Mass. Drivers Could Pay Insurance By The Mile

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — Car insurance could be sold by the mile under a pilot program being considered by the state of Massachusetts. Called pay-as-you-drive, drivers could pay car insurance by the mile instead of a lump sum payment.

Commuter Beth Donovan believes low-mileage drivers end up subsidizing higher mileage ones, and this could make it more equitable.

“Those on the highways are doing more heavy driving, they pay the same as people who hardly use their cars,” said Donovan.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

It could be two to ten cents a mile depending on the type of driver, and tracking devices could be placed in cars to monitor mileage, as well as how aggressive a driver is.

A new study commissioned by the Conservation Law Foundation found that basing premiums on mileage would encourage drivers to drive less, cut down on pollution from tailpipe emissions, even reduce accidents which could be attractive for insurers.

“The analysis shows a full program could reduce driving between 5 and 10 percent, which is a pretty big chunk,” said David Cash, assistant secretary for policy, Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The state hopes it will help achieve a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020.

It sounds good in theory to commuter Brad Gordon who says driving is his bread and butter. “I have a long commute. There’s no way for me to reduce my annual mileage,” he said.

But Marilyn Carey, who takes the commuter rail everyday, says it would work for her. “I pay a fortune for car insurance and the car is in the driveway most of the time,” she said.

The state is applying for federal funding to begin the pilot program which could last about two years. It would be optional for Massachusetts insurers.

More from Beth Germano
  • ed wallace

    another way for coupe deval to pick our pockets where the hell does he come up with theses ideas

  • Yorgos Voyiatzis

    The ideal solution would be to pay auto insurance premiums at the gas pump. Just add another dime to the gallon of gasoline and this way ascertain that every car on the road is indeed insured. The dime would go a long way: no monthly billing statements, no cerificates of insurance, no agents, no red tape of any sort. It is not the drivers who need insurance but the car that they’re driving.

    • john doe

      So your insurance is based on your vehicle’s gas mileage and not your driving record or vehicle safety?

    • paul

      So the driver with multiple driving violations or multiple accidents or the minor vs the elder driver….how do you account for them?

      • Yorgos Voyiatzis

        …driving violations would affect individual driving records. If I get in a car accident I’d want to have piece of mind knowing that the vehicle I’ve been involved with is insured to cover for any and all damages resulting from the accident.

      • Cynic

        All the prior scams stay in effect……This will be in addition to all the other goodies the State has given the Insurance Compsnies.

  • Papa_Barry

    least we forget one of the most important statements in this article children-
    “tracking devices could be placed in cars to monitor mileage, as well as how aggressive a driver is”.

    Big Brother is watching (r am I the only one that is concerned about having my every move tracked) ……… enough said?

    • john

      you could always walk…

    • jenn

      that’s what struck me tooo….creepy, huh?

      • linda t

        very very creepy. There is no way I would ever agree to having a state tracking device put into any of my vehicles. I would leave Massachusetts before I would allow this.

    • brat

      That the real goal. Insurance companies want to charge us more if we go 1 mile over the speed limit or change lanes at 2 AM without using a signal because no one else is on the road. What about the traveling people who spend all day in their cars? they could drive 50K per year but have a flawless record and pay more than the person who only drives to the Packie and has 6 tickets.

    • Ed Hall

      The State has been trying to find ways to track our every move for years… you can go through the tolls more quickly if you go to the State Police and allow them to install a transmitter in your car.

  • Cynic

    Why is thr State so concerned with maximising the income of the insurance companies?Between Taxes and insurance there is nothing left for rent and food.

  • linda t

    I drive approximately 26 miles one way to work every day – trains, buses, etc., are not an option for me as none of these things are close enough. I’m also a safe driver. I have no tickets, no accidents, no driving incidents whatsoever. Why should I pay a higher insurance premium?

    • Cynic

      Because the Insurance Companies own the Legislature and they want MORE Money.

  • KF4766

    The article says it would be optional. Sure for someone who racks up 300+ miles a week this would not be the way to go, but if your a person who drives to the grocery store once a week or pick the kids up from school, this might be a good option. I do agree, however, that there shouldn’t be a tracking device installed – they need to come up with a better way to track mileage.

  • Linda D

    Absolutely nuts. It would optional but you’d probably be hard pressed to find an insurance company that won’t use it. Just another way to stick it to us. Anybody that agrees to have a tracking device attached to their car is crazy.

  • emom

    The world is crazy , the government is in our lives, they tell us what to do , what to eat and now how freakin far we can drive,, OK HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYONE THAT PLANS ON TRAVELING FOR A VACATION,, HHHMMMM.. IS THAT THERE TARGET OF CHOICE, vacation at home or pay thru the you know what to go on vacation… Freakin greedy government we have is out of control

  • emom

    Besides, I am a good driver have been for many years, and I do not feel I need to pay more just because I may travel to far,, Deval get a clue and get the heck out of our lives we give you way to much as is, TAKE A FREAKIN PAY CUT AND LIVE LIKE WE DO DARN IT,

  • Cynic

    The last time they floated this they suggested that the Inspection Stations would take your mileage and forward it to the State.

  • Cynic

    I just thought of a new business…disconnecting Spedo Cables. I’ll make a fortune.

  • CEO

    Insurance companies in Massachusetts already provide additional discounts for low-mileage cars. I think it kicks in if you do 5,000 miles or less annually.

    As for this program, sure, the PILOT program is going to be optional…..and THEN they’ll make it mandatory along with the tracking device for each of your vehicles. This is a HUGE infringement on our privacy…but something Massachusetts has been kicking around for a few years now. They want to be able to track your every movement…..because they can then enhance their revenues by punishing you for driving too many miles, speeding, etc.

    For people like me that spend a good part of the day on the road trying to make a living this becomes a huge additional expense. I have a perfect driving record but the number of miles I travel each year, 30,000, could end up being costly despite the fact I’ve made no insurance claims. At the 10 cents a mile they’re considering, my insurance would jump from about $600 a year to $3,000. Or enough to make be leave Massachusetts, reside in a neighboring state, and STILL travel Massachusetts roads.

  • Jihn W

    There’s no need for a mileage monitor. Mileage is logged each year when undergoing vehicle inspection. That information could be shared with insurance companies. If you don,t get your yearly sticker insurance would be canceled

  • Jay

    It seems to me that the idea is not to increase total insurance payment, but rather to just change from an annual payment to a per mile payment, so everyone would have an incentive to save money by driving less. People who have good driving records would pay less per mile than people who have had accidents or tickets, just like now. On average it must be true that the more you drive the more accidents you have, so this seems fair to me.

  • Live free and cheap

    Another Reason I moved to NH. I pay $650 year for FULL insurance on two newer cars. I laugh at all those who voted for Cadillac Patric They throw out 2 to 10 cents a mile, you know it won’t be two.

  • ed

    Just insure the car in another state, or quit working go on welfare, my job is 46 mi round trip i’m not about to work just to pay a 3000 dollar ins bill

  • George

    Beth Germano:
    A good first article. Please write more about this, especially the privacy and tracking issues:


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