Usage based insurance, also known as pay as you drive (PAYD) and pay how you drive (PHYD) and mile-based auto insurance is a type of automobile insurance whereby the costs of motor insurance are dependent upon type of vehicle used, measured against time, distance, behaviour and place.
This differs from traditional insurance, which attempts to differentiate and reward "safe" drivers, giving them lower premiums and/or a no-claims bonus. However, conventional differentiation is a reflection of history rather than present patterns of behaviour. This means that it may take a long time before safer (or more reckless) patterns of driving and changes in lifestyle feed through into premiums.
The simplest form of usage based insurance bases the insurance costs simply on the number of miles driven. However, the general concept of pay as you drive includes any scheme where the insurance costs may depend not just on how much you drive but how, where, and when one drives.
Pay as you drive (PAYD) means that the insurance premium is calculated dynamically, typically according to the amount driven. There are three types of usage based insurance:
- Coverage is based on the odometer reading of the vehicle.
- Coverage is based on mileage aggregated from GPS data, or the number of minutes the vehicle is being used as recorded by a vehicle-independent module transmitting data via cellphone or RF technology.
- Coverage is based on other data collected from the vehicle, including speed and time-of-day information, driving actions in addition to distance or time travelled.
The formula can be a simple function of the number of miles driven, or can vary according to the type of driving or the identity of the driver. Once the basic scheme is in place, it is possible to add further details, such as an extra risk premium if someone drives too long without a break, uses their mobile phone while driving, or travels at an excessive speed.
Telematic usage based insurance (i.e. the latter two types, in which vehicle information is automatically transmitted to the system) provides a much more immediate feedback loop to the driver, by changing the cost of insurance dynamically with a change of risk. This means drivers have a stronger incentive to adopt safer practices. For example, if a commuter switches to public transport or to working at home, this immediately reduces the risk of rush hour accidents. With usage based insurance, this reduction would be immediately reflected in the cost of car insurance for that month.
Potential benefits 
- Social and environmental benefits from more responsible and less unnecessary driving.
- Commercial benefits to the insurance company from better alignment of insurance with actual risk. Improved customer segmentation.
- Potential cost-savings for responsible customers.
- Technology that powers UBI/PAYD enables other vehicle-to-infrastructure solutions including drive-through payments, emergency road assistance, etc.
- More choice for consumers on type of car insurance available to buy.
- Social benefits from accessibility to affordable insurance for young drivers - rather than paying for irresponsible peers, with this type of insurance young drivers pay for how they drive.
- Higher-risk drivers pay most per use, thus have highest incentive to change driving patterns or get off the roads, leaving roads more safe.
- For telematic usage based insurance: Continuous tracking of vehicle location enhances both personal security and vehicle security. The GPS technology could be used to trace the vehicle whereabouts following an accident, breakdown or theft.
- The same GPS technology can often be used to provide other (non insurance) benefits to consumers, e.g. satellite navigation.
Potential drawbacks 
- Prepaid insurance (usage based or not) charges for future rather than past risk, and inevitably predicts some drivers' risk imprecisely. For example, a distance-based system may not distinguish between highway, city street, or rural back road driving. (Premiums can vary by zone to minimise this effect.) A telematic system may charge a driver who speeds, but otherwise drives in a safe manner, more than a slower driver who changes lanes abruptly, or drives in an inattentive or careless manner.
- Some systems (but not all) use continuous GPS tracking of vehicles, which a consumer may believe infringes on their privacy.
Progressive Insurance 
Snapshot is a car insurance program developed by Progressive Insurance in the United States. It is a voluntary, behavior-based insurance program that gives drivers a customized insurance rate based on how, how much, and when their car is driven. Snapshot is currently available in 39 states including: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Driving data is transmitted to the company using an on-board telematic device. The device connects to a car's OnBoard Diagnostic (OBD-II) port (all automobiles built after 1996 have an OBD-II.) and transmits speed, time of day and number of miles the car is driven. There is no GPS in the Snapshot device, so no location information is collected. Cars that are driven less often, in less risky ways and at less risky times of day can receive large discounts. Progressive has received patents on its methods and systems of implementing usage-based insurance and has licensed these methods and systems to other companies. Progressive has service marks pending on the terms Pay As You Drive and Pay How You Drive.
Liberty Mutual Insurance 
Onboard Advisor is a commercial lines pay-how-you-drive, PHYD, or "safety-driven" insurance product by Liberty Mutual Agency Corporation. It offers up to 40% discount to commercial and private fleets based on how safely they actually drive.
Real Insurance 
Pay As You Drive is the world's first trust-based product developed in Australia by Real Insurance. It solves a number of the problems that especially location based solutions face, particularly privacy issues and variable premiums. Customers pay a minimum premium, and then pre-pay for kilometers.
The International Research and Intelligent Systems Global (IRIS) company's Pay As You Drive and Fleet Risk Management products won Strategic Risk magazine's "European Risk Management Product of the Year 2008". These products are currently under evaluation by two major insurance companies. IRIS is located in Coventry, United Kingdom.
GMAC Insurance 
GMAC Insurance is one of the first and largest auto insurance companies to institute a Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) program in the United States back in 2004. The GMAC Insurance Low-Mileage Discount is an innovative program offered to OnStar subscribers in 34 states, where those who drive less pay less on their auto insurance.
