According to a prediction made by ABI Research, global subscriptions to telematics insurance policies will reach 107 million in 2018. But what exactly is telematics, and why is it proving so popular among motorists around the world? Here, we take an in-depth look at this technology and the benefits it can bring drivers.
What is it?
Deriving its name from the science of telecommunications and informatics, telematics refers to the sharing of information through a wireless network and it is used in a variety of different ways. Car insurance providers can harness the technology by fitting GPS systems, often referred to as ‘black boxes’, in vehicles and collecting the data they transmit about driving behaviour. Often, the systems are fitted inside dashboards.
Black boxes can measure a whole range of variables, including distance travelled, patterns of acceleration and braking, average speed, time spent driving and even cornering patterns. All of this information can prove extremely useful to cover providers.
How can it cut your insurance costs?
It’s now easier than ever to shop around for competitive insurance policies, and many drivers use specialist broker websites to compare car insurance quotes. Telematics can take people’s search for cost-effective cover a step further. Usually, insurers rely on making statistical assumptions to calculate drivers’ levels of risk. Variables like age, occupation and general driving patterns can all be used to help these companies determine how much they will charge motorists.
Telematics changes this. By allowing insurers to track the driving patterns of individual customers, the technology enables these firms to make a much more accurate calculation concerning the risk they pose. For careful drivers, this can lead to potentially significant cuts in cover costs. In short, the better and safer a driver is, the less they will pay for their insurance.
However, it’s important to realise that anyone who demonstrates they are a risky driver after having a telematics system installed in their car can see their premiums rise.
What are the other potential benefits?
As well as playing a pivotal role in determining insurance premiums, telematics technology can have a number of other benefits. For example, it can facilitate better tracking of vehicles if they are stolen and it can provide more accurate location information in the event of a breakdown. It can also serve as a useful learning tool to help drivers improve their skills and become safer on the roads.
Black box insurance technology may still seem like a novelty to many motorists, but given the advantages this technology can bring, it may one day be the norm.