Money can be tight for young drivers - there's driving lessons, the theory test, the practical test... and high insurance premiums don’t make things any easier. Telematics, or black boxes, as they’re also known, can help. With pay-as-you-drive telematics insurance policies becoming an increasingly popular option for young drivers, we take a look at how exactly telematics insurance works.
What is telematics insurance
Rather than creating a quote based upon how other people in your age group drive, telematics car insurance policies charge you based on how you, as an individual, drive. Ideal for young drivers and those with low mileage, telematics insurance makes use of a GPS-enabled black box fitted under your dashboard which records the way you drive. It focuses on things like speed, braking, acceleration and also looks at the type of road you’re traveling on. This data is then transmitted back to your insurance provider so they’re able to track your driving habits.
The idea is that the driver will be penalised only if they demonstrate risky driving behaviours. If, on the other hand, their driving is safe and sensible, they will be rewarded.
Who offers telematics insurances?
The telematics car insurance market is growing and more and more insurance providers are creating their own black box policies for young drivers.
Here are just a few options for young drivers looking for affordable car insurance:
The AA Drivesafe policy does exactly what it says on the tin. With Drivesafe, you’ll be awarded a score when you join based upon what the black box records. Your score can either be improved or reduced. Driving safely earns you a score increase, and bad driving leads to a reduction on your score.
An increased score will earn you a reduction on your premium, whilst a decreased score could cause your premium to go up.
Labelled as ‘car insurance, designed with young drivers in mind’, Carrot’s i-box rewards young drivers for driving safely. You will be given a base score of 0 when your policy begins, and this will go up or down accordingly.
Carrot, unlike others, will not increase your insurance premium if your score goes down or stays the same. If it improves, however, you will be given a cash reward as well as a discount on the following year’s premium.
An insurance scheme designed solely for 17-25 year old drivers, Young Marmalade’s Intelligent Marmalade makes use of black box technology, allowing the young driver to monitor their driving performance.
The Intelligent Marmalade scheme allows young drivers to prove their ability on the road, pay lower premiums, and shows them where there is room for improvement in their driving style.
The Co-op’s Smartbox collects data from the young driver’s car. The initial premium is low and safe driving can slice even more off what you’re paying.
Premiums are reviewed every three months, so there’s a good chance of being rewarded, but there’s also the chance that your premium will be increased if poor driving behaviours are exhibited.
Would you have one?
Many people are wary about telematics boxes simply because they don’t like the thought of being monitored, but they are one of the best ways to save money on your car insurance. Unfortunately for young drivers, they fall into the high risk group, and are, therefore, forced to pay high premiums based on the statistics.
Telematics boxes, although seemingly quite invasive, do allow young drivers to prove that they’re not just another statistic. Aside from that, they also allow you to keep track of your own progress on the road, and make improvements where, and if, you need to.