Telematics

We’ve been having a look at recent stats from Tiger.co.uk and once again we’ve been amazed by the increasing number of telematics-based insurance policies that Tiger.co.uk shoppers are buying.

Tele-what? We’re talking about insurance policies that use an in-car “smart box” to relay driving information back to an insurance provider you may have heard it referred to as pay as you go car insurance. What this allows insurance companies to do is to price their schemes based on some real-life driving behaviours rather than just a series of assumptions and “average” behaviours across different driving groups.

So some insurers like insurethebox will issue policies based on lower than average annual mileage (6,000 miles or less). Others like Coverbox factor in things like times of day of car usage. Whilst i-Kube gives drivers a discount for agreeing to what is essentially a late night driving curfew – a peak accident time for younger drivers in particular.

At Tiger.co.uk we like these telematics products – so much so that we have more of them on our insurer panel than any of the other comparison sites. We like them for two reasons. Firstly they provide some drivers, particularly younger and lower mileage drivers, with access to more affordable insurance. Secondly they encourage and reward safer driving behaviour by measuring and reporting on things like sudden braking and fast cornering. They can also be used to automatically notify the emergency services in the event of a crash (where the smart box will have measured extreme deceleration) or to help trace stolen vehicles. All-in-all, this is good news for motorists and likely to become more widespread as motor manufacturers consider building smart boxes into all new cars.

Any downsides? Well there’s always the spectre of “big brother” looming whenever these kinds of monitoring devices are discussed. There are numerous data and privacy issues that come into play and in the US in particular the debate around these issues is hotting up. What if speeding data is passed to police? What if the tracking capability is used to identify times when car owners are away from their homes? All new technologies bring with them challenges in the way that they are applied. But with the application of the right system security and common sense, these can and will be overcome.

Maybe it’s time to think inside the box?

Drive safely.

25/08/2011 10:09:57 Jo

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