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Auto Know: Ajusto test saving me 18% on insurance

Published August 14, 2013
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Desjardins Insurance claims up to 25 per cent savings at policy renewal time, if you’ll install an Ajusto device in your car. But is that figure really achievable in the real world?

Eric Lai responds:

Coincidentally, I’ve just switched to Desjardins, so I’ll put Ajusto to the test for Wheels readers.

Ajusto is a black-box device that taps into the car’s on-board computer to report your driving habits to the insurer.

Savings are based on:

Mileage: Drive less than 15,000 km per year to save up to 10 per cent (drive less/save more).

Time of day: Driving from 10:01 p.m. to midnight is considered moderate risk, and midnight to 5 a.m. is high risk. On weekdays, rush-hour times of 7:01 to 9 a.m. and 4:01 to 6 p.m. are moderate risk. All other times are low risk. Save up to 5 per cent.

Fast acceleration or hard braking: Accelerate faster than 13 km/h in one second, or decelerate 15 km/h or more in one second, and the device will consider this sudden. Avoid doing that to save 10 per cent.

You also receive a 5-per-cent sign-up discount on your current policy for signing up for Ajusto. You can quit any time and forego future discounts.

Desjardins insists that any negative data gathered, including speeding, won’t hike premiums.

So how’s my trial going so far?

I’m not an aggressive driver. I’m typically among the turtles left behind after the jack-rabbits take off. So, I was shocked when Ajusto reported six fast-acceleration incidents and three hard stops last month.

Apparently, the initial 0-13 km/h from a standing start is triggering acceleration alerts. But, with a V8 automatic Crown Vic, that goes by in a flash unless I really feather-foot the gas pedal.

I’ll try to do better, but drivers behind me won’t be happy.

After the first month, Ajusto’s verdict is an 18-per-cent discount on next year’s premium.

Realistically, I don’t expect much more. The hard braking is from stopping at amber lights, and I don’t intend to start running those. You also don’t have a choice when the driver ahead abruptly halts for the amber.

As for fast acceleration, isn’t that what highway acceleration lanes, which are often quite short, are designed for? Also, fast acceleration is sometimes necessary after a right turn on red into moving traffic.

Regarding time of day, most working people don’t have the choice to avoid rush hours. And, midnight travellers/party-goers likely won’t be altering their lifestyles, either.

Recently, a passenger asked why I was accelerating so slowly after a stop. When I explained about Ajusto, he said, “I’d rather pay more than have that thing spying on me.”

As for me, I fear obsessing about getting the maximum discount might cause a distracted driving crash. So, I’ll just concentrate on safe driving, and let the chips fall where they may with Ajusto.

Email your non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at wheels@thestar.ca. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

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