Could telematics save you money? Or will they just destroy your privacy?
Telematics are either a boon or a curse, depending upon your point of view.
The theory sounds great. You have a device in your car that can monitor everything about your use of it; where you drive to, at what time of day, at what speed, and in what manner. If you break hard, accelerate hard, corner hard, all these misdemeanours are detected. The box knows what the speed limit is on the road you're on so every speeding infraction is recorded. You get access to a full report of how, where and when you have driven, and you are judged on these criteria rather than such arbitrary criteria as your age, sex or driving experience.
Good drivers can be rewarded with cheaper insurance policies, bad ones penalised. No more careful, conscientious young drivers lumped in with the irresponsible tearaways, no more middle-aged vicars meandering sedately around their local country roads paying the same as the lunatic who tears around those same roads at 3am on two wheels, waking up the residents and frightening the horses.
On the face of it, a sensible way of tailoring insurance premiums to individual drivers. But there are drawbacks:
For a start, these devices cost money. They have to be fitted by skilled personnel, and then removed by similarly skilled people if they break down, you sell your car, or change insurer. The costs of all this have to be paid upfront, or they are factored into the premium.
In theory good drivers will benefit from a reduction in premiums. However the converse is also true. Most insurers reserve the right to not only increase premiums but also actually withdraw cover completely if in their judgement the quality of driving justifies it. This could be a frightening prospect; there are few drivers who've never exceeded the speed limit or gone round a corner a little too quickly but most of us get away with it most of the time.
Having a recorder in the car could result in the possibility of losing insurance cover and not only having to go to the expense of taking out the spy device but also trying to find alternative cover after an insurer has withdrawn your insurance.