2014 could be the year when telematics goes mainstream as more and more providers are looking to do away with the black box in favour of smartphone apps ,but it's still a product that is aimed at younger drivers, particularly those who don’t cover many miles each year,
So, as a 36 year old with a 40-mile a day round trip, i decided to give it a go to see if it would be any good for me.
Carrot Insurance sent out an engineer to fit the device and the whole process took around 20 minutes during which time he gave the car the once-over and logged anything that wasn’t working properly.
From thereon in every second I was behind the wheel was logged and my driving style assessed according to smoothness, speed and usage – as you can see, after week one, my smoothness and usage were ok, but my speed was as bad as it gets. This gave me an overall score of -0.90 and highlighted how I had to sort out my speed.
By week two my driver score was up to +2.82, largely due to the fact that I’d gotten to grips with my speed.
By week three things we looking a lot better – although my smoothness and usage had dropped a little, my speed was no in the green at +1.0 and my overall score was +4.40 – but what exactly did those scores mean?
Telematics providers tend to offer rewards for good driving – in the case of Carrot, this comes via cashback and a reduction in premium price at renewal. So, if I’d carried on driving as I had in week one, I’d have made no cashback and seen a 2% increase in my premium at renewal.
Having got my act together by week two, I’d have got £36 cashback after three months (cashback is issued quarterly) and got a 9% reduction at renewal.
My driving had improved so much by week three that I was in line for a £56 cashback and a 14% discount at renewal - not bad for just sticking to the rules and being a considerate driver.
Telematics insurance also takes into account the number of miles you drive each year and this proved to be a bit of a stumbling block for me. By the end of week one it was estimated I’d need an additional 4,500 on top of the 5,000 mile limit imposed on the policy.
By week two I’d got this down to 3,500 miles but by week three, I was looking at over 6,000 additional miles which would set me back an extra £84 on top of my premium.
So, would telematics have worked for me? Although it did make me a more considerate driver and did make me think more about my driving, the price of a policy wasn’t competitive enough to make me consider it, largely because isnt not a product that yet aimed at my demographic.
However, with the advent of telematics smart phone apps, there is a good chance the technology will be embraced by a growing number of people, even if it doesnt effect the price of your policy, it may be worth having a go at the technology, it might just make you a better driver.