This little box could change the vehicle insurance industry in Australia like nothing ever has before. The Insurance Box is similar to a 'black box' in an aeroplane, it records how you drive, when you drive and where you drive. All this information is recorded to ascertain if you are a safe driver, which in turn could lower your insurance premiums.
The Insurance Box
The device is currently marketed at young drivers who pay the highest premiums due to the increased incidence of accidents in this group. The box, which calculates a 'safety score', is hoped to encourage safe driving in the under 25's. Insurance companies offer savings of up to 20% up front and more for future premiums if your driving behaviour is found to be safe.
Stolen vehicle recovery is another advantage of the insurance box, the tracking device enables vehicles to be found, and found faster. This means if the work ute goes missing, vehicle insurers can find and return the ute and get you back to work quicker. UK statistics report that 95% of vehicles fitted with an insurance box were successfully recovered after theft.
Countries such as the United Kingdom and the US have had the insurance box for a few years and insurance companies in the UK report a 30% decrease in claims.
The box monitors how much you accelerate and brake, how fast you corner, your speed and the time of day or night you drive. It can also tell if you have had an accident. This function allows insurers to respond quickly to accidents and assist if needed.
So what if you go over the speed limit to overtake the occasional car or have to brake hard to miss a stray dog? Does this mean you will be penalised? Apparently not, the box is said to collect trend data to give an overall view of your driving style rather than a specific drive by drive account.
The system can give feedback on your driving and provide tips on how to modify your habits to become a safer driver.
At the moment the system runs from a small box which plugs into your car just under the dash (a socket which is standard in all 2006 on cars). Developers are working on a downloadable app which will transmit from your smartphone to provide insurers with relevant driving details.
It is likely that the insurance box will be offered to all drivers in the near future. Anyone will be able to reduce their insurance by providing evidence of safe driving habits. Business fleets, companies with commercial work vehicles, taxis, the list of viable interested parties when the box goes to all drivers is endless. Reducing tradesman insurance by lowering yearly work vehicle costs sounds great.
The future for car monitoring
This type of technology is just the beginning, all cars manufactured in the EU after October 2015 will be fitted with a black box style device called eCall which will allow emergency services to find vehicles in the event of an accident. It is predicted that it will become the norm to have one of these devices fitted in your car and those who decide not to participate due to reckless driving or privacy concerns will be charged higher premiums.