One of the most significant and controversial developments in car insurance for many years has been the growth of ‘black box insurance’. You fit a black box recording unit to your car which monitors your driving behaviour and reports it back to the insurance company.
If your driving is considered ‘safe’, then you may see reduced insurance premiums. If your driving is considered ‘unsafe’, your insurance costs may start to go up. If your insurer thinks you’re really dangerous, they may even withdraw their cover completely. There is usually also the facility for the black box to provide the driver with feedback (via smartphone) to advise on how to improve your driving.
More and more car insurance companies are now applying black box telematics to their young driver policies, which is not surprising given that young drivers are at greatest risk of having car accidents. In order to reduce their phenomenally high insurance costs, plenty of youngsters are accepting the box to save on their insurance premiums (so I guess they are choosing the money AND the box? Don’t worry, I’ll see myself out…).
However it seems inevitable that the technology will start to spread to the rest of us soon enough. There have been plenty of concerns about privacy issues, as well as having ‘big brother’ looking over your shoulder to see how fast you’re going, but it’s a pretty safe bet that all insurance companies will want to push the technology onto us very soon.
So does a black box actually make a difference?
One of the pioneers of black box insurance has been ingenie, and they have now recorded enough information from their insured young drivers to produce a young drivers report, highlighting the effects of their black box technology in improving young driver behaviours. It makes for some interesting reading, although plenty more independent research needs to be done to assess the full benefits and drawbacks of the technology.
Would you agree to pay a lower insurance premium in return for fitting a black box recorder to your car? Let us know in the comments below.