I’m at 8 per cent, hurt by the length of my commute and the construction mess on the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Blvd. W. which is giving a new meaning to stop and go traffic.

Here are the details:

Distance driven:

Maximum annual saving: 10 per cent

My saving: 2 per cent

If you drive more than 15,000 km a year no saving at all. As an Oakville commuter I drive more than that and so would normally get nothing. But how’s this for an upside to the road construction: I’m back on the GO Train and driving less. I may sneak under the bar.

Acceleration & braking:

Maximum saving: 10 per cent

My saving: 1 per cent

If you accelerate faster than 13 km/h or more in one second or decelerate 15 km/h or more in one second, the device will consider this sudden.

My dashboard shows almost 300 incidents in 10 weeks, with quick acceleration outnumbering quick braking by 3 to 1.

It’s hard to translate 13 km/h per second into something meaningful. Veilleux says many customers are saying the same thing and Desjardins plans to post videos on its web site at different braking and acceleration speeds to show how it might look.

Time of day:

Maximum saving: 5 per cent

My saving: 5 per cent

I rarely drive between midnight and 5 a.m. This is when accidents are statistically the most deadly because of fatigue and lack of visibility. I drive to work at 6 a.m. It’s before rush hour, but it’s getting light and drivers tend to be more alert.

The insurance industry is lining up at FSCO’s door to apply for these programs. Those approved or already rolled out include CAA Insurance, The Co-operators, Intact and Allstate.

Carter says the biggest danger is ‘function creep,’ where insurers collect all kinds of secondary information and then use it without asking permission or sell it to third parties.

These might include: How often you travel out of province or to the U.S. When exactly you’re prone to accelerating quickly. How often you stop at a McDonalds versus Wendy’s, how long you stay at the grocery store and which ones you visit. Did the kids spend the weekend in Montreal when they borrowed the car or go to Ottawa?

Carter says insurers find it irresistible to collect data. The more they know about you, the more they can calculate risk and design products.

None of this is necessarily bad as long as you know what is being collected and agree to it. Carter says it comes down to a simple test:

“Whenever your information is being used to make a material decision about you, you have a right to see the information. That is the basis of all privacy laws. There should be no secret record keeping.”

Carter is a big user of public transit, but says he would opt for such a policy “if the company was trustworthy.”

As for me, I’m not sure $150 gain is worth what I’m giving up. For now, anyway.

Related: How I cut my car insurance by 30 per cent

What Desjardins has learned

Reach investing and personal finance editor Adam Mayers at amayers@thestar.ca

  • Lessons from a year of usage-based insurance in Ontario.
  • Two-thirds of customers say they are more aware of how they drive;
  • Half say they think their driving has improved;
  • A third say the plan makes them consider driving less, using transit or walking;
  • 40 per cent of new customers are signing up for Ajusto, well head of their 25 per cent target.
  • Desjardins has gained 50,000 new customers in Ontario and Quebec through Ajusto.
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