New tech takes the motoring sector by storm

Car insurance news roundup: week ended 29th Aug 2012:

It’s been a great week for tech companies working either directly or tangentially in the motoring sector, and drivers for cheaper car insurance may stand to reap the rewards!

First up we’ve got some great news if you’re looking to save some cash after finding that your car insurance rates have gone up: if you’re thinking about getting a satnav for your motor but can’t afford it, one major manufacturer has decided to ditch the costly stand-alone devices and go with free services provided to select smartphones.

Satnav industry giant TomTom is going to transition from hardware and look into free mapping software instead. In fact, it looks like the satnav maker has already signed a deal with Apple to provide map data in the future – it’s also penned an agreement with BlackBerry creators Research In Motion, but with BlackBerrys losing their juice while the iOS/Android smartphone war heats up, who knows if that will pan out.

Still, it’s great news if you’re like us and can’t read a map to save your life, but you’re feeling the pain when it comes to keeping your car on the road because of massive premium costs and repeated pain at the petrol pump. Soon you’ll be able to use TomTom on your iPhone for free, and not end up lost every time you go out to visit relatives out in the regions.

If you’re looking for more concrete ways to save without having to shell out extra cash, another marriage between satnav and smartphone technology has come to the rescue. It turns out that major insurer Aviva has managed to squeeze the normally expensive ‘black box’ telematics device into a blessedly free smartphone app; they’re rolling out the service even as we speak, and it’s kind of a big deal.

Telematics has always been a great way to save money on your insurance premiums, provided you don’t drive like a madman of course, but it’s usually prohibitively expensive to enroll in a telematics-based insurance policy because you’ve got to pay for the equipment out of pocket. Some of these little black boxes, which get bunged under the bonnet and keep track of how well (or how crap) you drive, can cost as much as £100 – and who’s got a spare hundred quid when you’re already paying through the nose for comprehensive cover?

Aviva’s probably got a winner on their hands with this one. Free telematics smartphone apps could spread like wildfire as other car insurance companies scramble to remain competitive – or at least we hope so!


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