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Young UK Driver's Get Incentive-Based Auto Insurance

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On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 3:52PM | By: Chris Salamone

Young UK Driver's Get Incentive-Based Auto Insurance

Ah, to be young again. To arrive two hours early at the DMV on your birthday, only to discover that an ‘appointment’ really means waiting in an identically-long line with people who just walked in. Or perhaps, to pay your first car insurance bill only to discover that you’re paying far more than Grandpa McGregor who can’t see past his nose hair. These are just some of the trials and tribulations associated with new drivers in the United States. Yet, in the United Kingdom, the Co-Operative Insurance Company has debuted a revolutionary incentive-based program which hopes to award young drivers for good behavior: Smartbox.

When drivers 17 to 25 take out a policy with Co-Operative Insurance, a professional installer comes out and fits the Smartbox device into each vehicle. Fortunately for all parties, each Smartbox is about the size of a cell-phone and is installed covertly on the vehicle’s interior thus preserving the driver’s reputation with hot dates. It collects four types of data which are later sent to the driver’s online dashboard (interactive account software). Based on uploaded data, your scores contribute to whether or not you receive a safe driver discount.

Note, however, that Co-Operative does not expressly state that these four factors are the sole factors the company considers for their safe driver designation. Even so, scoring well with the Smartbox gives young drivers a really good chance to earn lower auto insurance premiums and finally put their frustration with age or price disparity to rest. And the insurance company gets a better idea of what rates each driver should actually be charged, based on recent driving. Data is collected every 90 days.

The four key parameters are: speed, taking corners, acceleration, and braking. Supposedly, the company’s customer promise means the Smartbox is limited on what types of data can and can’t be collected. And the good news is—drum roll, please—data collected cannot be used to decline non-fraudulent insurance claims. So, factors like speed and late-night driving conditions won’t be held against you when a 2 AM Chupacabra scares you off the highway and into a ditch.

Overall, the Smartbox is a great use of modern technology for young drivers to help lessen their burden of insurance premiums. Will this little black box ever make it across the pond? Let’s hope so. The Co-Operative Insurance Smartbox is targeted to save drivers an average of $537 per year. Perhaps if young US drivers feel like they’re in control of their absurd insurance premiums then they’ll take active steps to improve driving habits. And for those drivers who think life is a less-exciting version of The Fast and the Furious… they can just pay more.

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