convince many drivers to share their data. We asked whether drivers would be more open to downloading a driver-tracking app or dashcam if it meant their premiums would be reduced by half. Just 24% would install a camera, while only 22% of people would use a tracking app.

Most people wouldn't trade discounts for having data-collecting tech in their homes

Most Americans don’t want discounts in exchange for data-collecting tech in their homes, either. Sixty-five percent of people don’t think that any discount is worth installing a smart-home device, like a doorbell camera, water sensor or thermostat in their homes that would share data with their home insurance company.

Even fewer people would take a discount on their home insurance if it meant installing a smart doorbell camera with facial recognition capabilities that shared the data it collected. More than three-quarters (77%) of people would not install this type of camera in their homes for any size discount.

As with usage-based auto insurance and dash cams, most homeowners and renters aren’t persuaded by large discounts if it means giving up their privacy. Only 24% of people would get smart-home devices even if it reduced their premiums by half. Facial recognition-capable doorbells are the least popular among consumers: Just 16% said they would install this tech for cheaper home or renters insurance.

Overall, survey respondents indicated they were less likely to install any of this tech in their homes than a year ago. In 2021, 43% of those surveyed said they would install smart-home devices that collect personal data for a discount; this year, only 35% would. Facial recognition doorbells already weren’t very popular in last year’s survey — only one-third said installing one would be worth a discount. This year, that share dropped to just 23%.

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