Did You Know Car Insurance Companies Can Watch You?

For some being watched by their car insurance company may be a good thing.  There are more and more surveillance systems being inbuilt into cars these days such as incorporating GPS technology as well as video technology as we discussed in our article on dash cams in cars.  Dash cams are another device that you can use in evidence purposes not just in accidents and presentations to the police but also presenting the video evidence to your insurance company for assessment.  Sometimes these dash cams may work in your favour for the insurance claim.

These days, your phone knows where you are, surveillance cameras can record your every movements, welcome another voyeur into your life.  Car black box systems.  There are many drivers such as Jamie Smith who has a black box system fitted to his Mazda CX-9.  There Insurance black box systems are being rolled out in some countries and record all manner of information related to the car.  Motor vehicle insurance companies love black box systems.  Car black box systems record what you are doing and therefore the accuracy of finding who is at fault in the event of a motor vehicle accident claim has just been made a whole lot easier for car insurance companies.  Car insurance companies in the United Kingdom and the United States  have been using these black box systems and now these systems are coming to Australia.  Car black box systems started rolling out around 2013 and have gathered pace since with systems such as QBE’s Insurance box.  More on that system soon.

What is monitored?

Basically the system monitors how you drive.  It also tracks how aggressively you accelerate and how smoothly the driver applies the brakes.  The black box system will also record data where you go and when you go.  The downside for some motorists is that the device will also record when you have broken the speed limit.  I have even seen reports that the black box system will know when you are tired or have been driving under the influence of alcohol.  Personally, all this sounds amazing stuff but to some drivers, it sounds quite a dangerous item to have installed in the car.

Whats the point of having a black box system in the car?

Basically, if the black box devices are running in the insured’s car, the car insurance premium charged will be based on the data that the insurance company gathers about the vehicle and the drivers driving performance.  Longer term it is said that these black box units will find their way into millions of motor vehicles around Australia.  The name of this is Telematics or insurance telematics.  Telematics has been used for all sorts of tracking including trailers, vehicles, cargo etc.

Car insurance companies are firmly of the the belief people will be willing to be monitored when insurance customers fully realise the benefits.  There will be a car insurance risk score that will replace the traditional insurance premium categories, no claim bonus and the rest.  The second thing is that car insurance companies also believe that people will become safer drivers by alerting drivers to dangerous habits in their driving.  Another bonus will be recovery times ie. for stolen vehicles in Australia.

18-35 years drivers can use the black box system to avoid or reduce the steep insurance premiums normally charged by car insurance companies by separating themselves from the young and the reckless.

Melbourne company NIA has launched the first of these Australian telematics products.  The unit is called “insurance box” and is run in partnership with leading car insurance company QBE.  QBE car black box system has been popular in the UK and it has been said that customers were opting in because they wanted the features of safety and feedback with their driving and obviously cheaper QBE car insurance premiums.  You can read more about the Insurance box system here at their main page.  You can also read a reducing your car insurance premium with black boxes.

Insurance boxes cannot be fitted to cars manufactured before 2000.  You can get an online quote also at the above link to compare your insurance with the QBE rates with an insurance box but I guess how I read your insurance can change as more and more data about your driving is gathered.

NIA also stated that overseas, experience had shown that car accidents were reduced by 30 percent among those with a box amongst younger driver.  Even slight changes to behaviour such as reducing tailgating incidents could make a difference to insurance claim numbers.   The insurance black boxes generally slot under the dashboard.  The boxes have generally a one off $100 charge at the time of writing and can be fitted easily to the vehicle.
Many Australian insurance companies have been slow adopters of the technology despite being around in Australia 2 years and overseas a number of years.  Allianz telematics and car black box systems is still looking at adopting the system at the time of writing.  Zurich vehicle Insurance are also adopting the technology.
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