Did you know your phone could save you money on your car insurance via an app?
The use of telematics (black box) insurance has increased dramatically over recent years. This is where your driving is monitored electronically.
Prove that you're a safe and reliable driver and you could stand to save a few quid on your premiums, particularly if you’re a young driver.
But more and more insurers are offering mobile phone apps that basically do the same thing. We've taken a look to find out a little more about what's on offer and whether they could help you save some cash.
All of the following apps are free to download on iOS (Apple) and Android (Google).
The DrivePlus app is part of Direct Line’s telematics insurance policy.
Drivers under 26 will get an upfront discount just for fitting the DrivePlus plug-in into their car. Drivers who are 21-25 years old will get at least 15% off while under 21s will get a whopping 25% knocked off their premiums.
It gives you non-stop driving feedback on the portal or app, no curfews and you have the option to try before you buy.
Even if you don't qualify for DrivePlus insurance, you can still download the app. Once you've driven 200 miles, you'll get a code.
Use this code and get up to 10% off your car insurance.
Be warned, according to user reviews the app is not always entirely accurate and is a big battery drain.
Aviva Drive gives you the chance to test your driving skills and get up to 20% off your comprehensive car insurance. Safer drivers will save an average of £104, Aviva says.
Once you’ve completed 200 miles, you’ll get an individual driving score between 0-10 (10 being the safest). You’ll get driving feedback and the app will calculate your Aviva discount, giving you the chance to earn badges as you progress.
Users had much more positive feedback for this app than Direct Line’s offering, but it is prone to crashing and the app drains your battery quite substantially.
Axa has brought Drivology onto the market, allowing drivers to lower their insurance premiums.
It can check how often the app is used to monitor driving, how many miles are monitored, and the location it is activated/deactivated compared to where you told Axa you keep your car.
After three months your premium will be recalculated based on how you drive, and then again every three months after that. Be warned, the cost of your premium could go up – around 19% of Axa customers saw their car insurance costs increase, by an average of £49.
The LV= Driving app is much like Direct Line’s offering in that it has a telematics black box and plug in box as well as an app. You could save 15% on your premiums and you’ll also get a tenner off just for using the app.
You’ll need to clock up 200 miles over 10 or more journeys and the app will monitor the number of miles driven, the time of day the card is used, where you go and driving technique.
This one has a little trouble telling whether or not you’re on a car journey. One Android user said that their journey didn’t record because the app thought he was on a train!
The Co-operative’s telematics app is aimed exclusively at younger drivers (age 17-25). If you're a young driver, you could get a no claim discount on your premium for each claim-free year.
Like other apps it looks at speed, how corners are taken, harsh braking and acceleration and the time of day that you drive.
The Co-op has reported that around 82% of drivers using the app have managed to cut the cost of their policy. Your scores are measured daily and reviewed every 90 days.
Things to remember
Not everything about telematics apps is perfect as they’re still in their early stages.
As you’ve seen from some users, there are issues with accuracy and identifying whether or not you’re actually driving. Take your result with a pinch of salt, but always drive carefully.
It’s a good idea to place your phone in a car phone holder if you can as this will help it pick up the GPS and give you a more accurate driving score.
If you don’t have one already, pick up an in-car phone charger. As they rely on GPS, these apps are notorious for wearing your phone battery down. You can buy them at most phone and tech shops.
And just because your car insurance premiums could go down, doesn’t mean that they will. They may stay the same. In fact, they may even go up – it all depends on your driving.
It is absolutely imperative that you do drive carefully if you have telematics because if your driving is really concerning, your black box data might be sent to the police on production of a court order.