It's no secret that teen drivers have to pay higher automobile insurance rates than most people - after all, they're less experienced, and some of them can be pretty reckless. If you're a good teen driver or one that doesn't drive much, however, it might seem rather unfair that you have to pay rates that are based on the worst driving habits of your peers. Well, Gibraltar-based insurethebox has what it claims is a better alternative - teens' cars are fitted with a telematics box that records the way and amount that they drive, and they end up paying less for their insurance if they drive well.
Because teens may not drive as much as most adults, the insurance is purchased in packages of miles. Each annual policy comes with a base 6,000 miles (9,656 km), to which separately-purchased top-up bundles can be added as needed.
The Clear Box, as it's called, is about the size of a smartphone, and incorporates features such as GPS, logging units, an accelerometer and antennas, all of which are managed by a microprocessor. It is installed behind the dashboard, and records data such as distance traveled, number of trips made, speeds maintained on different types of roads, smoothness of driving, and time of day that trips are made. This information is regularly sent via satellite to a remote server, where it is uploaded onto each user's web portal. There, clients can see for themselves how their profile is progressing.
While poor drivers aren't penalized per se, good drivers receive bonus miles, which can be rolled over to their next year if not used right away. Shopping at participating UK retailers will also earn clients reward miles, that will be credited to their policy.
In the event of an accident, the Clear Box will act more like a black box, recording the time and location of the event, the force of impact, the direction of travel, and the speed of the vehicle prior to and after the incident. Not only will this information have an affect on the user's profile, but it could also be useful in court, or if the driver needs assistance at the time of the accident. The box can also be used to track the car if it's stolen.
Prices of policies are based on factors such as age and location. Quotes can be obtained via the insurethebox website.
While it doesn't include an insurance policy, the tiwi is similar to the Clear Box, in that it monitors young drivers and provides them with an online progress report on their skill behind the wheel.