The idea of your every movement being recorded and shared with your insurance company seems pretty scary, and in some respects far-fetched. For the last few weeks I’ve been doing exactly that. With a GPS tracker and accelerometer fitted to my car, my insurance company knows how well and how fast I’m driving.
Ok, so they aren’t my insurance company – but for the purposes of this review, lets imagine I’ve moved my comprehensive car insurance policy to InsuranceBox.com.au – this is a company backed by QBE which gives you the chance to have your policy premium priced against your on-the-road performance.
It’s rather simple. You are sent in the mail your very own “InsuranceBox”. This amazingly small little thing has inside it such things as GPS, Accelerometers and even a SIM card. But there is no cover to remove, no battery to charge, nothing for you to do except plug it into your car and start driving.
All cars today have what’s called an On Board Diagnostics port – it’s a large plug where mechanics for example might plug in a computer to get information from your car about what’s wrong with it. For you though, that’s the source of power for your insurance box. Normally located under the dashboard/steering wheel but within easy access (so there’s no panels to remove or anything like that) all you need to do to get going is plug it in.
Once plugged in, some lights come on, and the box registers on its network – using the mobile data network to communicate.
As soon as the device registered you receive an email from Insurance Box with details of their online dashboard which is where you can monitor the scores you are receiving over time.
The concept is simple. Insurance Box knows how fast you are driving, because it knows where you are it also knows the speed limit. It can also determine via the accelerometer how smooth or otherwise your braking and acceleration is.
Your “score” is broken down into four categories
- Speed – Using your speed relative to the speed limit, measured over time
- Braking – Looking for smooth driving and no harsh braking
- Acceleration – Similarly looking at smooth acceleration
- Night Driving – Measuring the amount of time you spend driving at night
You can see at any time what your score is, however the InsuranceBox.com.au premiums are calculated over a longer period, around three months.
It’s hard to say what anyone might save, but they talk about saving hundreds of dollars on your premium. Of course, if you ignore the advice and guidance the Insurance Box dashboard gives you, you’ll soon pay the price.
Overall, Insurance Box is very easy to use piece of technology that would suit the average driver perfectly. If you find yourself pushing the limits of your car – stick with your current provider. But if smooth driving and speed limits are your thing you might just save a pretty penny.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.