Black Box Insurance – Do They Really Keep Premiums Down?

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As technology begins to be incorporated into our day-to-day lives on a worldwide scale, tech driven companies are thinking up new solutions for everything, including a little something called telematics tech.

For those of you that don’t already know, telematics is arguably the solution to safer roads and drivers. It’s not a new concept or invention and it has in fact been used in commercial vehicles, the emergency services and F1 teams for over a decade.

Tracking Good Drivers

This technology, otherwise known as the Black Box, is now widely used in road cars to keep track on how well drivers are driving. Used already by many young drivers as a way to cut insurance premiums, experts predict that the Black Box will be automatically fitted into cars by 2025.

The British Insurers Brokers’ Association, often referred to as ‘Biba’, says that the sales of motor insurance policies which use the Black Box technology have increased fivefold over the past two years. On average these policies claim to knock 25% – 30% off policies, saving some drivers a whopping £1,000.

So how does it work, and does it really work? Typically the Black Box is placed inside the car’s dashboard and is able to monitor things such as speed, braking, acceleration and is also known to measure time. The safer the driver, the better score you’ll receive and as a result, the lower the insurance premium will be. However, prices can vary and this isn’t always all that is measured. If the analysed information highlights examples of poor driving, such as taking fast corners and doing wheelies, the Black Box will also pick this up.

Young Driver’s Insurance Scheme

Extended technologies have been developed to alert young drivers via email when they have picked up a bad-driving habit. The founder of Young Marmalade, Nick Moger was one of the first to develop a young driver insurance scheme using telematics technology that doubles up as an alerting system.

He explains, “The very first time, they get an email to say they are driving erratically, if they ignore that then they get another email to say you are on probation for 30 days and if they continue to drive badly we increase the premium by £250.

When you understand this fact, you begin to wonder if ‘do they really keep premiums down’ is a yes or no question at all. Instead it seems that the answer to this question will very much depend on the driver as an individual, making it extremely difficult to estimate your outgoings and make a commitment that you can fully agree to.

Invasion of Privacy?

Civil liberty campaigners have expressed deep concerns about the potential for invasion of privacy and many learners and young drivers feel the same about everyday surveillance.

Critics also suggest that the technology costs too much and could contribute to data that can incriminate drivers.

Would you be happy to fit a Black Box into your vehicle if it meant dramatically changing the way you drive with the possibility of cutting down premiums?