Wednesday, February 19, 2014

If it sounds too good to be true...

There's an ad going the rounds on the radio I listen to at work (not by choice but I can't switch my ears off) it's called 'Drive like a girl' and is making the case that since the EU decided it was illegal for car insurers to charge less for women as they are statistically safer drivers then if you stick a little black monitoring device under the hood of your car and prove you are a safer driver then they'll give you a discount after a couple of months.
In theory it ought to be a boon to safer drivers... in theory.
Drivers who sign up for black box car cover can be hit with a £100 fine from their insurer if they speed, a Money Mail investigation has found.
Black box technology, which monitors the safety of your driving, is supposed to be the new way to get discounts on your insurance.
Drivers are told they will be rewarded with lower premiums if they have good habits.
But people are discovering that reductions are impossible to get and are being eroded by other fees.
Sell your car, switch policy or breach the smallprint, and you could be hit with hefty penalties.
With most insurers you’ll receive warnings if you break rules such as regularly driving at 40mph in a 30mph zone. If you ignore these alerts and carry on driving poorly, the insurer can fine you on a case-by-case basis.
In some instances, Money Mail understands, the fines can be as much as £100. In the worst cases it will cancel your policy.
In other words unless you drive perfectly all the time kiss any discounts away. The damned things have even been set off by speed bumps even at ridiculously low speeds.
Nor if you're too young will they help if you have an emergency that requires you to go out at night, or indeed if you simply have to swerve out the way violently to avoid another car or heaven forfend accelerate out of trouble.
And that at the end of it is always the problem with technology that doesn't have a human check and balance. It records data, not circumstances, it doesn't understand merely reports.
As ever the reports that it could save you money are being over-exaggerated and the reality is that unless you drive perfectly (which won't save you from those who don't) you are unlikely to reap the benefits from what is essentially a spy in your cab.
What will happen is what's happening now, people will assess the risks of paying a fortune for insurance against the cost of a fine for being caught.
At the moment it's cheaper for the young to take the chance, it's not like the police are out in numbers to catch them...
What a truly awful world we've found ourselves in...

6 annotations:

never60 said...

quote: '......under the hood of your car.....'.
so we're all American now?
I always thought that in England (I'm English and proud - you claim)it was the bonnet.
but maybe I've got everything wrong.

Quiet_Man said...

English grabs words from everywhere, whilst technically bonnet is correct, mostly people will understand and not sic the grammar Naxis upon me.

DerekP said...

'Hood' meaning both a cover and a criminal, would seem to be an appropriate word to use.

never60 said...

you are right, English does grab words from everywhere, but there are normally reasons for doing so.
1) we don't already have a word.
2) we want to emphasise the 'foreignness' of the object or subject being discussed.
3) we want to pander to the non-English listener/reader.
4) we think it's 'cool' to use a foreign word (French/german/latin/greek/American etc).
I only mentioned the word because you say 'English and proud' - and I have always thought our language, together with our common law, was at the very heart of what it means to be English.
so I was somewhat surprised at your use.

Longrider said...

Insurers don't do discounts - they just don't hit you as heavily as they could. I would never, ever agree to having my driving monitored by these creeps. I have to pay for insurance by law. I will pay the minimum I can get away with - stopping short of them spying on me.

Longrider said...

BTW, this is nothing new. I was warning about this stuff nearly ten years ago:

It is always worth remembering that insurance companies are not charities – they are investing in this because they see a revenue opportunity. Oh, how simple it all could be - analysing a driver’s record and declaring his insurance void due to, say driving several hours without a break or breaking the speed limit – or, just hiking the premium.

Just call me Nostradamus...