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The little black box that may determine your insurance

The little black box that may determine your insurance

Car insurance is a bugbear, but there’s a revolution on the way that will change your relationship with your vehicle—and it’s all thanks to your phone.

Current premiums turn you into a statistic

At present, premiums are a real blunt instrument, worked out on the basis of a few questions—age, where you live, number of miles driven.

This information is used to calculate the likelihood of you making a claim. But it’s not about you, it’s about your statistical propensity to have an accident. What it doesn’t do is reflect how you actually drive.

For years this has been the missing link for insurance companies. You might be ticking all the “low risk” boxes, but if you drive like Lewis Hamilton you’ll come a cropper.

Likewise, many safe first-time drivers are penalised because of the high-risk driving of other people their age.


Car and phone communication

Telematics has come to the rescue. This links the movement of your vehicle with a transmission system that shares the information with a company.

New insurance firms such as Carrot and Autosaint will fit a “black box” that measures how erratic your accelerating and braking is, how many times you broke the speed limit and where you travelled. From that, you get a bespoke insurance premium.

Citroën are now proposing to fit black boxes for free to all C1 city cars they sell, then offer free insurance for anyone aged between 19 and 75.

However, both Confused and Aviva have smartphone apps that will do pretty much the same job. If you have an Android or iPhone, you can download the Aviva Drive app (—it’ll record your position and how fast it changes, and thus calculate your speed.

The app then gives you a rating for your driving. You can monitor your driving long before you apply for insurance and, if you meet the criteria, your recorded history could get you a discount with Aviva.


Over to you...

So your future is that of a recorded unit in a national road dance. Does that make you feel more secure? Or worried that Big Brother is watching you?

Driven to distraction?

New research reveals 40% of motorists find their passengers distracting. Claims lodged with Admiral insurance include, “My mother held her arm right in front of my eyes to show me where to turn,” and my favourite, “My ex-wife slapped me while I was driving at speed on the M5.” Ouch!

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