back to article Half of youngsters would swap PRIVACY for... cheaper insurance

More than half of UK youngsters think being tracked is a small price to pay for cheaper car insurance, and 26 per cent will be actively seeking a pay-by-the-mile policy in the hope  of saving a few quid. The numbers come from by YouGov and O2, who asked 2,000 drivers how they felt about being spied on every day - only to …


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  1. tony

    I bet they won't save a few quid, they'll just jack the prices up on the ones not willing to be tracked and call that non-increase a saving.

    1. ElectricFox

      Car insurance is such a racket in the UK now. I wonder what the overheads of private insurers in the UK are, having to advertise, pay shareholders, and subscribe to comparison sites which feature irritating opera "singers". In New Zealand, a car's road tax also gives it 3rd party insurance for anyone to drive, covered for by the government.

      Go compare....

      1. I think so I am?
        Thumb Up

        The UK has that

        Anyone who has insurance on one car can drive any other car with insurance 3rd party with the consent of the owner. Though this is now limited to over 25s.

        1. Graham 32

          Re: The UK has that

          I know a lot of insurance policies used to do that, but I thought it stopped because insurers found lots of people insuring one car car (which the insurer deemed "low risk") but spending most of their time in a different car (considered "high risk").

          Also, why is it that when buying a tax disc they need to check that the car is insured? I'm not aware of an option to say "I promise the only people driving this car will be insured on other vehicles."

          1. Goldmember

            Re: The UK has that

            "Also, why is it that when buying a tax disc they need to check that the car is insured?"

            It became a legal requirement a couple of years ago for any car that is registered as 'on the road' (i.e a SORN has not been filed) to have its own valid insurance policy in place. If your insuyrance lapses, you get an automatic fine through the post.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Insurance

              It is now required for a vehicle to have insurance that covers it specifically.

              Without this it would be much more difficult to identify uninsured vehicles being used on the road.

              There is also some rationale about public liability.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Insurance (public liability.)

                ... which would be sorted in one stroke by simply tacking third party insurance onto the annual tax disc, as they do many places round the world. The state is already underwriting the health of every Britain. Public liability risk for vehicle operators that have undergone examination (driving test) must be peanuts by comparison.

                We really are being taken for a ride by insurance companies and their pals in government.

        2. user079

          Re: The UK has that

          Not the same. It is often stipulated that you are only allowed to drive a car registered to someone else under consent and as long as it is not a regular activity. You can't just share a car with a partner because you are insured on your own, for that you must still be a named drive. Also, we have to pay road tax and then insurance.

      2. Gavin King

        New Zealand Insurance

        "In New Zealand, a car's road tax also gives it 3rd party insurance for anyone to drive, covered for by the government."

        I have to call foul on that: the road tax certainly does not give any sort of insurance to the vehicle. There is an ACC levy (for the government health insurance agency) collected with the "road tax", that does nominally go to paying for what you might call "medical insurance". This is only related to personal injuries though: it doesn't cover anything else.

        There is no mandatory third party insurance, govenrment or otherwise. This is why my vehicles always have full cover, because I can't be sure the idiot that sideswipes me has way to repay me for the damage he (or she --- they let women drive here, don't-cha-know) might cause.

        1. ElectricFox

          Re: New Zealand Insurance

          Hi Gavin,

          You're right. I had a drunken conversation about it a couple of weeks ago with some friends that had spent a few years out there, and they put me right after talking to them about it last night. When you mention "medical insurance", injury claims (both genuine and bogus) make up the lion's share of the cost of insurance in the uk. In NZ, you're only liable for damage to property should you choose to drive uninsured. However, because car insurance is not mandatory, my friends said that buying private insurance was really cheap compared to the UK.

          There's no dunce's hat icon here, so I guess face palming at my own original post is the closest I can get!


          1. Gavin King

            Re: New Zealand Insurance

            No problem. Drunken conversations tend to have a distorting effect on what is said, for some reason.

            The only reason that I said anything was that I've a friend who is currently travelling across the USA by car. The thought that somebody could (or even has to) sue you for the costs of an injury was a little bit alien to me before we had quite a discussion about it.

            A bit like an elephant; you know that they are big, but until sitting on one you don't realise just how big.

  2. Goldmember


    Doing this would save more than 'a few quid'. If it was going to save a hundred or so a year, people wouldn't be too arsed. But as policies can cost a few of thousand now for young drivers - even if they drive a 15 year old piece of shit Corsa or Saxo or something - a percentage saving of 50% could mean savings of over £1000 per year on insurance. I'm glad I passed my test over a decade ago and wouldn't save much being tracked. But if I was faced with these kinds of figures when I first passed my test at 17, I would have jumped at the chance.

    Adding to this the proposals for banning (or charging more for) after dark driving for young drivers, I certainly welcome this proposal with open arms. By far the biggest danger on the roads are young dickhead drivers who like to drive around with their mates in the evening, who think it's hilarious to double speed limits, cut people up and swerve in and out of lanes. If anything, more could be done. I believe in certain US states (and possibly Australia?), you aren't allowed to carry any passengers at all when you first get your licence.

