Usage Based Insurance Data: Highlights from the Lead Foot Report

One of the great advantages of usage based insurance is analytics. Usage based insurance (UBI) offers insurers a depth of information that’s never been accessible before, with new ways to evaluate driver risk, attract better drivers in the first place, incentivize safe behavior and reduce claims.

Progressive was an early adopter, so they’ve had some time to accumulate data. Now, they’re sharing some insights with the rest of us. Here are the usage based insurance data highlights from their Lead Foot Report.

Braking takes longer than you’d think.

When maintaining a following distance, the standard advice is to stay three or four seconds behind the car in front of you. The reason is that if you’re traveling at 60 mph, you’re going to continue nearly 500 feet before you can come to a stop.

UBI data just turned that on its head.

Why? Because most drivers traveling at 60 mph took 24 seconds to come to a complete stop, according to the Lead Foot Report. That’s more than four football fields’ distance (1,260 feet to be precise), or enough time to sing several rounds of “Happy Birthday.”

That’s the average. The most gradual stops took as long as 40 seconds. All told, it’s probably a good idea to add some cushion to that following distance.

The most important metric for predicting future crashes?

While UBI can’t sense a vehicle’s following distance, it can certainly detect hard braking – a crucial insight.

When drivers brake hard – we’re talking “the most aggressive one percentile of all stops” – the report showed that it took 12 seconds to get to a standstill. That sounds like a pretty good number, until you ask why drivers had to stop so fast in the first place.

Most hard-braking incidents are related to tailgating: a high-risk habit. In fact, out of all the usage based insurance metrics, hard braking showed the strongest correlation with collisions. That’s useful information for insurers to be sure. Drivers who make a habit of hard braking are high-risk customers, and more likely to initiate claims.

Other metrics may prove invaluable, too, down the road.

As insurers discover new ways to leverage usage based insurance data, other metrics are likely to take on new significance in assessing risk and minimizing auto insurance claims.

“We’ve gathered billions of miles of driving data and are only just beginning to scratch the surface … of the types of predictive behavior our … analytics can reveal,” said Dave Pratt, general manager of UBI at Progressive.

For example? The best teen drivers drive much more safely than risky subsets of other age groups, despite the stereotype that teen drivers are inherently risky. And conservative male drivers brake hard a full 77 percent less than aggressive female drivers.

To learn more about this study, watch the three-minute Lead Foot Report video. Click here