Nationwide Insurance has launched a new pay-as-you-go auto insurance solution geared toward consumers who don’t drive around too much.
The new SmartMiles program allows customers to pay based on the number of miles they drive. This pricing model is made possible with Nationwide’s use of telematics technology, which allows the insurer to track the distance driven by a customer’s vehicle.
"SmartMiles was developed to provide a program that allows our customers the freedom to control their auto insurance expenses based on how much they drive and how safe they drive," said Nationwide Insurance associate vice-president of personal line product development Teresa Scharn.
Although usage-based auto insurance is not a new concept, Nationwide enables a level of personalization to its coverage by allowing customers to select an auto insurance program for each vehicle in their household with just one policy.
"Whereas most insurance companies' mileage-based insurance programs look only at miles driven, Nationwide's SmartMiles telematics program takes many factors into account, creating a more personalized offering, which is revolutionary to the auto insurance industry,” Scharn explained.
For instance, the same Nationwide policy can be used to cover a household consisting of an adult that commutes 75 miles to work round-trip each day and their college student, whose car is infrequently driven. The college driver’s vehicle can be enrolled in SmartMiles, while the commuter could be signed to SmartRide – Nationwide’s other usage-based auto insurance program made for regular drivers that gives discounts based on safe driving behaviors.
In an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Scharn said the program is an early look at how Nationwide could be providing insurance to self-driving cars.
According to Scharn, Nationwide believes that the switch to autonomous cars will happen gradually, so drivers can buy coverage for the times when they’re in control of the vehicle.
“It gives us the ability to calculate rates if the driver is driving the vehicle or if the vehicle is driving that vehicle,” she remarked.
SmartMiles is currently available only in Illinois, but Nationwide has plans to expand its availability in other states later this year.