Around five years ago, the first car insurance companies began to provide telematics-based cover to Brits. How much have Brits actually benefited?
IN 2011, ‘telematics’ wasn’t even in my word processor’s dictionary. Today, it’s still not – I’m a bit of a lazy sod – but in the intervening half a decade, the introduction of the technology might not have completely revolutionised the motor car insurance industry, but it seems to have helped more than a few policyholders.
The technology was born from the whole satnav industry, except instead of telling you how to get to your holiday cottage in the Cotswolds, the little box you bunged under your bonnet keeps track of where you go, how fast you drive, how tight you take those corners, and whether you brake too hard or fast. It sends the data back to your insurer, and if you drive like a pillock consistently for a few months, it ups your rates.
Ah, but if you don’t motor about like a madman – what a difference it makes. You’re rewarded with cheap car insurance. The longer you keep it up, the longer your discounts last. It was a boon for the under-25s, as cheap car insurance for young drivers has, historically, been a near-impossibility. With telematics, a young motorist can prove that he or she is responsible behind the wheel.
Young drivers getting rewarded for motoring about responsibly has by and large been a success. Some younger drivers can save as much as £500 or more on a telematics policy versus a traditional one, and renewal savings are typically £200 or more. Combined with fewer accidents among the telematics crowd and it’s a one-two punch of success – research has shown that crash likelihood goes down by 20 per cent when a driver has a telematics device.
In other words, it doesn’t look like telematics is going away any time soon. Most major insurers will have at least one or two telematics-based options open to its customers, and this trend will likely grow some more over the next few years. Sure there are some very real concerns about privacy and things of that nature, but if you’re willing to let your insurer know where you go at all times and how you behave while you’re behind the wheel in exchange for much more affordable motor cover, then more power to you! Who am I to lecture you on how George Orwell’s ‘1984’ was supposed to have been a warning, not an instruction manual?