    1. jungle_jim

      Re: Understandable

      Power to weight restriction like they have on bikes would be good.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Understandable

        >Power to weight restriction like they have on bikes would be good.

        Possibly. However, some nasty crashes might be caused by drivers of unrestricted cars trying to overtake them. A moped can be overtaken relatively safely, a Nissan Micra less so.

        1. Timmay

          Re: Understandable

          >Power to weight restriction like they have on bikes would be good.

          Well, some people are just going to want to go fast and overtake everything no matter what - overtaking is a damn sight easier and safer in something with decent power than your typical teen's 1.0 Vauxhall Corsa, weighed down with fake body kit and undercar lighting.

          1. jungle_jim

            Re: Understandable

            With less power you will have to think about every action you take more carefully. With a bit more power you can get away with making a few more errors, and being able to get away with more leads to more carelessness from what I have seen

            1. Gene Cash Silver badge

              Re: Understandable

              "you will have to think"

              That's seemingly impossible for anyone *I've* seen on the road recently. Between their texting, turning around to yell at Little Johnny, or dicking with their sat-nav, they've been doing anything but thinking about their driving.

          2. Steve 13

            Re: Understandable

            Because that's what a typical teen drives of course. They don't drive the diesel focus which their mum owns... Or when they are actually buying a car they don't drive a 1.2 fiesta which is all they can afford.

        2. jungle_jim

          Re: Understandable

          >Possibly. However, some nasty crashes might be caused by drivers of unrestricted cars trying to overtake them. A moped can be overtaken relatively safely, a Nissan Micra less so.

          Im not sure about that. When overtaking a moped you should be giving it the same space as a car anyway.

          Restricted power to weight should still manage national speed limits, it just takes longer to get there.

      2. JP19

        Re: Understandable

        "Power to weight restriction"

        Sure because we know how well that worked wiv youfs and gutless 50cc mopeds. The most important consideration being never to slow down because it takes so long to speed up again.

        On the other hand sticking a metal spike instead of air bag in the middle of the steering wheel would be good - I'll have one if everyone else gets one too.

        1. Steve 13

          Re: Understandable

          I wonder how approving you'll be after some idiot turns across you and you're impaled on your spike. Or do you think your own good driving makes it impossible for someone else to cause an accident that you're involved in?

          1. Steve 13

            Re: Understandable

            3 thumbs down for thinking that the old "spike in the steering wheel" is a really stupid analogy (maybe not an analogy, but it's clearly not a realistic idea either).

            Anyway it presupposes that any accident you are involved in is your own fault, but clearly that isn't always the case.

            Do the thumb downers really want to die because someone else caused an accident? I don't.

            1. JP19

              Re: Understandable

              "Do the thumb downers really want to die because someone else caused an accident?"

              No they want to live because someone else didn't cause and accident.

              Not having an accident doesn't hurt at all and is really inexpensive.

      3. Steve 13

        Re: Understandable

        Is there any evidence to support this, or is it just speculation?

        Most young drivers don't have access to powerful cars, but you don't need power to crash a car, just bad driving.

    2. Steve I

      Re: Understandable

      "even if they drive a 15 year old piece of shit Corsa or Saxo or something"


      even if they drive a shit Corsa or Saxo or something

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Understandable

      Until you're 25, car insurance is prohibitively expensive, and yet at the same time completely necessary. When you're a young adult, the one thing you don't have much of is money, and so any way you can get or save money, any money, is a huge draw. 20% of £2000 is £400, a significant sum.

      Being tracked is of secondary importance compared to saving some money.

      When you're older, car insurance is not so expensive anymore. Plus, there's a good chance you will be earning more money too. At this point, saving 20% of your insurance might net you £60, not inconsiderable, but not going to change your year.

      I'd prefer a simpler system for younger drivers. It seems unfair that many of them are penalized, or potentially spied on, simply because a minority of this class of driver cost insurance companies the most. Insurance should cost more for them, but it should be rebated or rolled-over each year to the same as an over-25 if they have no claims.

      Eg, £2k for fully comp for a year for a 19 yr old, same car/town might be £400 for a 30 yr old. After a year of no claims, the 19 yr old's renewal is only £400, or £2k if they made a claim. This may be unmanageable, doing the sums may make the 19 yr old's 1st year costs too high, since subsequent ones are not as high..

      1. Ian Thomas

        Re: Understandable

        Nice idea, but you need the safe 19yos to subsidise the dangerous ones.

        For example, 1000 teenagers insure their cars for a total revenue of £2m. 10% of those make a claim with an average cost of £20k, meaning the insurer breaks even.

        If they only charged the accident-free drivers £400 then the total revenue would be £560k and the insurer would be making a huge loss. To break even, they would need to charge the dangerous drivers £16,400. Basically if you had an accident you wouldn't be able to drive again until you were 25 unless you had loads of money.

        Even with the current system this is a problem. I know a female driver under 25 who had a slow speed collision with a push chair. The police put the blame firmly with the mother (checking that the road was clear for herself and forgetting that she had a push chair sticking out in front of her), but the mother is seeking compensation for the child's injuries. As such my friend is not currently driving, and has had to turn down jobs because they required you to operate your own car.

