It is becoming increasingly harder for new young drivers to get on the road, even the smallest 1.0-liter city car costing around one thousand pounds and the average Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Fiesta costing in excess of one thousand pounds to insure. This means that as a young driver it is becoming more and more out of reach to get on the road as a new driver.
There are ways around this, firstly a young driver going onto their parent’s insurance. However not everyone is willing to do this. Not having your own policy means you face the problem of not building up your own no claims discount (NCD) and possibly affecting the persons whose insurance it is in the event of an accident. The best option to for me was a telematics box. This is a box which is fitted to the young person’s vehicle by the insurance company. This then monitors acceleration, braking and steering. This then provides the driver with a score of their driving. The idea behind this is when it comes to the second year of insurance if the driver has been good their next insurance quote shall reflect this.
I was 19 years old when I passed my test. The car which I had was a Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SXI Twinport. My first year of insurance cost just over £1200, F/C within 2 weeks of taking out the policy the box had been installed. Installation took around an hour, admittedly I did end up spending all day sitting around waiting for them. Once they did arrive it was installed quickly and there were no signs the box. In my case this was installed behind the glove box and you would never know. When I first got the box my big worry was how strict the box was actually going to be on my driving. In my mind I am a really good driver… But isn’t that the case for every teenage boy, knowing i was being monitored this meant I drove very slowly and carefully for the first few weeks. Over this time I maintained a 100% driving score, despite this , the score did not last.
After having had the the box just over a year I did return to a normal driving style. Keeping within the speed limits, some aggressive acceleration when needed but apart from that nothing out of the ordinary. Believe me when I say it's not like I didn’t clock up many miles. In my first year I covered 15,000 miles (A challenge in a 9-year-old Corsa which has already covered 128,000 miles) But despite my fairly normal driving style. I always abided by the speed limit. Travelling at around 70 mph on motorways the box did not seem to have any problems which to my relief.
Don’t get me wrong this type of insurance is very good for the more frugal minded of us. Their have been a few irritations from having the box - Night time driving was a big one for me, late night trips to the airport, night time filming shoots and a social life all have a effect on the telematics box. This did mean on all of them I spent nearly all the time thinking what is the telematics box thinking of this. Despite these late night journey’s being a common thing for me this did not seem to have too much of an affect. I could imagine if this was the bulk of the driving then this would have been a bigger issue, but because my car was used so much during the day this equalled out the score. Another great irritation for me was speed limits. What I mean by this is when I go through a small village at 30mph a certain class of drivers believe this does not apply to them so you do find yourself being tailgated a lot of the time, despite quite often they don’t expect you to shift into second when you go into a national speed limit. If you can tolerate being slightly limited in your driving style and what you can do on the road a telematics box is going to be a great choice for you.
For the most part of this last year of my insurance I did not notice the insurance box. In retrospect the tracking device has been a good thing.
Otherwise my previous driving style would have ended up with my car half way up a tree. It has also helped me avoid getting any speeding tickets which is something as a young driver you don’t want, its not worth 6 points on your license and a fine. The best thing about having the telematics box on my car was when the renewal date came up for my insurance. When I looked online on the comparison websites my insurance has dropped to £880, still a massive amount of money and something I was not looking forward to at all. When my insurer contacted me they quoted me £500.09. This made my second year less than half the first year and allowed me to save £380 on my second year insurance from any other insurer. This policy also included 2 years protected no claims discount and unlimited millage for the year. To me this is a no brainer for a new young driver.
As a student myself this was a massive saving for me and I would recommend this to any young person who wants to get into the world of motoring. With savings in the hundreds of pounds and saving me almost £1000 on insurance in the last two years, if you are able to get a telematics box on your car I could not recommend it more.
However, I would advise using a well known insurer.