About Hum by Verizon

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: Oct 24, 2017

Smartphones. Tablets. TVs. Watches. Home automation.

Today, we’re more connected than ever to the world around us. But despite the fact that we spend an average of 4.3 years behind the wheel over our lifetime, most of us aren’t very “connected” to our cars.

But Hum by Verizon is out to change the situation. Promoted as a smart upgrade, it simply plugs into your car’s OBD-II port and turns it into a safer, more connected car. How?

Mainly, by providing vehicle diagnostics (i.e., preventing breakdowns) and giving you access to faster roadside and emergency assistance. The upgraded HumX model can even act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. And all of this happens through Hum’s Android and iOS apps.

Pretty cool, right? Now, just about anyone can drive smarter and safer. But the big questions are: How much value will Verizon’s Hum provide? Is it worth the money? Are there better options out there?

Here, we’ll provide a brief overview and walk you through some important considerations to keep in mind. Ultimately, everyone’s needs are different, so we’ll lay out the information and leave the final decision up to you.

First up: Just what is a “smart” device, anyway?

What Makes a “Smart” Vehicle?

When it comes to electronics, the word “smart” might make you think about some kind of artificial intelligence or futuristic technology. But the reality is a “smart” device is just “an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, 3G, etc., that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously.”

This means that many products you use every day are considered smart; obviously your phone and computer, but also home automation (lighting, heating and cooling, security, etc.), TVs, home appliances, and even cookware. And now, with devices like Hum, Verizon advertises that you can make your car smart, too.

But exactly how do Hum's smart features work? And more importantly, how do they benefit you and your family? Let’s take a look.

A Brief Rundown of Hum’s Key Features

Verizon’s Hum system is comprised of three main parts:

  • OBD-II Reader – This small device plugs into your car’s OBD-II (Onboard Diagnostic) port, which is what most mechanics use to run diagnostics on your car. Most vehicles 1996 and newer will work with Hum’s OBD reader, but make sure to double check compatibility before placing your order.
  • Speaker – Hum’s Bluetooth speaker clips directly to your visor and communicates between the OBD-II reader and your app. The speaker also allows you to talk hands-free when driving, and provides one-button access to help in the event of an emergency.
  • App – Available for Android and iOS devices, the Hum app provides access to diagnostics, reminders, and more.

Taken together, what benefits will all of Hum’s technology provide? As we mentioned above, most of it relates to diagnostics and emergency assistance:

Vehicle Health & Maintenance Reminders

Verizon equipped Hum with easy-to-understand diagnostic updates, such as when a light appears on your dashboard, which are sent to your account on the Hum website. You can also receive diagnostic information via text, email, or on the Hum app.

According to the company, these “easy-to-understand alerts for hundreds of car issues” can “help you save money and avoid serious breakdowns.”

And if you learn that your car needs work, you can use Hum’s Mechanics Hotline to obtain personalized, unbiased advice and repair estimates from certified, independent mechanics.

In addition, Hum’s maintenance reminders can help you remember important events, like oil changes and tire rotation, via text or email.

Roadside & Emergency Assistance

Using GPS, Hum gives you access to pinpoint roadside assistance provided by Signature Motor Club, Inc., who can quickly reach you in the event of an emergency.

Speaking of which, Hum will automatically call for emergency assistance if you’ve been involved in a collision. Or, you can simply press the button on your visor speaker for quick access to emergency services.

Important note: According to the Hum website, roadside service is limited to up to four “events” per year. For clarification, we contacted customer service and learned that this is per vehicle, not per account. Also, there are some important restrictions that might differ from your current roadside service provider (for example, they won’t change a flat tire for you).

In addition to diagnostics and roadside assistance, Hum also can send your car’s location to local law enforcement if it’s stolen, as well as locate your parked car and send reminders to pay the parking meter. And the Safety Score can help you identify potentially risky habits related to factors like acceleration, speed, braking, and cornering.

Finally, you can use GPS to identify where your car is parked, as well as its last location; driving history (average miles traveled, idle time, average miles per gallon, speed, etc.), which can be filtered by day, week, month or year; and customizable speed and boundary alerts.

HumX vs. Hum: What’s the Main Benefit?

