Privacy is a big issue for people these days, what with every website able to see where you go, what you’re searching for and serve up ads. With the NSA looking at emails and phone calls from regular folks, the issue is bigger than ever. But would you elect to be monitored if it would save you money?

You’ve probably seen the commercials for Progressive insurance’s Snapshot pay-as-you-drive device. State Farm has a similar program called In-Drive. If you opt for these programs to save money on your car insurance, you have to remember that it also means your car insurance company is tracking you.

Among the driving habits that Progressive’s Snapshot monitors are how hard you apply the brakes, how many miles you drive each day and what time of day you drive (if you drive a lot from midnight to 4 a.m., that will be recorded).

Some insurance companies will monitor your home. United Services Automobile Association (USAA) has a patent for a device that will allow the insurance company to look at what goes on inside your house. The technology would monitor hot spots to find potential electrical problems, cold spots to detect lack of insulation and moisture and mold problems. Industry folks say this kind of monitoring will allow insurance companies to better manage their risk; consumer advocates say there is no benefit to homeowners unless they get a discount. At this point, home monitoring has not been implemented.

But monitoring driving habits to get a discount is growing and gaining acceptance. A survey done by CarInsurance.com earlier this year found that 39 percent of the participants would install a data-monitoring device in their car if they got a discount. (Sixty-four percent of survey participants also said they would let an insurance company install a breathalyzer in their car.)

So, readers, would you allow an insurance company to monitor your car? If you use a car-monitoring device, what kind of savings do you see on your premium?

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