This opt-in program is the first of its kind leveraging state-of-the-art technology using OnStar to allow customers who drive fewer miles to benefit from substantial savings. Eligible active OnStar subscribers sign up to save on their premiums if they drive less than 15,000 miles annually. Subscribers who drive even less than that can save even more (up to 54%).
Under the program, new GMAC Insurance customers receive an automatic insurance discount of approximately 26 percent upon enrollment (existing OnStar customers receive a discount based on historical mileage).
With the subscriber’s permission, the odometer reading from his or her monthly OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics report is forwarded to GMAC Insurance. Based on those readings, the company will decrease the premium using discount tiers corresponding to miles driven.
Information sent from OnStar to GMAC Insurance pertains solely to mileage, and no additional data is gathered or used for any purpose other than to help manage transportation costs. Customers who drive more than 15,000 miles per year are not penalized and all OnStar customers receive an insurance discount simply for having an active OnStar subscription.
A number of tests of telematic auto insurance are currently underway or recently completed. These tests are being conducted in many different countries. They include:
- King County, Washington, United States: 5000 person trial by Unigard Insurance with US$ 1.9 million in federal funding
- EP 0700009 "Individual evaluation system for motorcar risk"
- US 5797134 "Motor vehicle monitoring system for determining a cost of insurance" Progressive auto insurance
- JP application 2002259708 "Vehicular Insurance Bill Calculating System, On-Vehicle Device, and Server Device", Toyota
- WO application 2005083605 "Insurance Fee Calculation Device, Insurance Fee Calculation Program, Insurance Fee Calculation Method, and Insurance Fee Calculation System", AIOI Insurance Company.
In order to make sure that patents did not hinder its Pay as You Drive development program, Norwich Union purchased the UK version of EP0700009 and obtained an exclusive license to any EU patents that may emerge from Progressive's EU patent applications.
In September 2010 Progressive Auto Insurance filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against Hughes Telematics to have several its patents covering OBDII mounted wireless data loggers declared invalid. Progressive uses these devices from a competitive supplier, Xirgo Technologies.
- "Pay as You Drive" is a trademark of Hollard in South Africa.
- "Pay as You Drive" is a trademark of Real Insurance in Australia.
- "Pay as You Drive" is a trademark of Norwich Union in the United Kingdom.
- "Pay as You Drive" is a registered trademark of Progressive Corporation in the US.
- "Pay as You Drive" is a trademark of AZ LOGICA in Colombia, which is the main developer of PAYD in Latin America.
- "MileMeter" and "Auto Insurance By The Mile" are U.S. trademarks of MileMeter, Inc.
Impaired driving 
Telematics have been proposed or utilised in order to detect distracted driving. The use of telematics to detect drunk driving and Texting while driving has been proposed. A US patent application combining this technology with a usage based insurance product was open for public comment on peer to patent.
- J. Paefgen, T. Staake & F. Thiesse, "Resolving the Misalignment between Consumer Privacy Concerns and Ubiquitous IS Design: The Case of Usage-based Insurance", International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), 2012
- Iqbal & Lim, "A Privacy Preserving GPS-based Pay-as-You-Drive Insurance Scheme", International Global Navigation Systems Society, 2006
- One-of-a-Kind Car Insurance Program Lets Drivers Save Big Bucks Based on How They Drive
- Desyllas & Sako, Profiting from Business Model Innovation: Evidence from Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004873331200145X
- AIOI 2005 annual report, page 37.
- "IRIS earns top European accolade", The Birmingham Post, May 12, 2008
- Lifsher, Marc (July 15, 2008). "Pay-as-you-drive policies gaining mileage in state". Los Angeles Times.
- "Video: GMAC Insurance Reveals Ways for Drivers to Cut Costs on the Road". Reuters. July 1, 2008.
- "King County gets $1.9 million to test drive innovative statewide car insurance program", March 27, 2007
- Nowotarski, Mark, "Progressive Builds a Fortress of Patent Protection", Insurance IP Bulletin, October 15, 2004
- Shaheen Samavati “Progressive files suit against Liberty Mutual”, The Plain Dealer, June 21, 2010
- Patent Q&A Declaratory Judgment, Insurance IP Bulletin, October 2010
- Website of Hollard Pay As You Drive
- Commercial web site for Norwich Union showing trademark
- US registration of "Pay as You Drive" trademark
- Harold Davis “’Black Box’ idea travels to cars”, The News-Times, 5/22/09
- US patent application 20090063201 “SoberTeen driving insurance”
- "Drive Less, Pay Less for Insurance" Environmental Defense Fund (Nov. 12, 2008)
- Pay-As-You-Drive Vehicle Insurance advocacy organisation (British Columbia, Canada)
- "Insurer launches per-mile cover" BBC News Report (October 5, 2006)
- "Motorists 'must pay for road use' BBC News Report (December 1, 2006)
- Texas Driving Research Study
- Big Brother in the Back Seat, Electronic Design Magazine, Sept. 06, 2004
- PriPAYD: Privacy Friendly Pay-As-You-Drive by Troncoso et al. (Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society 2007)
- Pay at the Pump
- The Economist (February 23, 2013)
- UBI set for the mainstream? (February 26, 2013)