Insurance companies have fallen under the spotlight thanks to a recent BBC programme examining the use of black boxes in cars.
An investigation by the Watchdog
programme has called into question the validity of monitoring devices in vehicles which are meant to keep track of “good” and “bad” driving with the TV show suggesting they may be recording false results.
Black boxes have been used in vehicles for around a decade to monitor driver behaviour and are particularly popular among young drivers who typically face higher premiums – the idea being that by having a black box installed safer young drivers can “prove” they are good drivers despite their lack of experience. The boxes present insurers with results, which could then lower premiums – although if drivers are monitored carrying out actions such as sudden braking/acceleration, speeding or even driving at night, then premiums can rise.
However, on the TV show, several drivers questioned their results.
One 18-year-old from Cornwall, Eva Jonas, saw her £1,332 Autosaint insurance policy cancelled because her black box recorded her driving at 119mph on a B-road during rush hour.
“It was just ridiculous,” she told the TV show. “They acted as if I was driving some kind of sports car when in fact I was driving my 2001 Skoda Fabia, which couldn’t even go to 119mph.”
Her words were verified when a professional tested the car and found it could not go past 80mph on a road of the same distance. Autosaint later apologised after another policy was bought, suggesting a GPS error was possibly behind the result – it also compensated her for the difference of the alternative premium.
However, Jonas was not alone. In another case, Abigail Sykes, 18, from Doncaster, took the box out of her car when cancelling her One Call Insurance policy but discovered it still recorded her driving for four days. Meanwhile, Shannan Hibbins, 18, reported her own issues with a More Than black box that recorded her for five days without a break – as though she did not stop driving. The insurer ultimately compensated her with £230 and replaced her box.