Car Insurance, Your Driving Record and Privacy Erosion

Speaking of personal information, do you know that your insurance company has the right to search your driving record to see if you've been "good"?

Not only do they have the right to do that, more and more companies are checking more frequently. This gives them a good chance of catching any changes in your driving history early, and that gives them a chance to jack your rates as quickly as possible. Don't kid yourself: as soon as an insurer sees anything that just might give even the hint of increased risk, you'll be paying more.

It's even worse than that. In fact, don't be surprised if the police actually report your most recent infraction to the insurance company! Why? Well, if you have to pay both your fine for your ticket and an increased insurance premium, the thought is that you'll think twice before speeding again. (I swear, based on what I see on the roads, the strategy is not working.)

While this scenario might seem like a good idea in order to keep bad drivers under control, it's yet another place where our "personal" and "private" information is being made public under the guise of "protecting" us. It's the same argument for making our full health record more accessible -- after all, a doctor treating us will be able to do so much more effectively if she or he can read our entire health record in one consolidated place, right? However, don't be surprised if very soon after such a record becomes available if life insurers and health insurers aren't asking for access to such information. After all, if they can find out early that someone is "high risk", they can protect their other clients from high premiums, just by excluding those high risk few...

I think many of these apparently "good" ideas are a slippery slope for our privacy and our chances of acting in our own best interests. After all, what if a doctor a long time ago made a mistaken diagnosis and it got on our health record? Will that "haunt" us?

You bet it will. The same way that speeding ticket will haunt you on your car insurance for several years after you get it.


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