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General Motors (GM) offers its own auto and home insurance through its OnStar services brand. OnStar Insurance is expanding its program that monitors the behavior of its policyholders in order to factor driving behavior into its rates. Good drivers may see cheaper rates and extra opportunities for discounts if they demonstrate safe habits on the road.
While drivers of any vehicle can sign up for OnStar Insurance, only owners of GM vehicles that were manufactured in 2015 or later and that have OnStar capabilities can qualify for the insurer's driving discounts. Drivers who don't own eligible vehicles may see higher costs of car insurance.
How does OnStar Insurance work?
OnStar Insurance uses data it collects on its policyholders to monitor drivers and set rates that reflect their behavior.
OnStar Insurance uses one of the latest versions of usage-based car insurance, and it is able to set rates in response to the individual behaviors of policyholders. OnStar Insurance will track its policyholders' habits and determine the cost of its auto insurance accordingly. For example, drivers who brake too suddenly or who speed often could see more expensive premiums than others.
OnStar's discount for good driving habits is currently available in Michigan, Illinois, Arizona and Texas.
Unlike Tesla's insurance, OnStar Insurance is available to all drivers — even those without OnStar-capable cars. At the same time, certain discounts for OnStar Insurance are only open to those with newer GM vehicles that are outfitted with OnStar systems.
Homeowners can also purchase insurance with OnStar. The insurer's homeowners and auto insurance policies are underwritten by subsidiaries of American Family Insurance. This means that policyholders will work with American Family if they file claims after a loss. Additionally, OnStar's partnership with American Family signals financial stability to policyholders wary of signing up with a new company.
Where is OnStar Insurance available?
OnStar Insurance is offered in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C. The company rapidly expanded its availability in late 2021 and early 2022, adding Michigan in early May to complete its national reach.
At the moment, only drivers in Michigan, Illinois, Arizona and Texas can get a discount for usage-based insurance.
How much does OnStar Insurance cost?
OnStar Insurance is more expensive than average for drivers who don't qualify for any discounts.
After comparing the costs of car insurance for a driver of a Chevrolet Equinox with OnStar and a few of its largest competitors, ValuePenguin found OnStar Insurance has expensive rates for full and minimum coverage.
In Phoenix, OnStar Insurance is the most expensive option for minimum coverage. The company's rate is over $1,200 more expensive per year — for the same vehicle — than State Farm's rate. While OnStar estimates that its customers could see up to a 20% reduction on their car insurance policies by signing up for coverage, this discount wouldn't make those rates notably more competitive.
OnStar's full coverage auto insurance, which includes liability coverage as well as comprehensive and collision protection, is cheaper than two other options. It is, however, still more expensive than average.
Rates are for a 2018 Chevy Equinox.
Like the company's car insurance, the homeowners coverage from OnStar Insurance is more expensive than its competitors. A standard homeowners insurance policy from OnStar Insurance comes with high coverage limits that cannot be adjusted online.
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OnStar's home rates are at least 56% higher than several major insurers we analyzed.
Does the cost of OnStar Insurance depend on make and model?
There is some variation in the cost of OnStar Insurance depending on the make and model of the insured vehicle. ValuePenguin compared the cost of three SUV models from GM, along with one from Honda, a non-GM car that wouldn't be eligible for further discounts.
The Honda CR-V is the most expensive option for full coverage, while the GMC Terrain is the cheapest. The average price for all the SUVs we compared is $3,796 for an annual policy, which is still much more expensive than the average cost of coverage nationally.
Rates are from Phoenix.
OnStar Insurance discounts
OnStar Insurance offers discounts for good driving to its policyholders. However, only those with GM-brand models from 2015 or later can qualify for these savings. To get a usage-based break on your rates, OnStar Insurance requires policyholders to carry its data-collection software to observe their driving habits. Drivers with eligible OnStar systems in their vehicles could save by driving fewer miles and showing attributes of a good driver.
Those without access to an OnStar system could save on their car insurance by bundling a home and auto insurance policy from the company. ValuePenguin estimates that bundling could save users several hundred dollars per year depending on the limits one selects. Drivers may also see premium reductions — even if they don't have an OnStar system — if they:
- Have a four-year degree
- Maintain a high grade point average
- Enroll in paperless billing
- Elect to pay their bills automatically
- Are away at school
- Complete a defensive driver course
If you're looking for a usage-based insurance program with more flexibility in terms of your vehicle, most major insurers offer some type of discount program for good driving habits.
ValuePenguin collected car insurance quotes for drivers in Phoenix — in the first state where OnStar was offered. In addition to the rates we gathered from OnStar Insurance, we also got quotes from State Farm, USAA, Progressive, Geico, Farmers and Allstate. Unless stated otherwise, we used the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox as a sample vehicle, as the Equinox is one of GM's best-selling models.
Our sample profile had the characteristics of a 30-year-old male driver from Phoenix. To assess the insurer's base quotes, we didn't apply any of the discounts that OnStar advertises as cost-saving opportunities — like good student, defensive driver and paperless billing.
We also collected homeowners insurance rates for a home in Phoenix. The home we used had 2,600 square feet and was built in 1963. The rates in this piece reflect $376,000 of dwelling coverage and $300,000 of liability coverage.
ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.