How can telematics make motoring more affordable?
You’ve just passed your driving test. Hoorah! Time to enjoy your new found freedom and get yourself insured on a car. Not so fast though. Insurance premiums aren’t always so young-driver friendly and if you want to avoid paying through the roof, you’ll likely be considering black box insurance. In exchange for sharing your driving data with your insurer, and sometimes adhering to a curfew, you can benefit from a knocked down insurance premium. But the black box has a new competitor.
Smartphone apps such as our home-grown wejo Rewards app (for iOS and Android) are shaking up the telematics and insurance industries with a driver-centric approach to lowering the cost of motoring. Wejo Rewards makes driving more affordable for a broader demographic of driver, not just young drivers, and not just with the promise of a reduced insurance premium. Telematics is made accessible to every driver, with wejo Rewards calculating personalised driving scores, as well as tracking journeys to help drivers see how economically and safely they are driving.
Granted, having a physical device connected to your car as with a black box has its benefits; there’s the ever-on element, in which the black box captures every journey the vehicle its been installed in makes. The data that can be extracted is rich and generally considered to be accurate too. But what if someone else is driving your car? And with black boxes of the plug and go variety (connected to your car via its diagnostics port, the OBD2), insurers open themselves up to fraud and inaccuracies with the ease at which the device can be unplugged, purposefully or accidentally. Then there’s the installation (and removal) cost, whether that’s footed by the insurer or costing the driver anything from £120 upwards.
Using a smartphone app enables tracking of the driver and not the vehicle, and in the wejo Rewards app, journeys can be marked if they weren’t completed by the policy holder or were made using an alternative mode of transport such as by taxi or train. But where wejo Rewards is truly innovative, is that driver information is used to empower drivers to become safer and more economical drivers and instead of offering a lower insurance premium, the cost of motoring is subsidised with discounts and offers on anything from hotels, to MOTs, to dining out.
White label versions of our wejo Rewards app have been taken up by major insurers as a way to reward drivers for their brand loyalty and connect with their customers in a way that the black box can’t facilitate. Can the black box continue to compete with this emerging smartphone technology? Only time will tell.