The use of telematics (black box) insurance has increased dramatically over recent years. This is where your driving is monitored electronically. Prove that you're a safe and reliable driver and you could stand to save a few quid on your premiums, particularly if you’re a young driver.
More and more insurers are offering mobile phone apps that basically do the same thing. We've taken a look to find out a little more about what's on offer and whether they could help you save some cash.
All of the following apps are free to download on iOS (Apple) and Android (Google).
The DrivePlus app is part of Direct Line’s telematics insurance policy.
Drivers under 25 will get an upfront discount. It gives you non-stop driving feedback on the portal or app, no curfews and you have the option to try before you buy.
Be warned, according to user reviews, it's a big battery drain and the GPS is rather dodgy.
Aviva Drive gives you the chance to test your driving skills and save on your comprehensive car insurance. Safer drivers will save an average of £170.
Once you’ve completed 200 miles, you’ll get an individual driving score between 0-10 (10 being the safest). You’ll get driving feedback and the app will calculate your Aviva discount, giving you the chance to earn badges as you progress.
Users had much more positive feedback for this app than Direct Line’s offering, but it is prone to crashing and the app drains your battery quite substantially.
AXA has brought Drivology onto the market, allowing drivers to lower their insurance premiums.
It can check how often the app is used to monitor driving, how many miles are monitored, and the location it is activated/deactivated compared to where you told AXA you keep your car.
After three months your premium will be recalculated based on how you drive, and then again every three months after that.
The Co-operative’s telematics app is aimed exclusively at younger drivers (age 17-25). If you're a young driver, you could get a no claim discount on your premium for each claim-free year.
Like other apps it looks at speed, how corners are taken, harsh braking and acceleration and the time of day that you drive.
Your scores are measured daily and reviewed every 90 days but be warned, your premium could go up as well as down. The Co-op says that your premiums will never go up by more than 20% over the course of the year.
Things to remember
Not everything about telematics apps is perfect as they’re still in their early stages.
As you’ve seen from some users, there are issues with accuracy and identifying whether or not you’re actually driving. Take your result with a pinch of salt, but always drive carefully.
It’s a good idea to place your phone in a car phone holder if you can as this will help it pick up the GPS and give you a more accurate driving score.
If you don’t have one already, pick up an in-car phone charger. As they rely on GPS, these apps are notorious for wearing your phone battery down. You can buy them at most phone and tech shops.
And just because your car insurance premiums could go down, doesn’t mean that they will. They may stay the same. In fact, they may even go up - it all depends on your driving.
It is absolutely imperative that you do drive carefully if you have telematics because if your driving is really concerning, your black box data might be sent to the police on production of a court order.