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 132 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: 10 1 star:  113
Bottom Line: 5% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 132
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  • Horrible

    • Kingsporrv,
    • Aug 21, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My husband was talked into purchasing two Hums by the salesperson when he went to a Verizon Store. They do not work properly and have started messing up our truck. All the warning lights came on our 2017 Ford truck and even the signal lights stopped working. My husband unplugged it and most went off and the lights started working again. I just hope it didn't ruin our trucks computer system. Hum is a big rip off.

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

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  • Buyer beware, it’s extremely fault (not free) misleading

    • Philadelphia, PA,
    • Aug 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was told I was receiving this great new device for free only to find out it was a $10 monthly charge. This Hum is useless, unless you forget where you park your car. On one incident cops were inspecting my car for damage late on a Friday night, when I approached them and asked them why they were looking in my car. I was informed the Hum called the police and now they were questioning me if I hit and ran. Obviously I hadn’t been in a accident when they realized I did not have a single mark on my car but why would this device contact police? No safety feature of the car went off but this device decided I was in an accident knowing that my car was moving decided to call police. The programming and features of this device are garbage. If you buy a new phone the app does not properly transfer from Verizon device to Verizon new device. I was locked out of the app with no customer support. I informed Verizon of this and I was told I was in a 2-year contract for a faulty device. To be honest, all the devices are faulty, misleading and a terrible buy.

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

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  • Hum OBD reader creating ghost signals.

    • South Plainfield, NJ,
    • Jul 29, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Two months I purchased a Hum Speaker with Blue Tooth GPS, OBD to monitor engine performance and if a problem came up, a code would be sent to my smartphone. Sounded like a deal not to pass up. Yesterday I was alerted that there was an emission problem and a mechanical problem with the transmission. Took the car to my mechanic and said a ghost code was created by the OBD reader, he removed out of the port and had to reset the module with the machine, there was nothing wrong after that. The port reader is only for a diagnostic tool not for OBD reader, car bulletins were sent out to mechanics regarding this issue, Verizon has no idea of a mechanical issue. And car manufactures did not install the port for this purpose for a reader, if this was true. Dodge would tell me to do this. The OBD is removed and the engine runs better without it. If the check engine goes on I will take it to my mechanic. I terminated the 2-year agreement and the fee was waived by Verizon because of my situation. I missed a day's work and will no longer be interested in promotional offers by Verizon and account was credited. Will keep the Smart Phone and Samsung Tablet. Very disappointed with Hum.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Crash response

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Jul 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had Hum in a 2011 Jeep Compass. I keep getting emails about Hum inactivity. Well, apparently the crash response feature doesnt work because the vehicle was totaled 2 years ago and I haven't had it since. I personally thought it was a waste of money.

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

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  • Waited 3 hours and STILL never got a tow!

    • Colorado,
    • Jul 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Tonight was one of the best examples of terrible customer service. I waited with my car for 3 hours at a public park. Also, mind you, two of those hours were after closing and I had a sheriff come up to me and talk to me about how I needed to get the tow service in order quickly because I probably would have other sheriffs coming to tell me the same thing. I was told multiple times that I would get someone to call me and explain to me why it was taking so long and I never got a phone call! I eventually just left and never heard from them. Worst experience ever! I will be going into Verizon and trying to cancel hum. You might as well just go with AAA.

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

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  • Fails with heat

    • Idaho,
    • Jun 27, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    We use it primarily for the "hot-spot" with an Amazon Echo Dot ver 1. What I've noticed is a reaction to heat. Driving into Boise (25 miles on a two-lane road) the Wi-Fi works perfectly, the vehicle has been garaged all night and is cool. Vehicle sits in a parking lot 86 degrees in the sun. On the way home, Wi-Fi fails consistently. The difference - heat. Verizon says to unplug it and plug it back in, not practical. Fix the device or refund.

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

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  • Worthless

    • Phoenix, AZ,
    • Jun 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My 85-year-old mother went to get a new phone by herself. Two days later I go to her house to set up and show her how to use the phone. She then shows me this Hum thing that I never heard of. I asked why did they sell you this and they told her she should get this for her car to make her feel more safe, even though she told them she has AAA. So the next day we go down there and I tell them to take it out of her car and get rid of it because she has no need for it and doesn't even know what it was when they gave it to her. Needless to say, they took it out of her car and then charged her $55 to restock it on their shelf. I called them a nasty name and said how can you sit there and take advantage of an 85-year-old woman. Three days and they still had to charge her, what a bunch of bull. Verizon is a joke and nobody should buy this piece of junk.

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

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  • Not all it’s cracked up to be

    • Stuart, FL,
    • Jun 21, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased my Hum at a local Verizon store. Started receiving error code messages 2 days after my Hum was installed. This was very concerning. Every time I deleted them, new code error messages appeared.

    Verizon rep told me this was completely normal and that my Hum...

    Was working properly. Really? If all these error code messages were posting, how would I KNOW when I had a REAL problem. He had no answer.

    When I bought the Hum, I was told I had a 14-DAY return option with no penalties. Finally decided to return the Hum on June 12th after many error code emails LATER.

    I told the Verizon rep I didn’t like the Hum or want it. I was on my 14th day or the no-obligation period, and wanted to cancel my contract and return the Hum. That’s when the issues began.

    You see, Verizon counts the day I purchased the Hum as day #1. They maintained that I was past the 14-day period by 1 day; and for that, I would be charged $120 to cancel my contract. This is clearly an attempt to make more money and totally unprofessional.

    After debating the time sequence with 2 supervisors, they finally admitted that to the normal lay-person. My math was right. I was, in fact, on my 14th day.

    Now the fun begins. I pulled the Hum out of the car and gave it to the salesperson. I was then told I couldn’t return it because it wasn’t in its original box. Well, of course, it’s not in its box - it’s in my car! No, I don’t have the box, I only kept the box flap with all the data stuff.

    Another level of supervision later and I finally got my refund and canceled contract confirmation. Worst example of CUSTOMER SERVICE I have ever had with Verizon. I’m certainly weighing my options.

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

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  • Don't do it!

    I am on my second replacement home in 6 months. Only because I cannot get out of the contract with Verizon. The Hum has given me false car readings when I took my car to the mechanic, he said absolutely get rid of it because they do cause car issues. Has given false readings about speed which in turn I grounded up my daughter for. When she explained it to me I took the car out and it did the same thing to me so bad mom there. Trying to get help with this device is more ridiculous than anything I have ever experienced. Save yourself the headache and the money! The worst part of this is when you call Verizon to try and talk to someone about Hum every representative I have talked to about it says we've heard that from several people that they wish they hadn't gotten the Hum. That's pretty bad for their own employees to say it.

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

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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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  • 2 out 2 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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