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Should You Let Your Insurance Company Become Big Brother?

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As if dealing with insurance companies from time to time is not enough, there is a proposed California Bill, AB 2800, which would let auto insurance companies put a black box tracking device in your car. This box would essentially let the insurance Big Brothers keep track of when, where and how you drive. What’s more, insurance companies can charge you a penalty if you refuse to be tracked. So, basically, if you want to protect your privacy, you can be penalized for it.

Insurance companies’ argue that this bill is not about them keeping track of your driving, but only about verifying the number of miles you drive. I agree with Carmen Balber, a consumer advocate with the group, Consumer Watchdog. Balber wrote an Op-Ed for the Sacramento Bee () on this issue. As she puts it, this bill does nothing but give “insurers fresh ways to charge you more.”

Some insurance companies such as State Farm are already lobbying the California Department of Insurance for insurers to be able to collect for the time of day you drive, days of week, type of road, where your miles are driven, speed and even how aggressively you drive by measuring hard stops, starts or turns. So does that mean an insurer can increase rates if you work a night shift as a cop or a nurse? Does that mean you could get penalized for making a couple of hard turns or driving too fast or too slow?

This type of approach is not only lacking in sense and fairness, but is a slap in the face of our state Constitution, which guarantees the protection of our privacy as California residents. What is even more unacceptable is this proposed tracking technology won’t even work in cars made before 1996. So drivers who own older cars will be penalized and the penalties they pay will be used for “discounts” to customers who agree to being monitored.

This bill is scheduled to come to the floor of the Senate next month. If you oppose this unreasonable, unconstitutional law, please write to your state Senator asking them to vote this bill down. This is nothing but the insurance industry’s attempt to get more people out of money because they cannot or choose not to get this electronic tracking device into their vehicles.

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