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What is telematics?

Learn about telematics data and how Root uses it as a primary factor in determining your car insurance rate.

What is car telematics?

Telematics is a type of technology used to gather data about a driver and their habits on the road. A telematics system measures a variety of things such as a car’s location, mileage, or speed. 

The system even registers hard braking or other risky driving activities that may occur. For car insurance companies like Root, this data is then used to provide a driver with a quote that reflects their driving behavior. 

How does a car telematics system work?

A telematics tracking system relies on the use of a data logging tool, such as the Root app, that collects information about how a car and its driver are performing on the road. All driving data obtained by the telematics system is stored in an “information center” or database.

Telematics tools for cars

There are a variety of telematic devices for cars that gather driving data; an OBD telematics device is one example. OBD (on-board diagnostics) trackers have to be connected to your car’s OBD-II port to operate. Typically, you can find this port by looking under your dashboard and directly beneath the steering wheel column. 

OBD trackers are commonly used by mechanics to pull key information from your vehicle in order to diagnose an internal issue. 

For insurance companies that offer pay as you drive insurance, the OBD tracker can be used to determine how many miles you drove. Your rate is then based on your actual mileage.

Some insurance companies also use OBD trackers to learn about driving habits, which allows them to provide customers with safe driving discounts.

Other insurance companies use a mobile app to track driving behavior, so you won’t always have to install a device into your car to get a discount on your rate. 

So how does Root use telematics? 

At Root, we use an app on your smartphone to gather information about your driving habits. With this information, we can provide you with a quote based primarily on how you drive. 

Here are some of the things we consider when measuring safe driving behavior:
  • Safe hours  It’s riskier to be on the road during certain time periods. Stick to driving during the daytime whenever possible, particularly on weekends. 

  • Smooth braking  While driving, always leave plenty of room for yourself to brake. If you’re hard braking often this might imply that you’re too close to the car in front of you. Be mindful and alert.

  • Focused driving  Do not respond to texts or adjust the music on your phone while you’re driving. Those things can wait until you’ve reached your destination. 

  • Gentle turning  Always give yourself plenty of room to slow down before making a turn. Turning at full speed puts you and your passengers at risk. 

Certain vehicles even have a built-in telematics system; in those cases you can choose to let us pull driving data directly from your car. 

Telematics and fleet management 

A Fleet Telematics System (FTS) allows a commercial vehicle fleet, like those used by shipping companies, to send relevant information to the business about a driver’s on-the-road behavior such as driving speed and location data. With this data, companies are able to ensure that their drivers are being safe and continuing to help the business run efficiently. 

Root Enterprise is working to advance commercial telematics by improving the way risk is measured. It provides fleet and car insurance companies with the tools necessary to obtain and apply telematics data, which could help lower business costs and minimize overall driving risks. 

These companies can even request a demo from Root Enterprise to learn how its telematics solutions could help their business. 

The future of telematics technology

The future of telematics is directly tied to the continued advancement of operational intelligence (OI). The main focus of OI is to enable companies and organizations to make important business decisions by providing real-time insight into their telematics data.

With access to this information, companies can make informed decisions and respond quickly to any issues that may arise.

The OI market is growing and evolving each day and will continue to find new and innovative ways to gather important information in order to empower the companies it serves. 

Telematics and the Root mobile app 

At Root, we use telematics to measure your driving behavior. Your good driving is then factored into your rate—the better you drive, the more you could save. 

Put your driving to the test to see if Root could save you hundreds. Get a quote.

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Root Inc.

80 E. Rich Street

Suite 500

Columbus, OH 43215

Copyright ROOT 2024. ROOT is a registered servicemark of Root Insurance Company, Columbus, OH. Disclaimer for quotes: We reserve the right to refuse to quote any individual a premium rate for the insurance advertised herein. Disclaimer for coverage: Coverage is available in the event of a covered loss. Exclusions may apply. Not available in all states. Disclaimer for savings: Based on savings reported by actual customers who purchased a new Root policy between October 2019 - July 2020; changes in coverage levels not evaluated. For California residents: Telematics is not used and resulting represented savings are not applicable. Referral program not applicable. Roadside Assistance purchased as separate coverage. Visit for more information. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.