Compared to the standard system, HumX’s silver speaker also acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot, which allows you to connect up to 10 devices at any one time and provides access to streaming music, movies, and so forth.

Regardless of device type, anyone in the vehicle can connect to your hotspot, as long as they have your network name/SSID and the password.

How Does Hum by Verizon Stack Up?

Let’s take a closer look at some of Hum’s closest competitors.

OnStar & RemoteLink

What it is: The granddaddy of vehicle connectivity, OnStar has been around since 1996 and is built directly into many General Motors vehicles (i.e., it’s permanent hardware that can’t be removed).

How it compares: Perhaps the biggest distinction is that OnStar’s hardware is permanent, while the Hum system is removable. So if you don’t have a GM vehicle, or if you do, but it doesn’t feature OnStar connectivity, you’re out of luck.

From a services standpoint, OnStar offers roadside and emergency assistance, security, mobile connectivity, an interactive app, and diagnostics. Like Hum, OnStar also provides turn-by-turn navigation, and can even work as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Although OnStar’s security features seem to be more robust, including remote ignition block and stolen vehicle slowdown.

What it costs: As far as price, OnStar customers will generally pay a lot more than with Hum (we’ll talk specifically about Hum’s cost in the next section), depending on the package you choose. And if you want Wi-Fi access, you’ll have to pay even more for a data plan.

Automatic App & Adapter

What it is: From a hardware perspective, the Automatic Adapter is similar to Hum’s OBD-II’s connectivity, which gathers information about driving habits and can provide insightful diagnostics. This information is sent via Bluetooth to your phone, and can also be viewed on your online dashboard.

How it compares: As with Hum, Automatic can diagnose minor problems, such as a check engine light, locate your parked car, provide emergency assistance, and connect to your phone via an Android or iOS app.

However, Automatic’s emergency services are only provided in the event of a collision, so there’s no formal roadside assistance. You also won’t gain access to a mechanics hotline, and because there’s no speaker (it’s an ODB-II device only), this means there’s also no hands-free talking.

But you will get real-time feedback that can help you improve your driving habits and save gas, a web dashboard with other data such as trips and trends, and access to many other third-party apps outside of Automatic that can further expand the possibilities.

What it costs: Automatic customers will pay only a one-time fee of $99 for the dongle and app, but there are no ongoing costs after that.

Vinli Connected Car System

What it is: By acting as a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Vinli is an OBD-II dongle that provides access to thousands of third-party apps that can improve your driving, help you maintain your vehicle, keep you safe, and even keep you entertained. Vinli is another newcomer to the car connectivity marketplace, as their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign ended in August 2015.

How it compares: Instead of featuring built-in services like OnStar and Automatic, Vinli offers access to specialized apps (many more than Automatic), which then provide benefits. Unfortunately, Vinli doesn’t offer any information about these apps on their website, without first opening an account.

On the upside, though, if any third-party developer can create an app for Vinli, the possibilities might seem endless. This alone could keep Vinli useful for a long time to come.

What it costs: How much you’ll pay for each Vinli device depends on the number you buy (one, two, or four), although there are no monthly fees. As with OnStar though, you will need to sign up for a data plan in order to gain internet access.

Other OBD-II Dongles

Although the above products are arguably Hum’s biggest competition, they’re by no means your only options.

To see what we mean, type the term “OBD-II dongle” into your favorite search engine, and you'll be met with thousands of results. These devices are even so common that you'll probably find a couple of options at local automotive stores.

Granted, most of these are for diagnostics only, and rarely feature apps, Bluetooth connectivity, or Wi-Fi access. But on the flip side, many can be purchased for $30 or less.

Compared to all these other options, how much will you pay for Hum?

Hum by Verizon: Upfront & Subscription Costs

If you agree to a two-year contract, Hum’s standard model will cost you a one-time equipment fee of $29.99, a one-time activation fee ranging between $20, and $40, as well as a $10 monthly subscription (plus taxes and fees).

Along with your subscription, the website indicates you’ll gain access to “hundreds of local coupons and discounts for retailers, auto service providers, restaurants and much more. Plus, an online booking tool to help you save on hotels, flights, and cruises.”

The HumX system is priced slightly higher, with a $150 retail equipment price ($99 with a two-year subscription, or $6.25 per month). You’ll also have a $20-$40 activation fee, a $15 subscription fee, plus taxes and other fees.

