How telematics is changing the car insurance world forever

I have two siblings, a younger sister and an even younger brother. My sister is a self-confessed terrible driver who once managed to write off a car in a 20mph collision outside the Post Office in our local market town. My brother, an engineer, works at Jaguar Landrover.

So whose insurance quote is higher?

You guessed it, while our brother may get away with murder at home, when it comes to car insurance quotes he gets a raw deal.

Insurers understand this discrepancy, and recent changes to EU law mean that young women no longer get favourable quotes based on the theory that they’re better drivers just because they’re girls.

Instead, telematics - the use of behavioural technology to measure your driving skills - is becoming more and more common.

In the last 18 months, sales based on this technology have increased by 61 per cent. That means 116,000 people now have policies which are based on how they drive.

According to Graeme Trudgill, executive director at the British Insurance Broker’s Association, smartphone apps have made all the difference, as people no longer have to invest in expensive black boxes installed in their cars.

Instead, an app linked to the GPS in a phone can measure speed, location, distance and the way people drive - and calculate a premium accordingly. It’s effectively pay-as-you-go insurance.

Trudgill expects the use of this technology will continue to rise, especially among younger drivers who often pay more to account for the risk associated with some of their peers.

It’s something the government is keen on too, with insurers meeting Department for Transport bosses this month to discuss a bigger roll-out of this kind of policy.

But while some will earn themselves a healthy discount for behaving well on the roads, others may find they get changed more.

“If you drive like a Granny for 200 miles (the ‘test distance’ demanded by many insurers before they will calculate a base policy rate) but then drive like a boy-racer straight afterwards, you’ll have problems,” Trudgill warns.