Technology to help cut young drivers insurance
Passing your test for the first time is exciting and for parents it's an event which sees them being used less of a taxi. The reality unfortunately is the cost of the insurance for young drivers which quite often can be as much or even more than the cost of a car.
The only option to reduce the cost of insurance for a while has been the 'black box' which helps to reduce annual premiums. The black box system is having a data recording device fitted to your car which then sends valuable data back to your insurer.
Now the market is seeing a rival technology in the form of dash cam policies - this is based around a mini video recorder which sits on your dashboard, promising to cut your insurance price by 30%.
So which is best to get the best insurance for young and new drivers?
These are designed to make you drive more safely with your driving habits being sent to the insurer in real time. A black box hard wired into your car is likely to provide you with the cheapest deal as these cannot be switched off which ensures that they provide the most accurate data.
There are also other devices available which you are able to plug in under your glove box each time that you drive with some being linked to apps on mobile phones.
Restrictions: policies with black boxes restrict driving behaviour in different ways.
Curfews - some policies with will apply a penalty for driving after 11pm, however, this is now proving to be less popular after two teenagers were killed in Gloucestershire in 2013 after they were racing home to beat their curfew - this has resulted in many insurers no longer applying a time limit.
Restrictions just don't work for anyone. If the driver is in a job that requires driving late at night then this type of policy wouldn't be suitable.
Other policies with black boxes restrict the total mileage that you drive meaning the less you drive the less you pay for a policy.
However, the most advanced policies with black boxes will mostly monitor your driving style - this is done by looking at your acceleration, braking, speed and cornering. Some insurers such as Marmalade, provide an online personal dashboard that logs each of your journeys as green, amber or red. Having a journey coded as amber for example will result in an email advising you on how you could improve your driving, for a red journey you would receive a call from a team member at the insurance company who would discuss exactly where the mistake was made on Google maps and ways to improve. If a driver gets three red journeys, their policy will increase by ?125, by six red journeys you would be deemed unsuitable for insurance.
Parents are encouraged to be named on their kids insurance policies so they can have access to this information and have input into their kids driving skills.
Other insurers such as Ingenie, reviews your driving habits three times a year and reviews your premium as you go. After your first year they will not only award you a no claims bonus discount but also a 'good driver' discount.
Dash Cam Policies
This is a newer alternative to black box insurance and means that instead of a telematics box you have a dash cam installed which is just a mini video recorder which is supplied and fitted free. They are wired into your ignition system which ensures that they are always on when you are driving.
The idea behind it is, that if you were to have an accident, the insurer is able to see who was at fault by viewing footage recorded on the dash cam.
The 24 year old founder of MyFirst Insurance, James Noble, believes that many young drivers are unfairly blamed for accidents.
'Having the dash cam prevents this' James said, 'It's a set of eyes in the vehicle, like a parent or instructor alongside you, that will protect you in the event of a claim.'
With a dash cam it also could confirm that an accident was your fault.
There is some evidence that by having a dash cam that it improves driving behaviour although they don't monitor driving style directly.
The main questions - what is cheaper?
Black box policies still seem to have the edge by being a cheaper option and providing the best discounts. Some offer savings of upto 50% on standard insurance - this all depends on the restrictions involved.
Average savings are 1282 pounds according to the leading comparison site Uswitch - in many cases it can be even more. 17-20 year olds receive the best savings, whereas those above this age may find dash cam policies a cheaper option. Some dash cam policies only offer them to those drivers 21 years old plus.