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CNN Today

Your Money: Insuring Every Mile

Aired June 21, 2000 - 1:39 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: When we buy car insurance, usually we have to estimate how many miles we drive every day. One company is using technology to make that job easier. The company knows exactly where we are and how far we drive, and it's saving some folks a bundle of money.

Here is CNN's Bruce Francis

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE FRANCIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rhonda Cason is test driving a new type of auto insurance, one that connects her car with a global positioning satellite system. It tracks and records how far she drives each month.

BOB MCMILLAN, PROGRESSIVE AUTO INSURANCE: By doing that, we can provide people with car insurance basically by the mile.

FRANCIS: The technology isn't new. General Motors puts a similar satellite device into some of its new cars, but Progressive is the first to use it for insurance purposes.

Americans spent $110 billion last year on personal insurance, and the market is fiercely competitive. The Insurance Information Institute says only significant savings will tempt most customers away from their current company. Progressive says drivers they insure in Houston, Texas are saving an average 25 percent.

MCMILLAN: Most of our miles that we drive as consumers are commute miles. People who have maybe the second or third car that isn't used as much as the primary vehicle are big winners.

UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: Thank you for on-guard (ph) response center. How may I help you?

RHONDA CASON: Yes, can you tell me where the closest gas station is to my location?

FRANCIS: A bonus for Rhonda Cason is that when she is on the road, the satellite hookup, coupled with cellular phone technology, means help is never far away.

CASON: There have been times when I've been caught where I'm very low on gas. It's very reassuring to, number one, to be able to hit a button from inside the safety of my vehicle and ask where the closest gas station is.

FRANCIS: Progressive says the system is not for everybody. If you rack up high mileage, you may be better off with a traditional car policy.

That's "Your Money," Bruce Francis, CNN Financial News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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