    4. tmagic

      Re: Understandable

      Absolutely - This has nothing to do with privacy, and everything to do with young/first time drivers currently being priced off the road.

    5. JeeBee

      Re: Understandable

      I find the worst drivers on the road are middle aged men in Audis or BMWs, followed by old people tootling along in their pristine grannymobile at half the speed limit in otherwise good driving conditions.

      But if you're being quoted thousands for insurance, and a device like this would cut the cost in half, any sane person would jump at it, unless they had enough money that it didn't matter to them one way or the other (and the number of people who can afford to give up thousands of pounds every year are very few and far between).

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Understandable

        indeed. Grandad who may as well have been driving 40 years but only covers an average of 2000 miles per year has done less miles in his life than I covered in one year of driving. so 5 years as a delivery driver driving 100k per year *accident free* still costs me more in insurance.

        Go figure.

    6. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Understandable

      I had a look, it is actually cheaper for a 17 year old to buy a brand new car and insure it than to buy a 15 year old banger and insure it; and that is before you consider the savings on maintenance, and the fact the car will still have a greater than nominal value in a few years time.

      1. Ogi

        Re: Understandable

        Heh, and it is actually cheaper to insure a 30 year old car for a 18 year old, than any other car (due to qualifying for classic car insurance).

        This is how I managed to insure my first car after getting my licence. It was the only car I could afford insurance on, and it was so cheap, that years later, I still drive the car to this day (I've pretty much gone off buying non classic cars, everything is more expensive on new cars, including maintenance, repairs, and taxes).

        It's also a lot more fun to drive than modern cars, and entails a certain respect for driving. You feel everything through the car, and not having any computers to help you (or airbags) really instills prudence and thinking carefully before you do anything rash.

        Personally, I think driving the car made me a better driver, and think everyone should do it at some point in order to grasp the fundemantals of driving, but that is just my opinion really.

        Oh, and since I bought it, it has more than doubled in value, which is a nice change from the usual depreciation you get when you buy a car :)

  3. Gordon Pryra

    "privacy is only a problem for the last generation"

    Maybe asking a bunch of kids a question like this is probably a waste of time?

    Maybe the question being asked was so biased that the results are probably a waste of time?

    A combination of the 2 above?

    I don't think I was actually capable of thinking about a serious concept like this till I was at least 30, how many kids of 20 do you know that have any clue about privacy and what companies/private organisations actually hold on them?

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: "privacy is only a problem for the last generation"

      ...Maybe the question being asked was so biased that the results are probably a waste of time?...

      Almost certainly. You don't spend money on a survey unless you know that you are going to get the right answer...

      ..More than half of UK youngsters think being tracked is a small price to pay for cheaper car insurance, and 26 per cent will be actively seeking a pay-by-the-mile policy in the hope of saving a few quid....

      Not exactly. At the price that youngsters insurance currently is, coupled with the fact that they have restricted money, we are talking about being able to afford insurance, or not. In other words, being able to drive, or not.

      That's why lots of them are in favour of it....

  4. jungle_jim


    I don't need this, like 95% of other drivers I am a better than average driver!

    1. Ian Thomas

      Re: Pah!

      You joke, but you (and 95% of other drivers) probably are, at least in terms of financial cost to insurance companies.

      Some of the worst drivers will cause huge claims against them, so a large percentage of drivers will have lower claims than the average (i.e. mean). It might not be quite 95%, but I doubt it will be much less.

  5. auburnman


    Young people make short-term decisions without regard for hard to see long-term consequences!

  6. Neil B

    I think a lot of the the current generation of IT nerds is simply going to have to accept the fact that a generation is growing up for whom no toss will be given about what some faceless corp does with their data, and on some level I can agree with that view.

    But somewhere in between thinking that it matters whether Google knows about the lolcatz sites you visit, and your every move being physically tracked by your insurance provider, is a middle ground which we should all actually be worried about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Neil B

      I totally agree.

      These are the native connected* generation, who will have never socialised or developed relationships outside of Zuckerberg's domain. They're used to putting gynaecological amounts of data regarding themselves into public arenas. I would go further and say that not only do they not give a toss, they don't even possess the reasoning mechanisms to internally debate *whether* they should give a toss. A man born in a brewery probably doesn't count his weekly units.

      It just doesn't occur to them to question things they see and experience, and I think we've lost an element of critical thinking there.

      * - I don't actually like terms like 'connected generation' or 'social generation' - for the reason that today's teens are no better 'connected' or 'social' than people of my generation. In point of fact, I wouldn't swap my pre-Facebook/Twitter/MySpace teen years for anything - I feel sorry for today's yoof that are plugged into an endless stream of white noise and bollocks.

  7. Lamont Cranston

    "privacy is only a problem for the last generation"

    Or perhaps it's just the fact that car insurance for those in the 18-24 bracket is so ludicrously expensive, that they'd agree to anything that might bring it down a bit?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "privacy is only a problem for the last generation"

      Quite. If you don't have car in some rural areas, everyone already knows exactly where you without having to track you: stuck at home.

    2. paulll

      Re: "privacy is only a problem for the last generation"

      Exactly.... I'll bet if the survey asked them, "Would you take a massive kick right in the spuds for cheaper insurance," more than 50% would say yes. Doesn't mean that being surveilled is any less noxious than a Doc Marten to the ghoulies.

