State Farm Drive Safe & Save Review

State Farm Drive Safe & Save Review

State Farm Drive Safe and Save has one of the best usage-based discounts, but drivers must agree to continuous monitoring.

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Drive Safe and Save with State Farm does just what its name says: It offers auto insurance discounts to program participants if they drive safe. A usage-based insurance program (UBI), it uses telematics technology to track and score your driving behavior. The more safely you drive, the bigger your discount — but State Farm guarantees that all users receive a discount of some kind, no matter how badly they perform.

State Farm advertises discounts of up to 50% for some drivers and 30% for most. That makes it the most generous offer available from a major national insurer and a great way to cut down on State Farm's already-affordable rates. To net this impressive discount, however, you must agree to continuous tracking of your performance, which can drain your phone battery and raise privacy concerns. State Farm also factors more behaviors into your driving score than other programs, so there are more variables that could potentially detract from your discount, such as driving during rush hour and phone usage.

ValuePenguin analyzed usage-based discount programs from six national insurers, comparing savings, privacy concerns and other key factors. We used this research to identify if State Farm Drive Safe and Save will best fit your needs.

Good for

One of the highest usage-based discounts

Increasing your discount over multiple policy periods

Bad for

Drivers who can't stay phone-free on the road

Drivers who don't want to experience continuous monitoring

Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island residents

What is State Farm Drive Safe and Save?

The State Farm Drive Safe & Save program uses driving data — either from an app and a beacon Bluetooth device or from OnStar — to gauge your performance as a driver and award discounts for safe habits. You can enroll in State Farm Drive Safe & Save at no additional cost to yourself; the program is completely free.

The maximum discount for most drivers is 30%, though State Farm says that in certain states and situations, the maximum discount is 50%. That's by far the biggest discount from a telematics program from a major national insurer.

Additionally, State Farm Drive Safe & Save comes with a pledge that all drivers who continue to use the program will get a discount on their auto insurance. Other programs do not offer this guarantee. Some, like Liberty Mutual RightTrack, only pledge that your rates will not go up, while others, like Progressive Snapshot, do not even come with this guarantee.

State Farm policyholders in California, Rhode Island and Massachusetts should be aware that Drive Safe & Save is not available in their state. To get their rates down, these drivers will need to ask about other State Farm discounts or select another UBI program from a different company.

Is State Farm Drive Safe and Save worth it?

State Farm Drive Safe and Save is worth it if you're comfortable allowing your insurer to continuously monitor your driving performance. State Farm already offers some of the cheapest car insurance available, and by allowing Drive Safe & Save to track your performance, you can get even cheaper premiums.

If you'd prefer not to undergo continuous monitoring, however, consider another telematics program. Both Progressive Snapshot and Liberty Mutual RightTrack only monitor users for a limited period of time and then continue to apply the discount that you've earned to future policy renewals.

Program name
Maximum discount
Review period length
Can premiums go up?
Phone usage impacts discount?
State Farm Drive Safe & Save30%-50%Each policy renewal periodDiscount may increase or decrease depending on driving performanceYes
Progressive Snapshot$37 average sign-up discount, $145 average final discountFirst policy periodYesYes, if using mobile app
Allstate Drivewise (app)No maximum; initial sign-up discount, followed by performance discountFirst 50 trips, then every six monthsDiscount may increase or decrease depending on performanceNo
Liberty Mutual RightTrack30%90 daysNoNo
Geico DriveEasy25%First policy periodYesYes
Nationwide SmartRide40%Four to six monthsNoNo
USAA SafePilot20%Each policy renewal periodDiscount may increase or decrease based on performanceYes

You should consider using State Farm Drive Safe & Save if:

  • Your main goal is to maximize your car insurance discount. State Farm Drive Safe & Save monitors your driving continuously, but it also offers you the opportunity to save up to 30% or, in some states, up to 50% on your car insurance.
  • You feel confident in your ability to drive phone-free. Your phone usage impacts your discount with Drive Safe & Save, so if you rely on your phone while driving, it may be worth it to consider another program.
  • You'd prefer to just enroll one car on your policy. While some programs require you to enroll all the cars and drivers included on your policy, Drive Safe and Safe does not — though your discount will increase if you do.
  • You have an OnStar subscription. State Farm Drive Safe and Save pairs with OnStar, so you can get a discount on your auto insurance if you share your data via OnStar's monitoring technology.

You should not consider using Drive Safe & Save if:

  • You want your discount to stay consistent. Because State Farm adjusts your discount at each policy period based on your performance, your discount could change from term to term. If you'd prefer a little more consistency, pick a program that only monitors for a limited period.
  • You drive late or during rush hour. Most telematics programs penalize you for late-night driving, but Drive Safe & Save includes rush-hour driving in its list of monitored behaviors. If this is something you cannot avoid, it may be worth considering another program.

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State Farm Drive Safe & Save: Mobile app vs OnStar

State Farm Drive Safe and Save differs slightly depending on whether you use the version powered by the mobile app and the Bluetooth beacon or the version powered by OnStar.

