Massive Brother in my auto saves me funds – but it comes at expense of motoring freedom

By Toby Walne, Financial Mail On Sunday


Obtaining a ‘Big Brother’ higher-tech satellite device as a passenger in your auto can slash insurance premiums – but it comes at a cost.

The telematics black box is helpful for young motorists desperate to cut sky-substantial insurance so they can afford to drive. Yearly premiums can be diminished by twenty per cent.

But the cost savings come at the value of motoring freedom. Not only need to you get far more care with how you drive – which of course is no undesirable issue – but you need to stick to hard limits set by your insurer that can then charge you for errors behind the wheel even if not your fault.

Saving: For Sean Halpin a spy in the car brings rewards

Conserving: For Sean Halpin a spy in the vehicle brings rewards

Sean Halpin, 22, from Claughton, Lancashire, believes the restrictions are really worth the cash that can be saved. He pays £600 a 12 months for comprehensive cover with Insure The Box. Fortunately he has appreciated 3 years of difficulty-free motoring behind the wheel of his Peugeot 206.

He says: ‘My friends cannot stand the idea and some spend extra not to have Large Brother hunting over their shoulder. But following initially becoming concerned I soon acquired used  to it. It forces me to be a better driver by often sticking to speed limits.’

Sean’s black box is about the size of a pack of playing cards and is fixed beneath the dashboard. It fees as a lot as £200 to fit and £120 to get out. But some insurers, such as Insure The Box, do not charge.

As several as  15 per cent of motor insurance coverage policies now supplied have a discounted black box alternative, according to the comparison web site MoneySupermarket.

But so far fewer than a million British motorists out of 35 million have opted to have a black box fitted to lower premiums.

A essential explanation is motorists do not like currently being monitored how they drive – and desire to spend for freedom.
Ian Crowder, spokesman at motoring organisation the AA, which gives black box insurance coverage, says: ‘It is not for everyone and certainly not if you come to feel the idea is constraining. But for youthful motorists starting up out it might be the only way to get insurance coverage – and if you maintain a clean slate you will get a no-claims bonus that can lessen yearly premiums by a third.’

Crowder believes that even if you do present indications of aggressive driving, such as occasionally going in excess of the pace restrict, you must only get a gentle email reminder from your insurer rather than getting your insurance withdrawn.

He adds: ‘You have to have a key incident for us to withdraw insurance, such as exceeding 100mph in a 50mph area much more than as soon as.’

Some insurers may possibly charge a penalty for breaching stipulations in little- print, such as curfew hours, yearly mileage or velocity limits.

More than a dozen companies now supply black box cover, such as Insure The Box, Smart Miles, Sheilas’ Wheels, Bell, Sensible Driving, Carrot Insurance coverage, Autosaint, Brightbox, My Policy and the AA.

Across all age groups, and not just young drivers, typical savings for motorists who opt for a black box are £212.

Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at MoneySupermarket, says: ‘Lower premiums are not assured as it depends on how you drive. The variety of miles you can drive a yr is frequently capped at amongst 5,000 and 7,000, whilst the time you can drive can also be restricted. Statistics present most accidents for youthful drivers take place late at night.’

Insure The Box spokesman Mark Baylis says: ‘We have no little-print hidden charges. When it comes to renewals these are based mostly on how well you have driven throughout the 12 months. Most premiums fall.’

Black boxes: The 6 essential queries


An in-car telematics program – a gadget fitted just beneath the dashboard or steering wheel. It makes use of GPS and motion sensors to detect difficult acceleration, braking, turning and velocity limit violations. It also tracks in which you are and the distance that you travel.

IS Big BROTHER Watching ME?

He most surely is. Not only does he study your habits behind the wheel, he can even put you under curfew for the duration of ‘high-risk’ late evening or early morning hrs, plus penalise you if you drive more than agreed. But insurers are beneath no obligation to pass on any evidence of motoring offences to the police.

WHAT IS Expected OF ME?

You really don’;t have to drive all around like a snail but boy racer tendencies will not be tolerated – you should stick to the law. Make contact with the Institute of Superior Motoring and take into account a program to be a far better driver.


No. The box is sealed and tamper-evidence. If you play about with it you could injury the vehicle and the insurance coverage will turn into invalid. If a person else drives the automobile their routines are read as yours.

CAN IT Conserve ME Funds?

Yes. Even negative motorists can advantage if the savings curb aggressive routines.

CAN IT Cost ME Money?

Tes, if you drive badly or are unlucky. Get concerned in an incident – even if not your fault – and the insurer could be on your case inside of minutes, and your premium will rise at renewal. Breaking curfews and speeding can value £100.

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