  8. Mr Spock

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary cheap Car Insurance, deserve the GoCompare guy singing into their Face for all Eternity". -- Benjamin Franklin

  9. Thomas Whipp

    It does genuinely save money

    Having worked for a motor insurer in the past and still being slightly in touch with these things, the claims rate for telematic equiped drivers is *much* better than an equivalent book without (i.e. using all of the age, conviction, postcode, car data thats typically used to rate).

    the conclusion of the underwriters seems to be that telematics makes people drive more sensibly (go figure) . The other thing telematics boxes often do (as opposed to the phone based software options) is include a couple of highly calibrated accelerometers (sp?) so that in the event of a colision the insurer can reconstruct the impact, this then leads to much better allocation of fault and the ability to better dispute certain personal injury claims.

    Insurance is a scarily competative industry and for large parts of the time the under writing elements of insurers will lose money, so yes this should drive down costs as it should result in safer driving and less spurious claims.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: It does genuinely save money

      While you may well be right that being monitored tends to reduce instances of dick-headedness, the real problem here is mission creep.

      If all the boxes did was gather stats about speed, cornering, use during light/darkness in some way that the owner could see and only be uploaded once per month or similar without the ability to track exact positions, then fair enough - it is roughly a sensibility monitor.

      Maybe actual detail could be kept for a limited time as a black-box style for post-crash investigation, but such detail, like the aircraft block box, should be subject to proper privacy protection and only used when a disputed or fatal crash is involved.

      But far more worrying is the real-time and every detail aspect that is BOUND to be sold or or mined for other reasons. If such a system is indeed going to save money/lives, then the system needs to be openly designed and thoroughly reviewed so what it can and cannot do is known and not subject to mission creep.

      1. Thomas Whipp

        Re: It does genuinely save money

        I'm not arguing against that at all - yes there are serious privacy concerns. I was actually responding to a point further up the list that said that it wouldnt drive down costs which it will.

        The fact is that there is a lot more survielance than the average person realises - for example number plate recognition is *very* widely deployed and for some police forces can be queried in near real time (for certain emergency situations).

        There are also already provisions within existing law that gives anything deemed to be relating to crime prevention or national security a much wider remit with regards to data collection/retention.

    2. Tom 35

      Re: It does genuinely save money

      The normal statistics crap.

      When it's optional you will get volunteers who know they will save money.

      People who don't drive much. Haven't even had a close call in 20 years.

      It's just cherry picking.

      If everyone has to do it, you will have the same lot you have now.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Big Brother

    And what is being done with this data? And where is it going? How long is it being stored for, and who has access to it?

    I suspect the answer to this question is: the "security" services and anyone we can get away with selling it to.

    Of course, as soon as a tipping point is reached for how many people have the discount, it will cease to be a discount. So insurance prices will go right back where they were and they'll refuse to insure you unless all your movements are tracked by MI5.

    It's another step down the road of government tracking everything everyone does everywhere. Rather than encouraging it, we should be lobbying to outlaw the use of these boxes altogether.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I provide IT support to a couple of very big insurers so I am privy to further information on the claim habits. It is a constant surprise of the detected fraud that goes on. I can only imagine the cost of undetected fraud. Devices like this can potentially save millions on insurance fraud, which in turn can save us hundreds on individual policy premiums. If more people had these then the roads would be safer, the cost of motoring would be cheaper.

    I currently have a black box in my car, although this is one that I bought off ebay as well as a dash cam and vehicle tracker. The total cost of all the equipment was about £150 and the total that was knocked off my premium this year was £120.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      As long as *you* own the hardware, and you can switch it off whenever you want to, that is fine. It is the creeping compulsion that is frightening.

  12. Scott Broukell

    Slightly OT

    Remove all street signage, speeds signs and marker lines etc. Replace plastic dashboards with metal ones - with sharp edges. Replace plastic steering bosses with pointy metal ones. Remove all seat belts. Then - we might all drive with a little more care and consideration - for ourselves, our passengers and other road users.

    Oh!, before I forget, include riding a bicycle for some 20-hours or more in a busy town / city center in the driver training, and include driving a car in same situation for those that wish to ride bicycles.

    I believe the Dutch have experimented with 'shared' urban road space, were everybody, including folk who wish to cross the road (sorry, shared-space) needs to slow down and look out for each other more. I understand it has a calming effect on all forms of traffic. It's not the answer for every situation but its a brave start at re-thinking how we all use urban thoroughfares.

    1. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

      Re: Slightly OT

      "Dutch have experimented with 'shared' urban road space"

      Yes I've been "subjected" to that 'shared space' in Amsterdam and suburbs as a pedestrian. Not recommended - at all. fine for slowing car drivers but I witnessed horrifying intimidation of pedestrians by angrey; yelling; bell/horn ringing cyclists weaving at speed amongst pedestrians. Cyclists seemed to believe all the space was theirs; as cycles are silent, pedestrians would (out of fear) stop dead and turn to check behind before changing direction - which meant of course all sorts cannoned into them.

