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What is telematics insurance


Owe Carter



What is telematics insurance

Over the last ten years, we’ve seen a big jump in the use of telematics in insurance. This essentially combines telecoms with computing technology, and has numerous applications. But in the case of car insurance, it’s used to monitor driving behaviour, and that in turn influences the price of the driver’s policy.

Did you know? The word ‘telematics’ comes from the French télématique, which combines télécommunications (‘telecommunications’) with informatique (‘computing science’).

How does telematics insurance work?

The telematics device gathers data using GPS, and sends it on to your insurance provider. This could be via a telematics-enabled black box device fitted in your car, or through an app using the location on your smartphone.

Find out more about how GPS works here.

Your movement is recorded, and data is gathered. This evaluates the speed at which you accelerate and brake, how smoothly you corner and manoeuvre, and so on. More on this in a sec…

Other factors could be relevant too, such as the time of day you drive, where you’re driving, and the average length of your journeys.

All this data is then analysed by your insurer to determine your driving behaviour. Different insurance providers may have slightly different approaches to this. For example, some may regard you to be more unsafe if you do a lot of night-time driving.

But on the whole, insurance providers are looking for more-or-less the same thing when assessing if driving behaviour is safe. So that’s things like driving smoothly, and not ragging around over the speed limit. And not being involved in collisions, obv.

When an insurance provider has enough data to be able to determine how safe a driver you are, it’ll be able to tailor your insurance price to your driving behaviour.

How does Driverly work out if I’m a good driver?

We assess your ability on the road to give you a driving score. There are a bunch of different factors we use to calculate this:

  • Driverly speed score: This one speaks for itself really. Don’t smash the speed limit, and you’ll score more points.

  • Driverly manoeuvring score: This is all about being smooooooth. If you corner, change lanes and manoeuvre like a slinky, then more points are coming your way.

  • Driverly braking score: Slamming down on the brakes usually suggests you aren’t planning ahead. More points are scored if your braking is controlled and slick.

  • Driverly acceleration score: Going from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds isn’t encouraged, for what we hope should be obvious reasons. Easy on the gas, and you’ll score more points.

  • Driverly phone usage score: Other than having the Driverly app ticking away, it’s best to keep your phone secured while driving. Using your phone will cost you points – and that goes for passengers using it too.

  • Driverly green score: That’s right – we also reward eco-conscious driving. If you’re being efficient and not burning through the fuel, then you’ll score more highly. Although we also think that being green is its own reward.

It’s worth noting that you don’t actually have to take out a Driverly Insurance policy to find out if you’re a good driver. You can also take our Test Drive app for a spin, and see how good a driver you are for free.

What else is telematics used for?

There are loads of other applications for telematics, especially regarding vehicles.

Telematics technology has helped car-sharing services, as it’s possible to tell when members are driving club cars, and how far they’re going. This pay-as-you-drive model means that members are billed accurately for their usage.

It’s also becoming more widely used in fleet management, where businesses need updates and progress reports from multiple drivers.

Telematics can also be used for communicating with other vehicles, and we may see it being used more in future for things like adaptive cruise control, or emergency warning systems.

And in the event of a collision, telematics crash detection systems can be used to get in touch with the emergency services, communicating the exact location of the vehicle.

Watch this space for further developments in telematics technology. It’s gonna be huge!

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