State Farm Drive Safe & Save Mobile

Most other UBI programs gather driving data through either a tracking device or a mobile app, but State Farm Drive Safe and Save uses both. Below, we've adapted the sign-up steps for the mobile version of Drive Safe & Save:

  • Step one: Text the word "save" to 78836, and State Farm will send you a link to download the Drive Safe & Save telematics mobile app, developed by Cambridge Mobile. Alternatively, you can download the Drive Safe and Save app via the Google Play app store for Android or the Apple app store for iOS.
  • Step two: Input either your driver's license information or your username and password into the Drive Safe & Save mobile app. After completing this sign-up process, you'll receive an initial discount.
  • Step three: Install your State Farm Drive Safe and Save Bluetooth beacon when it arrives in the mail, which should occur in five days. While there is no particular requirement as to where you place the beacon, State Farm says the best placement for it is on your windshield.
  • Step four: Pair the State Farm driving beacon with the app. When State Farm sends you the beacon, it also sends detailed instructions on how to pair the Drive Safe and Save app with the beacon. Be aware: The State Farm Drive Safe and Save beacon pairs with the app instead of with your phone's Bluetooth settings, so if you've accidentally paired it with your Bluetooth during setup, be sure to correct the error.
  • Step five: Provide an odometer reading to State Farm via the app or, alternatively, via or your State Farm agent.
  • Step six: Drive. Review your performance via the Drive Safe and Safe app, which grades your driving performance over the past few weeks and displays an overall score, as well as data on individual trips.
  • Step seven: At the end of the six-month policy term, whatever discount you've earned will be applied to your renewal in addition to the initial discount you received for signing up.
  • Step eight: Begin the cycle again. Send your odometer reading to State Farm, and start driving to calculate your next discount.

Because the Drive Safe & Save technology follows the car rather than the driver, you can decide whether you want to include all the cars and all the drivers on your policy or just one. However, State Farm says that having multiple drivers participate can increase your discount, so if you share a policy with other drivers and trust them to drive well, be sure to add them to the program as well. If multiple listed operators are in the car for the same ride, the first phone that connects to the beacon will record the trip.

You are not required to enroll multiple drivers or multiple cars in State Farm Drive Safe and Save, but doing so could help you maximize your discount.

Additionally, while State Farm guarantees that Drive Safe and Save will not raise your rates, there is one possible exception to this rule: the low-mileage discount. If you currently receive a low-mileage discount on your car insurance for keeping your annual mileage below 7,500 miles but your odometer readings show that you actually drive more, State Farm could raise your rates to match your true mileage.

Phone type
Rating of Drive Safe & Save mobile app
Apple iPhone4.6/5
Google Android4.2/5

Both Apple and Android users have largely positive reviews for the State Farm Drive Safe and Save mobile app. It might function slightly better on iOS than on Android, as iPhone users gave it a 4.6 out of 5, while Android users gave it a 4.2 out of 5. If you encounter problems with Drive Safe and Save — such as it not recording trips in the app — make sure you've installed the most recent update and your battery is above 20% before calling the 24/7 tech support number.

If you decide to cancel Drive Safe and Save, State Farm does not require you to return the beacon device. Instead, recycle it as you would any other electronic device.

State Farm Drive Safe & Save OnStar

Instead of using an app and beacon device to monitor and reward good drivers, the OnStar version of State Farm Drive Safe & Save uses OnStar technology. A subsidiary of General Motors, OnStar builds telematics technology and other services into cars, though some cars can be outfitted with OnStar telematics even if they're not manufactured by General Motors.

The OnStar version of Drive Safe & Save works very similarly to the mobile app version. You enroll your policy, drive and review your performance either on the mobile app or on your online account page. Better driving performance is rewarded with better discounts.

The only difference is that State Farm gets your driving data from OnStar instead of from the Drive Safe and Save beacon and app. Users must have an active OnStar subscription, which costs $14.99 a month at the most inexpensive tier and $44.99 a month at the most expensive.

Before signing up for OnStar Drive Safe and Save, we recommend determining whether the other OnStar features are worth it to you. Otherwise, it may make more sense to use the mobile app version of Drive Safe & Save, which has the advantage of being completely free.

What does the State Farm Drive Safe & Save app track?

State Farm Drive Safe & Save monitors the following behaviors:

  • Sudden acceleration and braking
  • Making sharp turns
  • Phone usage, including hands-free usage
  • Driving eight miles or more above the speed limit
  • Driving during late and heavy-traffic hours

State Farm Drive Safe and Save monitors more behaviors than other UBI programs do, which gives it more opportunities to penalize bad habits.

For instance, while Liberty Mutual RightTrack does note your speed, it does so in order to track your braking and acceleration habits — not whether you drive above the speed limit, like Drive Safe and Save does.

Similarly, while Allstate Drivewise monitors your phone usage on the road, this monitoring is only done to help you form better habits and does not impact your discount. With Drive Safe and Safe, any phone use — including a hands-free phone call — counts against you.

State Farm, however, factors all of these behaviors into your Drive Safe & Save discount. This is the major catch-22 of the Drive Safe and Save program: It offers bigger rewards than most of the other telematics programs, but it monitors drivers far more rigorously. While your rates won't go up because of these behaviors, your discount might not be as large as you anticipate.

If you were mistakenly classified as the driver when you weren't actually in the driver's seat, there's now a fix for that. State Farm recently enabled new features to the app that let you reclassify trips when you weren't driving, or when multiple people are in the car with the same telematics app. You can also specify when you were driving but someone else was using your phone, which will prevent you from being penalized for being distracted by your phone.

How to cheat State Farm Drive Safe and Save

Want to trick State Farm Drive Safe and Save into thinking you're a safer driver than you are? Don't try it. It may be tempting to uninstall the app, but State Farm explicitly says that doing this could cause you to forfeit your discount.

However, while you should not uninstall the app, you can temporarily turn off Bluetooth and location services when you're not driving. That way, you're not constantly sharing location data with State Farm.

This ability to turn off location distinguishes Drive Safe & Save from other UBI programs. Some programs, like Progressive Snapshot, do not allow you to turn off location services and know when you're taking alternative transportation, such as a bike.

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