      Before anyone dismisses being hit by a cyclist - I work in the Hosp sector NHS (critical care). had one fit 65yr old man hit by a cyclist from behind whilst walking his dog. Hit face on the ground- > compromised airway+facial fractures leading to ITU admission and nearly 6 months in hospital. being hit by a cyclist is no joke

      1. M Gale

        Re: Slightly OT

        Getting hit by an idiot on a bike can be painful, even fatal.

        However, it's not exactly a stress-free situation on the idiot either. Bicycles don't have a roll cage, ABS or airbags fitted as standard, and concrete is rather hard.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Slightly OT

        Dutch cyclists in towns - horrifyingly arrogant, careless people with an entitlement fixation. The number I've seen with no hands on the handlebars (therefore nowhere near the brakes or the bell), reading/texting/calling/photographing ... and getting angry when a pedestrian or other cyclist dares to get in the way! They alone make the Netherlands an unpleasant place to be.

  13. Tweetiepooh

    then add engine management control

    I believe Ford are introducing the ability to have each key coded so the car behaves differently so junior's key will prevent the stereo being very loud, prevent high acceleration/speed and so forth. This would stop some of the bad behaviour so having the data to show it has occurred becomes more moot and prevention is better than cure.

    I agree that use needs to be sensible to keep all safe but why not use such control.

    1. YouStupidBoy

      Re: then add engine management control

      Control/limit speed - yes, to some extent. However, 50 in a 30 is far more dangerous than 80 on a motorway, assuming all other things are equal. If the system doesn't tie into GPS with a (frequently updated) map of speed limits, then it's not that much good.

      Restrictions on acceleration is a bad idea IMO. There are times when you need to get moving sharpish, especially as an inexperienced driver - the last thing you need is a black box with no situational awareness artificially limiting the power available. Just have these events logged and (optionally) a notification sent to parents if the events exceed a predetermined level in a given period of time. If an accident occurs within a few seconds of one of these events and the driver is determined to be at fault, then throw the book, bookcase and possibly the wall at them.

    2. Al Jones

      Re: then add engine management control

      You'll get to save 200 quid on your insurance, but you'll pay 300 quid to replace a lost key!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many will drive with them unplugged?

    Can these devices detect when you take them out ? Do they log the mileage so they can tell?

    It might be a cause of accepting them for cheaper insurance then pulling over and taking them out for a quick speed race.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: How many will drive with them unplugged?

      pin through the antenna to ground? That should drop the transmission range...

  15. Greg D

    UK car insurance is fucked

    If you make something law (i.e. comulsory car insurance), you MUST regulate the insurers. The reason it's so expensive for younger drivers is the insurers feel no remorse in ripping everyone off. They have no reason or incentive not to.

    Insurance is a con.

    Car insurance in the UK is the biggest swindle since the word swindle was coined.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK car insurance is fucked

      Agree 100%.

      There should be no compulsory insurance. Insure yourself against third party claims if you wish, and if you want to insure yourself against being hit by someone else that should also be up to you. Insurance would suddenly get much cheaper.

      Not that this will happen of course - after all, the current system is to everyone's benefit (that is, everyone except Joe Public, who pays for the whole scam).

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: UK car insurance is fucked

        Oh very sensible, make 3rd Party Insurance optional - that's the insurance that covers the damage and injury you cause to other people. So if it's optional and boy racer ploughs into bus queue, crippling a dozen people, then when they try to claim compensation he just laughs and says 'Tough, I'm skint"

        Compulsory 3rd party is essential - and the reason insurance for young people is so expensive is because a substantial proportion of them are crap drivers - and the costs to the insurers come, not from the repairs to their 10 year old Polo, but from the bus queue or BMW they've just totalled. Insurance is all about shared risk based on probability.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UK car insurance is fucked

          "Compulsory 3rd party is essential"

          It does not cover anyone against uninsured drivers, or hit and run drivers, or cyclists/pedestrians/deer/badgers causing drivers to swerve and crash, falling trees, lightning strikes, etc, etc...

          What we have at the moment is great for insurance company shareholders, lawyers, ambulance chasers, car repair shops ("insurance job is it?"), but is a rip-off for people forced to pay for compulsory insurance. Remove the captive market compulsion and watch the prices fall.

          If you want to mitigate against risk, including the risk of being sued by a third party, you should insure yourself - don't ask other people to pay insurance premiums for your benefit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UK car insurance is fucked

          "So if it's optional and boy racer ploughs into bus queue, crippling a dozen people, then when they try to claim compensation he just laughs and says 'Tough, I'm skint'

          Compulsory 3rd party is essential[....]"

          I totally agree. The only way it can be optional is:

          chav: "Tough, I'm skint"

          Judge: "Oh, but that's where you are wrong, my friend. A lung, a kidney, part of a liver (don't worry, it'll grow back, usually) all fetch a high market. Skin - do you know how valuable skin is? and we can keep harvesting it. And then there is the forced labor - I hear the Japanese would like some help with a little mess that needs cleaning up, fuku-something."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: UK car insurance is fucked

            ...he laughs and says "I'm uninsured", or laughs and runs...

            How did that compulsory insurance work out for the bus queue?

            Didn't work, did it?

