5 Ways Verizon Hum Beats OnStar

This easy-to-install service calls 911 after a crash and tracks your car if it gets stolen.

Automatic crash response is a great safety feature in many new cars, but for those without OnStar or something like it built-in, Verizon has launched an aftermarket, mobile-app-supported telematics service that will send emergency help in the event of an accident.

Verizon’s $15-a-month Hum, also offers more routine roadside assistance for flat tires, dead batteries and even oversights like running out of gas. General Motor’s OnStar For My Vehicle add-on fell flat because it lacked key features of the built-in OnStar.  Here, five ways that Verizon’s new Hum service is actually better than OnStarFMV:

1. Hum plugs into your car’s diagnostic port.  So it knows what is going on, such as when air bags have deployed, rather than guessing based on its own sensors. This also lets it monitor your car’s mechanical health and provide updates to your phone via iPhone or Android app.

2. Hum is ridiculously easy to install. Plug one module into the diagnostic port under the dashboard and clip the other module onto your sun visor, and you’re done. OnStar FMV requires hours of professional installation work.

3. Hum doesn’t replace your car’s built-in features. Many new cars have technology built in to their rear view mirrors, such as sensors for automatic windshield wipers or automatic headlight dimming. OnStar FMV replaces the factory mirror, so customers lose those features.

4. Hum has a built-in GPS.  So you can find it in that sprawling big box store parking lot. Or, worst case, the police can locate it if its been stolen. (OnStar FMV lacks a vehicle tracking capability.)

5. It’s free! Well, sort of.  Hum follows the cellular carrier model of discounting hardware to sell services, so the hardware is free with a two-year subscription to the $15 a month service.

Photos by General Motors Co,