The name may sound like something from Star Trek, but don’t be put off. You don’t need to be a Trekkie, or even a techie, to get the hang of telematics. It’s pretty simple stuff, and it could mean cheaper car insurance premiums if you’re a careful driver.
What is telematics insurance?
Some people might talk about ‘pay-as-you-drive policies’, others call it ‘black box insurance’. But whatever name it goes by, telematics insurance is designed to capture driving data, with the potential of rewarding safe driving with lower car insurance premiums.
To price car insurance, providers usually have to make assumptions about your driving, based on criteria like your age and what you do for a living. But with telematics fitted to your car, they can base their premiums on your actual driving behaviour as well.
If you sign up for this type of policy, you’ll get a nifty little black box or smartphone app from your car insurance provider. Then as you pootle around town, nip to the shops, or head to work, the telematics software reports back to the insurer. Your driving record will determine whether your premium goes up, down or stays the same.
Some telematics devices also come with little extras, like driving performance alerts and theft recovery technology. So it’s worth taking the time to compare car insurance providers, and see what’s out there.
What does the black box actually check?
The box or smartphone app is a clever bit of kit. It monitors when, where and how you drive.
It measures how you handle your car, by recording your acceleration, braking, cornering and so on. And, of course, it checks whether you’re sticking to the speed limits.
It also looks at when and where you’re out and about. So if you drive outside of peak times during daylight hours, and avoid motorways and accident black spots, this could help reduce your premium.
You’ll be given a ‘driver score’ based on the black box’s findings. This allows your insurer to judge your risk and work out how much your premium should cost. Some insurers give you the information too – so you can adjust your driving habits and potentially bring down your premium.
We know this might all sound a bit ‘big brother’ to some people, but it’s all done in the name of fairer, and hopefully cheaper, car insurance.
Is telematics insurance for me?
Telematics might still be seen largely as car insurance for young drivers, but these pay-as-you-drive policies are becoming more popular with all sorts of road users.
From learner drivers, infrequent driver or people with motoring convictions– black box insurance could help reduce premiums for those who get expensive quotes for car insurance. So if you’re finding it hard to find cheap car insurance quotes online, telematics could be the answer.
But it can also work for safer drivers who don’t want to pay for other people’s bad driving. After all, why should you pay a high premium if you always stick to speed limits, and drive safely?
Is it too good to be true?
Telematics insurance isn’t right for everyone though. If your driving isn’t as good as you think, you could actually see your premium go up, not down.
However, you can take out a telematics car insurance policy that gives you regular updates. That way, you can keep an eye on your driving score. If it starts to rise as a result of your driving, you can take action to improve your score.
But be warned: the cancellation and disconnection fees can be high for this kind of policy. And if you want to switch to a different telematics provider, you’ll probably need to have another device installed. Each insurer uses slightly different technology.
Some telematics policies also come with restrictions, such as the time of day and places you can drive. So check the small print. You don’t want to be saving money on your car insurance if it means you can’t get to your destination at the right time.
How do I find the best telematics insurance for me?
As with all types of car insurance, every telematics policy is different, so always have a careful look at what’s included.
As well as checking the usual extras, like legal cover and courtesy cars, keep an eye out for unique benefits when you compare telematics insurance. Some devices can be used for theft recovery. Some will alert emergency services if they sense a strong impact to your car as you’re driving. And some come with dashboards that let you monitor your driving, so you can make any necessary improvements.
Just click the button to compare telematics car insurance with comparethemarket.com. Pick from the available options, and we’ll list out your cheapest quotes from a panel of providers.
Try comparethemarket.com today, and see how much you could save.