  16. Joe Harrison

    Telematic insurance is more expensive

    I recently spent a huge amount of time looking for insurance for my teen son and his first car. Insane amounts of money were quoted but the cheapest was not actually the telematic. The whole thing is a very expensive mystery for example the company I eventually went with offered me fully comp more cheaply than third party fire and theft.

    The premium for the rejected telematic quote was £100 per hour extra for driving after 11:00PM. I can see why they would want to try and deter night-time young driving but don't forget a young person is likely to be a student and thus to have a part-time evening job and so it is with my son he clocks off at 11 and obviously needs to get home from work.

  17. Steve I
    Black Helicopters

    What was the question?

    It'd be interesting to see which one of these the question actually asked was:

    1. Do you mind being tracked

    2. Would you agree to be tracked for a small insurance premium saving

    3. Would you agree to be tracked for a large insurance premium saving

    4. Would you agree to be tracked if it meant you could get car insurance?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the end...

    Your privacy is all you really have.

    Protect it, savagely.

    1. Churro Joe

      Re: In the end...

      Don't drive a car then, because 'they' know where you're going if you have a licence plate.

  19. Andrew Davenport

    License to steal?

    I personally think Car Insurance especially is a legal license to steal money from motorists, its essentially a ransom. I am 35 and for the first time ever my car insurance has gone down significantly enough to make me feel like i am not being ripped off, this is despite more than 9 years no claims.

    Every year premiums go up and up with no rational explanation and every motorist is hit with rising costs.

    I accept the younger generation are going to take more risks and i agree that the size of the engine in their car should be limited to a sensible size to ensure they dont have the power or the speed and acceleration to be completely stupid!

    Its about time the insurance companies were investigated and examined to see how they justify the colossal premiums that everyone is charged and also why these days 3PF&T is more expensive than Comprehensive insurance.

    Whilst i dont want to brand all young people the same as there are some very sensible drivers out there i feel they need to be handled more practically than to keep pushing premiums up!

    1. Churro Joe

      Re: License to steal?

      Yeah, and god help you and your wallet if you ever have to claim on the insurance you pay through the nose for.

      1. Churro Joe

        Re: License to steal?

        Case in point - it's actually often cheaper to get comprehensive insurance than it is for Third Party - the reason being that anybody who gets third party insurance is more of a crash risk, and people who claim for damage to their own car will in most cases pay far more to the insurers than they ever claim.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data driven

    When you have one of these telematic policies, does it give you a big pile of T&C's about your driving parameters that you are covered for? I've never seen an actual policy...

    You can bet that the data it gathers isn't just being used out of curiosity, its almost certainly going to end up being used to hike your insurance premiums once they have an idea of "true risk", which lets face it we all drove like muppets when we were younger, most of us managed to avoid accidents but these devices won't look at it like that...

    How much muppetry can you get away with before they either increase your premium (quite possibly there and then) or cancel your insurance.... remembering of course that a previously cancelled insurance policy is seen by the industry as about as bad a risk indicator as you can get....

    1. Joe Harrison

      Re: Data driven

      They vary but I talked to the callcentre lady for one of the companies and she said she had it in her own car and loved it. You pay a premium in the normal way but they give you a web account to which you login every week and see how many discounts you got for keeping your cornering, braking, acceleration and speed within the parameters they like. She said it had made her more conscious of her driving which yes I suppose it would really if you knew that scorching away from the lights actually cost you money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Data driven

        So the "low premium" assumes that you fully comply with their rules (of course defining those rules will be neigh on impossible unless there is a feedback system in the car - maybe a dalek telling you "Driver Alert cornerning violation ten poundzzzzzzzzzzz") and beyond that they debit your card weekly for the violations?

        Sounds like a potential minefield of expense.

        I wonder how many kids have had their car keys taken away when Mum & Dad review the bill they have run up...

        Money maker for the insurance company though - all that risk data gathered and charged for despite no actual damage being caused.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think there's a generational gap forming.

    The 'yoof of today' have grown up in a world flooded with opportunities, whilst being surrounded by technology enabling them to take advantage of those opportunities. To them technologies like targeted advertising, and location tracking are just parts of enabling them to see the opportunities and present the ones they'll have the most interest in. To them targeted ads, tracking are normal/good things.

    The odd thing is, that most of the technology making this possible has/is being developed by the previous generations who mainly seem to have a problem with the very idea that the technology could track/target them.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Wrong on every assumption.

  22. Crisp

    How does being tracked translate to cheaper car insurance?

    It doesn't seem logical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How does being tracked translate to cheaper car insurance?

      Because it allows the insurer to be much more proactive in monitoring a policy. The tracker contains accelerometers which measure cornering and braking, as well as speed and location. From this, a profile can be built up of the driver. If you start seeing loads of sudden brakings, or speeding, or cornering, then you can weight the policy accordingly

      Most telematics policies (like the one my employer offers) are issued on the basis that the named driver agrees that if their driving exceeds certain criteria, the insurer can up the premium, (or cancel the policy) which is paid monthly. They can receive feedback by SMS or email, or log into a control panel.

      It also allows the insurer to confirm the car is not being used a high-risk times.

