Battle For Car Data Will Ultimately Set Premium Prices

The issue of shared car data is going to be a bone of contention between car makers and insurers. How much data is shared on each driver, passenger and journey, will make a big difference in calculating risk. That leads on to varying levels of premium at renewal time.

In theory car makers could ring fence the data and offer their own white label insurance, packaged into a monthly lease plan. In reality, consumers are far more likely to win the legal right to control the data via consent, if only to protect the privacy of wealthier drivers, who are often part of the political class.

Vanarama has conducted a study into the important question of privacy and data safety within connected cars, comparing the information that is collected from 10 of the biggest car companies, and who can gain access to it. The twist in the tale with car data is that by syncing your smartphone to the car, you actually share loads of personal data to the vehicle, but technically, you still “own” that data. However, when a car is sold, or another driver takes the keyless entry fob, some of that phone data can pop up on the central console screen.

What Information is Collected?

Information collected about you from your car or synced mobile devices includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Payment Information
  • Driving Licence

If your connected car comes complete with its own application, then any information that you submit will be automatically connected to your car and will help to build a profile of you, especially when this is matched with data from the infotainment system within the car.

Personal information such as your name and address (findable from your saved location on your sat nav) will all be accessible, around with your phone number and email. Your payment information will also be stored with the car manufacturer you pay for any additional content like apps on your phone or infotainment unit.

Who Can Access The Data?

There are four parties that are able to access your data, both legally and illegally including:

Car Manufacturers: The most obvious party that can access your data is the manufacturer of your car. Due to the data being hosted on their servers, they have direct access.

Third Parties: There are two types of third parties that car companies will share your information with. Firstly, third parties that you decide to authorise, whether it be on a mobile application or on the car’s infotainment unit. Make sure to check the permissions before accepting them all! Also, car manufacturers are required to share your information with third parties by law, such as the police if you are involved in an accident.

Hackers: If you have a connected car, your data may be stored in the cloud. Although it’s extremely unlikely, hackers may have the ability to access your information remotely.

Next Owner: If your information is stored locally on the internal computer of the car and you forget to erase it before handing it back to the leasing company or selling it, the new owner or driver of the car my gain access to your private information.

What Is My Car-Stored Data Worth?

It’s estimated that the user data generated by the average adult in the US was valued at $35 per month, or $420 per year, says Vanarama.


LexisNexis looked at the legal issues surrounding shared data from the connected cars of the future. Cars will soon “talk” to each other, and react to info being transmitted by infrastructure, like traffic cameras, road signage or perhaps lane indicators on smart motorways. There are some more thoughts from LexisNexis on their blog here, although you need to sign up for a trial to read the full article.

Another feature LexisNexis offers to car insurers is LexID. This US market system gives the insurer deeper insights into the data records attached to that vehicle. So if another public data source interacts with that car, then that touchpoint is built into the LexID. For insurers and brokers the benefit is gaining extra insights, without asking for driver’s personal info – you are simply checking the LexID database for common data entry points, not accessing the car’s systems or asking for personal data from the driver.

The balance between privacy and shared data is going to be something that car manufacturers, insurers and politicians all have to define in the future, as cars become connected, and in many cases, hire vehicles – not owned.

Find out more here. 



About alastair walker 9329 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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