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in_car

Should good drivers receive cheaper insurance? Providers like Progressive think so and are rolling out new “pay how you drive” insurance options.

To take advantage of this trend, StreetOwl is launching its smartphone app to help drivers find the most affordable insurance. The San Francisco-based startup initially focused on driver safety for teens, but has shifted its product focus. Founder Jason Hovey claims the company is the first to create the technology for drivers to comparison shop “pay how you drive” insurance.

It’s a more complex solution than simply laying out the various options. Some insurance providers might think you’re a great driver for how you consistently you drive under the speed limit — which may not impress others. But once you download the free app and let it monitor you while you’re driving, StreetOwl can match you with the provider that is most likely to give you the lowest rate.

Another benefit is that the app can recommend ways for you can become a safer driver.

“Anyone can use our product for free and learn to drive better,” said Hovey in an interview. “But the most immediate incentive is helping people get a big discount on insurance.”

The alternative is to individually sign up to each insurance provider, drive for one to three months, and receive a quote. It would take over a year to comparison shop this way, but with StreetOwl, you’ll only need to complete a single driving test.

Hovey said the company is betting that in five years, more than half of insurance policies will be based on driving ability. Hovey also predicts that hardware is on its way out and will be replaced by smartphone apps like StreetOwl.

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