      Hypothecation is the name of the game - the more fine-grained insurers can assess risk, the more the riskier drivers will have to pay for insurance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How does being tracked translate to cheaper car insurance?

        "The tracker contains accelerometers which measure cornering and braking"

        Cornering at 30 = BAD

        I've been driving for decades and corner at 30! No accidents/claims!

        Its all bullshite.

        And the ad on the telly "Dont be stereotyped, get little box!" Err, hello stereotyped!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How does being tracked translate to cheaper car insurance?

          The poster you replied to didn't mention any particular speed.

          And (with credit to Jasper Carrot) you may not have had any accidents, but I bet you've seen loads.

      2. Crisp

        Re: driving exceeding certain criteria

        Won't this foster a behaviour to game the system rather than drive safely? If braking harshly is going to up my insurance premiums, I may chose another evasive maneuver that may not be as effective.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "cheaper car insurance" - it won't be. It will be MORE EXPENSIVE if you don't sign up, of course. And, at some point, it will become impossible to opt out, due to some "safety precautions" or "the system won't allow me to proceed sir, if you don't provide those details to me" - and ALL insurance will be expensive anyway. Sadly, such research gives a f... big green light to those (...) dazzled by "BIG DATA" - yes, let's go get them, the sheep don't mind!! :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: fools

      Some of our business is in tracking and surveillance for vehicle insurance. It's creepy.

      Anon, obviously.

  24. Nanners

    Got them...

    Now we have them right where we want them...hahahaha! As the majority of bad driving decisions and accidents are caused by younger and more inexperienced drivers, we get thier souls AND get to hit them with inflated charges...heheheheeeee.

  25. Simon Rockman

    It rules out old cars

    While the Trafficmaster system (which has 100k+ cars on O2 2G) is a standalone box I suspect the Co-Op system plugs into OBDII on the car which is why Co-op won't take cars older than 2001 when the standard was made mandatory.

    This means you can't go for anything low powered and interesting, like say a 2CV or Suzuki Cappuccino.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It rules out old cars

      They don't have to plug into the OBDII port - some of the boxes use telemetry from GPS module with accelerometer. A bit like a sat nav, but without screen. Some even have 2g\3g sim cards so that data can be polled without the need to remove the device.

      It depends which system the insurance company has bought.

    2. VooDooTooDo

      Re: It rules out old cars

      Really? If that is the case then why does the Co-Op insure my wife's 1998 Land Rover Freelander (which we bought and started brand new policy last summer)?

  26. Clockworkseer

    Lets not pretend that cost is limited to young drivers

    As a newly-qualified driver at 35, you'd be amazed how little difference age makes. I get quotes of 2000+ for 15 year old cars a lot. One of these boxes in my car (especially if you throw in some mileage/time restrictions) would probably so severely limit my use of the car that it wouldn't save me any money by the time I was done (having to get up at odd times for work, and usually needing more than their allowable mileage a year, amongst other things.)

    It's irritating, to be fair. I understand my lack of experience makes me a bigger risk than average for my age, but I'm long past the boy-racer 85mph everywhere careless yoof stage.

  27. GrumpyOldMan

    I really don't understand why my desire for privacy is a problem. It's my life - you only get one chance at it, and I don't want faceless databases tracking my every move. I wonder how the human race got this far without it if it's so important. Only a small percentage of demographic data is used for genuine planning and capacity management for roads and infrastructure, 95%+ is flogged to the highest bidding advertiser. The up-side of tracking kids in cars is that judging by what I see every day on the A1 (UK) every day it'll improve driving standards dramatically, but then I also think BMW and Audi A6 drivers and white-van man drivers also need tracking cos they're FAR worse!!!

  28. thatBilly

    UK car insurance is a racket

    Insurers go on about personal injury claims causing price increases, yet they always sell your details to the injury lawyers after every incident.

    Someone bumped the back of my 4x4 a while back, hit the spare tyre and caused no damage to my car but damaged her Fiesta quite significantly. I called my insurers to say she admitted fault, I have no damage claim and there were no injuries (I hardly even felt the impact). The insurers were absolutely adamant that I give them my mobile number in case they need to contact me about the incident, I repeatedly refused and told them I'm certain that there won't be any comeback but if there was I'd prefer it in writing anyway. Over the following week I was working from home and I received 5 calls from 3 different personal injury companies!

    Another aspect of the insurance swindle is car parts. Most "genuine" parts are at least double the price of 3rd party alternatives, with many alternatives even having a higher spec. Insurance repairs are almost always done with "genuine" parts, along with exorbitant labour costs that would be considered uncompetitive if the consumer was footing the bill. Where there's an option, virtually nobody uses original manufacturer's parts except insurers and that is nothing more than a racket.

    The telematic boxes are just another scam by the insurers, Just like the gender neutral pricing that "took effect" on 21 December 2012. The noises from the insurance companies were suggesting that female driver's insurance would increase by up to 25% and males should decrease substantially. My Mum's insurance price didn't change at all in January. My renewal price increased slightly in February as usual, so I switched, as usual!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: UK car insurance is a racket

      EVERYTHING about cars is a racket.

