The problem with being a young driver is that you get lumped in with all those other young drivers. You know, the ones who take stupid risks every time they get behind the wheel.
Because insurance companies can only go by statistics, the problem they’ve always faced is the ability to treat you as an individual. But not any more, because modern technology allows your insurer to monitor your driving style, to see just how safe you are. Thanks to the use of this telematics, or black box technology, you can now show your insurer that you’re not a liability.
Norwich Union introduced telematics in 2005, but gave up soon after, because so few people signed up for it. But since 2009 it has proved the way forward for many young drivers, with a stack of insurers now offering (or insisting) on it.
Tom Mason knows all about the value of black boxes; having been voted one of the country’s best drivers by his insurer, The Co-operative, which claims his driving has been “nearly flawless”.
Says Tom: “When I passed my test a year ago, the insurance premium on my Peugeot 106 was a massive £2700, but I had to pay it if I was to get on the road. Thanks to the black box in my car I’ve been able to prove to my insurer that I’m a safe driver, and only a year after passing my test, my premium has dropped to just £700 – that’s a saving of almost three-quarters. Without the telematics system installed, there’s no way my insurer could have slashed over 70 per cent from my premium”.
Whereas some drivers change their driving style if they’re being monitored, Tom insists that he’d drive just the same without it. He continues: “My dad works for the fire and rescue service and he’s told me too many tales of young drivers killed or injured because of bad driving. So while the black box hasn’t made a difference to how I drive, it has allowed me to buy insurance cover at a price I can afford”.
You’d obviously be daft not to consider opting for a telematics scheme for your own cover, but don’t assume it’s automatically the best route; some new drivers can still get cheaper cover with a conventional policy.
You must also check the terms and conditions, as some insurers might not like the way you use your car. For example, some policies restrict you to driving between 6am and 11pm; do any night driving and you could find yourself paying a hefty penalty. But get the right policy and you might just find that the telematics option allows you to get on the road – instead of being priced off it.