As far as data usage for the HumX model, the website FAQ reports that you can add Hum to your existing data plan, which will draw from your monthly allowance. If you don’t want to sign up for a plan, your initial purchase will include 1GB of data, with additional gigabytes available for purchase as needed at $10 each.

Per FAQ: Hum comes with a limited lifetime equipment replacement warranty for as long as you continuously have a subscription to the service.

Per FAQ: If you purchased your Hum System from hum.com, a Verizon Wireless retail location or verizonwireless.com, you can return Hum at any time within 14 days of purchase and receive a full refund. If you choose to return Hum after the 14-day return period, you may be subject to an Early Termination Fee (ETF).

According to Hum’s Terms of Service (TOS), you’ll have 14 days from the date of purchase to decide whether or not it’s right for you, although you’ll need to return your equipment within 30 days of requesting cancellation. Note: The FAQ indicates that if you purchase and return your equipment in-store, you could be assessed a $35 restocking fee.

Outside of the first 14 days, you could be subject to an early termination fee of up to $120. Here’s how the Terms explains it:

"If you cancel Service after the 14 day cancellation period, or we cancel it in accordance with this Agreement, during your Subscription Commitment, you will have to pay an ETF. The ETF for a two-year Subscription Commitment equals $120 and will be reduced by $0.1664 for each day of the Subscription Commitment that you fulfill (i.e., a reduction of approximately $5 per month).”

If you’d like to request a return or have questions, Hum’s customer service department can be reached at (800) 711-5800.

Now, what’s everyone saying about Hum? Are they happy with the services? Do they think the monthly cost is worth it?

Hum by Verizon User Reviews

PC Magazine received a hands-on demonstration of Hum’s capabilities back in August 2015, although this only related to its diagnostic feature.

The author mentioned that from an aesthetics standpoint, Hum’s visor-mounted speaker was very similar to the OnStar system, but noted that it “is much more focused on maintenance and roadside assistance, with very little emphasis on general information or entertainment arrangements, like OnStar's concierge service.”

Ultimately, they concluded, "It's not as feature-filled as OnStar, but it doesn't try to be, and it could be an economical alternative to the more prominent service for users who simply want assistance, maintenance, and security without the extra convenience features."

Similarly (although it doesn’t appear that they tested an actual unit), Digital Trends noted:

“The hardware is free, but Verizon requires those interested to pony up $15 each month. That’ll add up to $180 per year, which can’t currently be part of an existing Verizon plan. Sure, you’ll have a top-notch call center to reach out to, but how often would they need to be contacted for customers to justify the price?”

Remember this, because we’ll come back around to it in a second.

Outside of these, most of the other reviews we encountered during our research parroted Verizon’s press release from August, but didn’t provide any additional insight.

But what about Hum’s emergency services? This is provided by a third-party company named Signature Motor Club, Inc., which is the same one that provides roadside assistance to AARP members.

Signature’s online customer reputation seemed mixed, with dozens of complaints on Consumer Affairs, most of which seemed to reference poor service. Granted, this could be considered relatively low based on the number of customers enrolled in Signature’s services.

We’ve covered a lot of ground about Verizon’s Hum dongle, including its features, pricing, competition, and customer reputation. Now, let’s bring it home and help you decide if it’s right for you.

How Can You Decide If Hum by Verizon Is Right for You?

As with most products (but perhaps especially with electronics and other gadgets), the right ODB-II system for you depends on your specific needs. So when you’re comparing Hum (and the more recent HumX) against the competition, here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you more interested in low (or no) upfront costs, or avoiding recurring monthly fees?
  • Is Wi-Fi access important to you? If it is, remember that this will add to your monthly costs, even if the system itself doesn’t come with any recurring fees.
  • Are you OK with being limited to the company’s app, or do you want the freedom to explore other third-party apps?
  • What’s your ultimate goal? Are you more focused on entertainment, or on diagnostics and safety?
  • If you’re interested in diagnostics, will you realistically put this information to use (such as changing your driving habits to save gas, actively using the information to prevent more expensive repairs, etc.)?
  • If you’re interested in safety, how many times have you used roadside assistance in the past? If it’s rarely (or never), the lower costs associated with other roadside/emergency assistance programs might provide a better value.