  29. Andy 70


    I'm looking forward to the tracking collars, and having my life insurance based on where i go.

    i get an electric shock if i go into an unsafe zone or something, as a warning that my premiums will go up if i remain in that area.

    my commute will be filled with little zaps as my train goes through various pockets of shit to get to london.

    can't wait. zaps auto uploaded to facebork as a warning to others.

    oh wait. foursquare! what am i thinking. just need that uploading to an underwriters... i just had an idea for a business proposal... back in a bit.

  30. ecofeco Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    It's over

    When half of your younger generation thinks Big Brother is ok, yer screwed.

    Leave while you can.

  31. chris 143

    Anyone who still believes that insurance drops at 25 is hopelessly deluded

    I'm 26 and my insurance is still best part of a grand (5+ years no claims, never had an accident etc)

    I didn't bother with the tracking for a simple reason, most of the driving I do is the stuff they'd describe as being high risk (late night, long distance etc)

    1. Brenda McViking

      Re: Anyone who still believes that insurance drops at 25 is hopelessly deluded

      My insurance premium aged 22 with 0NCB was 800 quid. The reason? actuarial spreadsheets can prefer you if you go against the norm. I bought a powerful 200HP RWD sports car rather than a fiesta. It's decreased every year since. Telemetrics would have given me 50 quid off. A tracker put 250 quid extra on - Thinking logically about things doesn't work with insurers, mostly because human beings do lots of illogical things.

      I'd rather the government changed the law to insure the car, rather than the driver. Tie it in with tax, reduce complexity, watch the uninsured driver rate fall off a cliff. Fairer for all breeds of motorists without penalising young people too heavily - they need more training and experience, not higher premiums, it's hard enough to get a job as it is, much less so if you need a car and submit to being extorted before you can even apply...

      1. Ogi

        Re: Anyone who still believes that insurance drops at 25 is hopelessly deluded

        It is very odd, like Brenda said (and I mentioned before in this thread), if you try something crazy, you can end up with lower premiums.

        I too managed to insure a ~200HP RWD sports car as soon as I got my licence. It was £350 a year, which for a male in the 18-24 bracket who just got his licence, was amazing. I repeated to the insurance company 3 times to make sure they understood my age and the fact I just got my licence. They said it was all ok.

        The car proved so cheap to run that I still have it, the higher fuel consumption is offset by the lower cost of insurance, tax and everything else really.

        Only catch is that I don't earn a "no-claims bonus" , but the insurance is so much cheaper that I don't care, and I don't have to worry about losing it if something happens.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Anyone who still believes that insurance drops at 25 is hopelessly deluded

          My 18 year-old nephew had the same thing. Insurance for 6-7 yo small shopping trolley with barely enough power to climb over a speed-bump - well over £1300. Insurance for a 1 yo 1.6 Japanese car with a reputation for being quick and handling well - £650. Which did he go for - well, after borrowing a few thousand from various relatives, he had the newer, more powerful one. (He drives it like an old man, though - he has more risk of having a claim from being shunted by a rheumatic tortoise than from hitting something himself. He even takes the bus to work because it might get scratched in the carpark! He is a grave disappointment to me ;-))

  32. ted frater

    Depends what you drive

    Classic cars and trucks are cheap to insure,

    my 5.5ton circa 1959 truck plus 1 ton caravan@ 30 ft long costs £95.00 pa. albeit a special vehicles classification.(that used to be showman HGV) standard car tax rate

    The Zetor 1971 classic tractor for road and farm use costs £35.00 pa. no tax!!

    The Suzuki 5 door 1600 petrol fully comp is £250 pa, for daily use.

    The PITA is the every 3 yrs full medical for the HGV licence.@ £150.00 my GP charges.

    To make you laugh, Had an arrythmia show up only at night. I argued with the DVLA, medical dept.

    " I dont drive my HGV at night when im asleep" They approved my HGV licence!!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    Restrict new drivers to a moped license for a year before they can start driving cars (like what we had to do at 16). That will knock some road sense into them. :-)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Normalise it, and they will come"

    Updated for the data pimping age.

  35. peterrat

    I can still remember what things were like 50+ years ago.

    I see all the arguments regarding the pros and cons of this tracking, but 'cos it CAN be done

    will probably be done. Next step (100yrs off) is a tattoo of microdots (at birth 'cos of the "what about the children") activated by RF, with all sorts of 2way data

  36. Steven Burn

    Oh the joys

    As already mentioned, youngsters for the most part, don't care about privacy, so the answer to this was already known before it started. Because of this, as ecofeco mentioned, we're screwed.

    31 here, 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 Ltd, previously only a named driver on my brothers car, so 0 no claims when I finally got this, and costs me £1200 p/y for the insurance and around £180-200 per year for the tax (and she drinks petrol like it's going out of fashion (managed to keep it around 17mpg, Jeep docs quote 14mpg, so quite happy, as I love her to bits, despite her costing a bleedin' fortune*).

    * Paid £900 for her, and she's cost easily 4 times that, in repairs since I got her last July (only problem she seems to have now, is a warning sporadically popping up saying the coolant sensor is bad, but I'm told I can ignore that as long as I regularly check the coolant level (already do anyway, as she goes through around a litre of the stuff a week anyway)).

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