The economics of monitored driving: how your black box tries to save you money

One of the biggest selling points of a telematics insurance policy is the money you can save on your car insurance. By monitoring your driving, these policies can reward good driving by reducing your insurance premiums and putting money back into your pocket. However, the benefits of having a black box or other telematics device needn’t stop at saving you money on your insurance – it may also help you to save money on the everyday costs of your car.

If you have a telematics policy, your driving will be rated on a number of different factors, such as your speed, braking and acceleration. By performing well in these factors, you’re more likely to be seen as a safe driver, and this can lead to you getting money back from your insurance – but measuring yourself against these different factors can also have other benefits by making your driving more cost-efficient as well as safer. While you may wish to keep your speed down and drive carefully to stop your driving score from being negatively affected, did you know that you may also be saving yourself money on your fuel bills, car maintenance costs and your emissions? These are the ways that performing well in the behaviours set out by your insurance policy can also save you money elsewhere:

1. Staying under the limit

We know that telematics insurance policies mark you negatively for going over the speed limit, but driving too fast can also have a negative impact on your fuel bill. The more speed you drive at, the more fuel you’re using: for example, driving at 80mph instead of 70mph can use up to 25% more fuel. Alongside this, the more fuel you burn, the more emissions you’re putting out in the environment, meaning reducing your speed can also make your driving eco-friendlier. This means by cutting your speed down, you can save money on your weekly fuel bill, help the environment and make your driving safer – all while keeping your driving score down.

2. Drive smooth

Many insurers will monitor how smoothly you drive, meaning rapid accelerations could cause your driving score to fall. However, gentle acceleration can also help your fuel economy for the better. Accelerating too quickly or over-revving your car can increase your fuel consumption, as well as increase the emissions from your car. Another tip for acceleration is to watch the road ahead: if you accelerate quickly only to have to brake seconds later if the road isn’t clear, this is an unnecessary waste of fuel that can leave you out of pocket. So, accelerating smoothly isn’t just for a happy driving score – it can also make your driving more economically efficient.

3. Easy on the brakes

Another common behaviour that telematics devices monitor is how you brake. When you brake, it should be gradual and smooth, as having to brake harshly can affect your driving score as well as your safety. However, slowing down in plenty of time can help your car. Braking is one of the things that uses the most fuel in your car, as it turns kinetic energy into heat which is lost to the environment, so there’s big benefits to slowing gradually to a stop rather than having to rapidly apply your brakes.

Slowing gradually and keeping an eye on the road ahead, particularly in traffic, can also allow you to keep your car ‘rolling’ rather than having to start and stop – which can reduce your fuel efficiency and increase costs. When slowing down, make sure you’re in the right gear to avoid wasting fuel. It can also be worth skipping gears (such as going straight from fourth to second) when possible, as this cuts the time needed for deceleration and the fuel used, making your driving more efficient.

4. Wear and tear

While driving well is important for reducing your insurance premiums and keeping your telematics score up, it can also help to keep your car in the best possible condition. Of course, all cars will pick up wear and tear as we drive them, but driving sensibly can reduce the damage to your car. For example, excessive or sudden braking can have a negative impact on your brake pads, making them worn and potentially resulting in a costly trip to the mechanics when they need to be replaced. Similarly, flooring your acceleration pad, particularly if you’re not in the right gear, can force your engine to work harder, placing unnecessary strain which could result in damage later on. By driving safely, you can reduce the wear and tear to your vehicle, saving yourself money on repairs in the long run.

It's always great to save money – which is why a telematics insurance policy can be so beneficial when it comes to cutting your insurance premiums. But don’t forget that driving well and sticking to the rules of your black box (and the road) can also help you save money elsewhere – whether it’s making your fuel last longer or reducing how often you need to take your car for a repair.

Posted on March 06, 2019
Category Telematics