Ultimately, only you can answer these questions. But based on everything we've provided here, you can now make an informed decision about whether or not Hum by Verizon is right for you. And if you need to contact the company directly for even more information, we found their staff to be pleasant and knowledgeable.

What did you think about Verizon’s Hum system? What did you purchase it for? And did it deliver? Tell us about it by leaving a review below!

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Read 123 Hum by Verizon Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 1.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 6 4 star: 0 3 star: 3 2 star: 9 1 star:  105
Bottom Line: 6% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 123
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  • Blatant scam

    • Tennessee,
    • May 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I used the app to get help from a locksmith. I was told I'd be called promptly. 90 minutes later I got a call after another locksmith I paid out of pocket for helping me. I was told by Hum customer service that I would get reimbursed if I mailed a receipt to an address, which surprised me as it's 2019, you would think a fax or scanned receipt would be good.

    That was two months ago. I called asking where my reimbursement was. I was told to expect a call in two business days. That was a lie too.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    A 2-day nightmare. Buyer beware. Scam?

    • Rhode Island,
    • Apr 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I saw a widget on my new phone so curiosity brought me in to see what this was. I only put my email phone and name. I didn't sign anything or agree to the terms or conditions. I received an email stating I was in a 30-day trial and would be charged after that. I immediately contacted Hum to say no way I did not ask for this...service response was " when you put your name number and email it's a partial agreement." No way! I contacted them, made sure I had no account and contacted Verizon immediately with bells and red flags going off. Verizon contacted Hum and made sure I had no account. Today I received an email stating "welcome to your 30-day trial." WHAT!? I called Hum. I was hung up on three times, put on hold over six minutes, all to get this straightened out. Their customer service had me with tech support. Sending me text codes when all I wanted was my name out of their system. I spoke to a Verizon rep who told me any emails sent out by Hum Verizon has copies of. She did not see any Hum emails. She stayed on the phone with me to make sure I would not receive any contact from them. I think it's a scam from China. Their customer service is abysmal.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Verizon Hum

    • Omaha, NE,
    • Mar 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I received the Verizon Hum in October of 2018. Less than three weeks later, my car died in the middle of a very busy intersection in 5:00 traffic. I was able to get it started and made it home. I called my mechanic who was nice enough to tow it from my garage to his shop. He tried several things and after quite a bit of money, was able to come to the conclusion that the primary computer for my Lexus RX 330 had been shorted out. He asked me more than once if I had tried to jump-start another vehicle, which I had not. The new computer had to be ordered; of course!

    Two and a half weeks and $1600.00 later, my truck is running again. The first week of December on my way to work, the Hum keeps beeping. When I arrived at work, I called Hum. They informed me that "that just happens sometimes" and they would get back to me. In mid-January, I was at work and went to leave for lunch, the truck would not start...again! DRAT!

    I called my mechanic who is about as far away from my work as he could be. He came and towed it. This time, he took it to Lexus. They spent over six hours looking for the problem. Yes, it was the Hum again. They removed the Hum and again replaced the computer which had been shorted out...again! I am now out over $3200.00 and had to borrow a car so I could get to work to pay for the repairs.

    Fast forward a few weeks, it is now the second week of March, and they just called me to tell me there is a problem with my Hum and it has not been recording anything since December 10th when I called to tell them it kept beeping. They would like me to take it to Verizon and get a different one! They are nuts!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Don’t buy Hum by Verizon

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Feb 27, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    From the very beginning, my experience with Hum by Verizon has been a nightmare and a waste of time and money. Their customer service is awful, the product itself is mediocre, and their warranty is not good at all. Anytime you call customer service it takes three hours to get nothing done. You will be passed around many reps from Hum and Verizon and hold forever and you will not accomplish anything. Do yourself a huge favor and do not consider or purchase any Hum by Verizon products you will be extremely disappointed. Buying a Hum X has been my biggest regret. I don’t think Hum will be around for too long...

