Insurance company offers Tesla owners cheaper rates if they use Autopilot

Insurance upstart Root announced a new insurance policy targeted to Tesla owners that promises cheaper rates based on the number of miles driven using the company’s Autopilot drivers assist feature.

Root requires drivers to download an app that uses GPS and other sensors on the phone to create a driving profile over a period of two or three weeks from which it can determine driver risk. Root then stops monitoring and accepts only the lowest risk drivers which to date has resulted in roughly 70% of drivers making the cut.

The lower rate incentive comes after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a crash investigation report that highlighted the safety benefits of Tesla’s Autosteer feature, stating that data obtained through the investigation showed “Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by almost 40 percent after Autosteer installation”.

Root’s insurance program is focused on Tesla drivers using Root’s specific smartphone app, but the use of a smartphone app to determine driver specific risk based on actual driving data could easily be utilized for drivers of any vehicle type. Tesla gets the nod with this new plan as the Autopilot function will result in a lower risk profile.

It is likely that this is the first of many creative insurance plans attempting to ride on the coat tails of Tesla’s news of a potential ‘Tesla Insurance’ spinoff as a result of the vastly improved safety performance of autopilot-enabled Tesla vehicles.

Root shared that it has reached out to Tesla to extract realtime Autopilot usage data but has not received a response.

Teslarati has also reached out to Root to confirm the specifics of the program and will share an update when we hear back.

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