With more and more technology becoming available to drivers, the car insurance industry is starting to change.
Here we take a closer look at the apps, dashboard cameras, telematics systems and driverless car technology that is starting to reshape how we approach car insurance.
Mobile phone applications
There are many companies who now offer apps and these fall into two categories – apps which allow you to make a claim after an accident, and apps which monitor your driving, such as Drivology.
Apps to monitor your driving
Drivology is a company who specialise in car insurance and have designed an application that monitors your driving habits. The aim of this is to reward safer driving with lower insurance premiums.
How it works:
The first step is for you to download the Drivology app to your smartphone.
The GPS on your phone connects with the app to record how, when and where you are driving.
The company are then able to analyse this information and make a decision on whether you are a safe driver or not, based on a score between 0-100.
After a 4 week period of monitoring your driving habits, if you are considered a ‘safe’ driver, Drivolgy will give you an estimate of what your car insurance premium would be should you continue to drive safely for the next three months.
You will receive a statement and estimate every three months which allows you to see how your premium could change.
It is important to remember that although the aim of the app is for your car insurance premium to be reduced, there is also a chance that it could increase, if you were to get a low score and be considered to be driving unsafely.
Apps to make a claim
There are many insurance companies who now offer mobile phone applications specifically designed for you to make a claim on your car insurance. Just one example of this is the MyClaim app from Allianz.
When you have the Allianz MyClaim app downloaded, you can make a claim following an accident without having to call them. The app uses GPS allowing you to show the company exactly where you had the accident and also has features for you to upload any photographs of the accident.
The app is also somewhere for you to note any third party’s details (name, address, insurance details etc.) and also the details of any witnesses. When making a claim through the app you have the option to send it straight through to Allianz or save it and send it at another time.
Dashboard cameras or ‘dashcams’ are becoming increasingly popular and many insurance companies offer to lower the price of insurance premiums if drivers have one fitted.
A dashcam is essentially a small camera which sits on your dashboard to record the view through the cars windscreen.
There are many advantages of having a dashcam fitted, the main one being if you were to be involved in an accident, the camera would have recorded the incident and therefore insurance companies can clearly see who is to blame.
Another advantage of using a dashboard camera is that drivers tend to drive more carefully, for fear that if they were being irresponsible and caused an accident, the camera would show this.
A survey conducted by Nextbase found that six out of ten people said that they would install a dashboard camera in their car if it entitled them to a discount on their insurance.
It seems that some insurance companies have picked up on this information and are offering some sort of reduction in insurance premiums.
Another form of technology which is having an impact on car insurance premiums is telematics, also known as ‘black box insurance’.
Black boxes have been round for a number of years and they are essentially a box fitted to the vehicle which monitors the way that you drive.
Your insurance company will review the information collected by the box and if you are seen to be a safe driver, then your insurance premium will be reduced.
However, just like with the Drivology app, this could have the reverse effect – if you are considered to be driving unsafely (for example, speeding or driving without care) then your premium could increase.
Telematics usually take into account the following things: your location, how long you’ve been driving for, how rapid your acceleration is, how harsh your braking is and how you drive going round corners.
Some insurance companies who offer black box insurance will often specify that you don’t drive between certain hours (usually during the night and the early hours of the morning).
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be insured during these hours, but it could affect your overall driving ‘score’ if you were frequently to drive at these times.
The most recent form of technology comes in the form of driverless cars. Driverless cars, or ‘autonomous vehicles’ are still being tested in the UK, though it is thought that they will be on our roads within the next decade.
The findings so far are that they are much safer than human driving, as around 90% of road traffic accidents happen due to human error. The technology that is in the driverless cars include alerts and messages to driver about oncoming hazards and information about surroundings and the safety of all passengers.
Due to the fact that driverless cars pose such a low risk of being involved in a road traffic accident, Forbes have estimated that insurance premiums could be reduced by as much as 75%. These figures sound great to road users, but not so much for the insurance sector.
With all the new age technology that is available today, it is inevitable that the insurance industry will take a huge hit. The price of insurance premiums reflect the amount of risk posed to a driver whilst on the road, so using technology like those mentioned above, which reduces the risks, the companies must adjust prices accordingly.
Luke Glassford writes on behalf of Liverpool-based personal injury solicitors CL Legal, who specialise in road traffic accident and industrial disease compensation claims.