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Not good

    • Pomona, CA,
    • Feb 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have the Hum service for 20 months and I have had several problems. I would receive a notification that Hum was contacting emergency services as soon as I started my CSR and at inconvenient times even though I was not involved in an accident. My Hum app notified me of a battery issue after I replaced a dead battery, I had a mechanical issue that was repaired, but the issue warning would not go away. I canceled my Hum service, unplugged my OBD and now I get notices that Hum is receiving no information and there is no way to opt out of receiving emails from Hum.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Drained my battery and popped false positives

    • Maryland,
    • Feb 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It drained my battery in a little under a week and only displayed a false error with c02. And it never registered when it was unplugged. Which lead me to plug it into a different car to see if it even registered that it was a different vehicle. It did not. I wouldn't trust this product. It does more damage than good. I had the version 2.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    DO NOT BUY - horrible

    • Alliance, OH,
    • Feb 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Garbage, giving false information codes. Customer support horrible, costing me $110.00 plus whatever they want to tack on to disconnect. If I could rate it lower I would. My auto dealer said they do not recommend any of these products. I did not realize this was a 2-year contract.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Hum - do not buy!

    • Hebron, NH,
    • Feb 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    POOR product. The first unit quit working the first week. The replacement worked for two days. Customer service is slow due to the high volume of service calls (got a service representative to admit that). Waste of money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Worthless and has cost me money

    • Florida,
    • Feb 4, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It worked for a couple of months then failed. First it gave a report that my alternator had a problem. I took the car in, no problem with the alternator. Continued to get the same report. Took it to another mechanic, no problem. Suddenly this weekend I started getting multiple trouble lights coming on and cycling through along with my turn signals freezing briefly. I took it into my mechanic again this morning and this time he said it was most likely the Hum interfering with the car's computer system as they had been getting numerous reports of this kind of problem with it. He took it out for me and I've had no problems since then. I am hoping Verizon will not give me a problem dropping the contract for it but I need to know if a trouble light comes on it is genuinely a problem. I also can't afford to have false reports given. I am lucky my mechanic is honest as an alternator repair is rather expensive.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Doesn't work, no customer support, waste of time and money.

    • Iowa,
    • Feb 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    They assured me this system would work with multiple vehicles, but I ordered just one Hum+ to assess it. It worked reasonably well for two weeks (albeit with rather slow updates), so I ordered another, this time a HumX. For the first two days, both worked, but updates were even slower.

    By the third day, both updating stopped altogether. I called Support, told them I was unable to locate one of my vehicles, and they told me to "remove the device, wait two minutes, reinstall it, and drive for 20 minutes." I suggested that this might be difficult given that I didn't know where the vehicle was located...Yes, I could call the driver - but that's not the point is it?

    The support person spoke with a thick foreign accent, and when I asked where he was located he refused to tell. I asked again, "Are you in the USA?" He repeated his refusal.

    A few days later I tried the whole remove/wait/reinstall/drive routine on both vehicles. They then worked, so I tried the "Road Service" button on the HumX. I received no answer at all. I then called support again, using the Road Service number on their website. Again I was answered by a thick accent, whom I then asked to locate my vehicle. He could not. Two days later both units quit working - again.

    After three more calls to service over the next week, it became obvious that this system simply does not work. I called Verizon to have both units removed from my bill and returned, they said I would have to pay $120 per unit "Termination Fee," stating that I had signed a contract.

    I offered that the contract also included them actually providing a working product, which they had not. After 3 hours on the phone to various "managers," one finally agreed to remove all but $60 of the excess charges, but demanded I UPS one of the units back to them the same day. He assured me the corrected bill would show immediately.

    I boxed and shipped the unit, and provided Verizon with a tracking number. Their rep then sent an email of what was supposed to be the corrected bill. It included their $60 concession, and also $235 worth of extra charges.

    In short (too late), Verizon will gleefully lie to you, make you jump through hoops, then blast you with a big bill for absolutely no services. The only thing missing is a return call saying "Hahaha, GOTCHA!"

    They now have one week to fix my bill, or I will cancel the four cell phones I have with them and sue.

    Bottom line: Verizon is crooked. Once they have you, they don't give a crap about service. Don't deal with this company.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 12 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Worst product and service ever

    • Spanish Fork, UT,
    • Jan 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Three Hum devices later it still does not work. I was told to pay for each one and I would receive credit on the next bill. That never happened. With customer service, I was being lied to and always placed on hold for hours. I paid about $30 per day and got no answers. Save your money and much frustration - Verizon will not and does not want to help you.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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