Tesla offers real-time 'safety score' car insurance in US, ignoring drivers' age and gender

Drivers in Texas can now choose to pay based on "real-time driving behaviour".
Drivers in Texas can now choose to pay based on "real-time driving behaviour". Photo credit: Getty Images / Supplied

If you're a safe driver your car insurance premium is generally reduced to reflect the lack of claims against your policy.

But Tesla is taking things to a whole new level by introducing a new policy offering insurance based on "real-time driving behaviour".

The Elon Musk-owned company, which is currently under investigation by traffic safety authorities in the US, recently announced it's moving its corporate headquarters to Texas. Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y drivers in the company's new home state can now pay premiums based on their car's monthly 'Safety Score'.

Tesla says it won't even bother to look at more traditional factors for deciding insurance prices like age, gender, claim history and driving records, instead focusing on how a person drives in the real world.

"Tesla uses specific features within the vehicle to evaluate your premium based on your actual driving," the company states.

"You will make monthly payments based on your driving behaviour instead of traditional factors... used by other insurance providers."

That means an average driver could save between 20 percent and 40 percent on their premium costs, with the safest drivers potentially cutting 60 percent of the payment, the company says.

'Safety Score' uses five metrics to calculate the likelihood of someone's driving ending in an accident.

It's not impacted by the time or distance someone drives but on factors including too much hard braking, aggressive turning and unsafe following of other vehicles.

"Every month, we combine your daily Safety Scores into a 30-day, mileage-weighted average to calculate the Safety Score used to update your premium," the company states.

All drivers start with a 'Safety Score' of 90 when they sign up for the policy, with the premium going down as the score goes up.

The company also offers insurance to drivers in California, but Texas is the first state to use driving metrics to adjust the prices. It says it hopes to roll it out wider in the future.

Tesla currently has until November 1 to reply to a letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demanding to know why it didn't recall its cars over a flaw in its AutoPilot system.

Meanwhile, the company's CyberTruck price and specification details have disappeared from the website, prompting speculation they both may be subject to change.

The electric pickup truck, originally scheduled to be released this year, was delayed to 2022 in August.

The angular truck is infamous due to the breaking of its unsmashable armoured glass windows cracking during an on-stage demonstration.

Website Car and Driver says potential buyers can still pay a US$100 deposit for the new vehicle, but because the company doesn't have a traditional PR department, no details have been released for the change in status.