In the UK “Black Box” or “Telematics” devices are used as a way to reduce the cost of insurance for new or young drivers by tracking how they drive. Its hoped by having an “all-seeing-eye” watching how you break, corner and accelerate will make you a safer driver, and apparently its proven to improve the drivers skills. The Discounts are up to 38% and even 40%, when you consider the average new and young drivers insurance can be £2,000+, a 40% discount is substantial.
You may not know this, but some Telematics policies actually track WHEN you drive, so if you regularly drive between 11pm-7am, your discount is reduced. If you regularly exceed the speed limit. If you regularly drive during rush hour, it can also reduce your discount.
Its worth pointing out that the Telematics box won’t increase your premium for THIS year. It will reduce your discount / refund, when you drive or how you drive.
What Do Telematics Boxes Track
If you look at the list of what telematics box can track:
- Time of day or night you drive.
- Speeds you drive.
- The type of road (A, B, Motorway).
- Your Location.
- If you brake hard or accelerate sharply.
- If you take regular breaks to rest on long journeys.
- Your motorway miles and usage.
- Fuel Level.
- Seatbelt Usage.
- The way you handle corners.
- The total mileage.
- The total number of journeys you make.
- Vehicle Maintenance and Condition.
- Anything else the ECU knows, such as remapping or mapping out egr/dpf etc.
You can see there is quite a lot of information there, and many ways this can be interpreted and analysed.
Next Years Premiums Could Increase
Its fairly openly stated in the small print that it could (read as Will) affect your renewal or next years premium, and its sketchy if the data is shared with other insurance companies. More so even if shared within the same company for example Bell Insurance shares with its parent Admiral and sister Elephant for example.
Insurance companies have been trying to standardise the systems data since 2014, so its coming soon that companies will share, less clear how UK data protection laws will see that.
What they don’t officially track is your geographical location, but I believe this data is logged, I mean they are using a GPS tracker, so your location must be tracked but its not used yet. My research tells me there are (currently) no plans to change that.
Driving In Risky Locations
Some insurance companies in America are starting to use the Geographic location data in the calculation of your insurance premium, so if you routinely drive through down town Detroit at midnight where more than 1 person in every 2,000 people will end up dead in any given year, you can expect your insurance premium to rocket.
Same if you routinely park your car in the ghetto or rougher parts of town.
I’m not sure how Risky Location would be defined in the UK since we don’t really have “hoods” or “motor city” type things, but I’m guessing they will use the same data they use to assess your home risk factor.
If you live in a low crime area, with high value homes, your insurance is cheaper, than if you live in a high crime area with low cost homes, or overspill estates etc then your insurance costs more. Since this data already exists, I suspect they will use this same type of data to determine if you’re driving / parking in “rough” areas.
Its interesting times ahead as far as insurance goes, and its not the first time something altruistic has taken a more sinister turn.
A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.