Priviledge Car Insurance.


New Technology and Motor Insurance...
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Introduction.
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One more area where new technology is going to make an impact is in the types of Motor Insurance Policies which will be on offer.  Some companies are experimenting with new equipment [i.e. In-car computers, satellite trackers, etc.] which will allow them to monitor their customers much more closely: [initially, they are targeting young inexperienced drivers.]  Currently, they may know what you drive... but this will tell them were you go... when you go...  and what you drive like along the way.
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Governments are also looking at this kind of technology with a view to introducing Road Pricing... in particular, they could charge up to 1.34 per mile to travel on busy Motorways like the M25 during peak hours.  At the very same time Insurance Companies are saying that the chances of having an accident are... mile-for-mile... 7X more likely on rural roads than on Motorways... and they may charge drivers higher rates for using them... so, one way or another... they are going to get you.
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New kinds of Policies...
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UK Insurer "More Than" is using satellite technology to monitor when a car is driven, allowing the company to cut premiums for young drivers by 40%... provided they leave the car at home at night.  The company's "Drive Time" policy uses a palm-sized box fitted under the dashboard to monitor when and where the vehicle is used.  It sends a signal when the engine is turned on and again when it stops... logging each journey.  If the car is driven between 11pm and 6am, an extra 25 a night is charged.
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As an example... young male drive, 21 years old... let's call him John... buys an 11-year-old car for 500... but then gets charge about 1300 a year just for basic third-party, fire and theft.  But if John agreed to a 'curfew' plan he could cut his insurance bill by about 500 per year.
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An Insurance spokesman stated that... accident statistics highlight the dangers of night-time driving for young people.  Four out of ten accidents at night with younger drivers involve a death or injury... compared with two out of ten accidents during the day.  Young male drivers in their first year on the road are seven times more likely to have an accident for every mile they drive at night compared with daytime miles.
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"More Than" says... "The 25 a night charge is steep, but the point is to make younger drivers think twice about driving at night... if we don't collect a penny in extra premiums, is shows the plan is working and that our drivers are keeping off the roads during these dangerous hours.  This should reduce accidents, injuries and claims".
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Norwich Union has been testing pay-as-you-driver cover for young motorist since early 2005.  It has recruited 1,500 drivers aged between 18 and 24 and have installed a black box in their cars.  These monitor each journey, with drivers charged for insurance per mile and billed monthly like a mobile phone.  The basic per-mile fee varies based on a driver's age, record and type of car used.  It ranges from 6p to 15p, though all drivers are charged a flat 1.00 per-mile for use between 11pm and 6am.
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Norwich Union has also been experimenting with satellite transponders... installed in about 5,000 vehicles to test uses for the technology... and plans to expand this to 100,000.  They are collecting data... trying to identify any factors that could affect the risk of an accident, including... location... the type of road... time of day... etc. to see whether this is a practical way of pricing insurance.
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Other types of technology monitor how a vehicle is being driven.  One insurer has been testing a unit that measures how rapidly a vehicle accelerates, brakes and goes around corners.  This information could be used to set premiums based on how the driver behaves... with penalty charges for fast, aggressive driving... or for exceeding speed limits.
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Meanwhile, satellite black boxes are likely to be an essential part of Government plans to introduce a national road pricing system.  This could replace some road taxes and fuel duties with a pay-per-mile charge.  It would appear that Satellite transponders will be the most likely way of collecting data for a road changing system... but with 32 million vehicles it would be a huge commitment [circa 32m X 200 = 6.4billion] to fit every vehicle with the necessary equipment... and with no guarantee that it will solve any problems.
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Big Brother could even take some of the decision making away from drivers... though not the responsibility if things go wrong.  Researchers at Leeds University have already been testing a fleet of cars fitted with satellite-linked speed controllers.  These monitor which road the car is on, compare this to a database of speed limits for each road and physically prevents the driver from exceeding the speed limit by controlling the amount of fuel.  [See... Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA)]  The are other variations of this on trial which may allow the system to be over-ridden in an emergency, [but records the fact this was done,] or that simply gives an audio and/or visual signal that you are exceeding a speed limit... and records your response.
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Keeping costs down... 
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If you want to keep insurance costs down you will probably want to avoid older cars with bigger engines.  They may be cheap to buy but are costly to run and horrendously expensive to insure.  Making any fashionable modifications to it can also increase premiums dramatically... and again... if you don't tell your insurance company... your policy may be deemed fraudulent... and any claim rejected.  Basically, you'll need to...
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  • Buy a vehicle with a small... low powered engine: [check what insurance group it's in.]
  • Buy a cheap vehicle... [insurance still isn't cheap... simply because you can cause as much damage with a cheap car as with an expensive one.]
  • Just cover it for Third Party, or Third Party Fire and Theft.
  • Take a Pass Plus course or similar... [which could see you get a good discount.]
  • Consider a policy with limitations... [like having a night-time curfew... or limiting total mileage.]
  • Ring around for the cheapest quote... [prices do vary a lot.]
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Young drivers may be tempted to name a Parent as the principal driver on their car to try and cut premiums.  However, this is not the same as just being added onto your Parents Insurance policy because you borrow their car sometimes.  If you have an accident... the Insurer investigates... find that you were the principal driver... they might claim that your policy has issued under false pretences... that a higher premium should have been paid... and most importantly... refuse to pay out on your claim.
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Courses for New Drivers... Many insurers will offer generous discounts of up to 35% on first-year premiums to young driver who successfully complete one of these courses.
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Pass Plus... is a training course devised by The Driving Standards Agency [DSA] available through driving schools...  Duration... about 6 hours.  Price... 150-200.  Covers... poor weather, night time and motorway driving.
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[Some Local Councils subsidize the Pass Plus course... paying up to 50% of the fees.  For more details call 0115-901-2633 or log on to PassPlus.org.uk]
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Max Driver... The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is involved in two other young driver training schemes.  Its members are tutors on the Max Driver course which costs about 99.
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Roadwise... Northern Ireland has the Roadwise scheme, which is backed by the IAM and a range of other organisations.  [for details log on to IamRoadWise.org]
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Comments.
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We agree with the basic principal... basically, the bigger the risk you pose the more you should pay... (which is how Insurance is already assessed) but not the practical application.  We do not believe in having the State and large private companies using technology simply to monitor drivers more closely... to log every journey... to take control of their vehicle... or simply to punish the basic law-abiding majority more efficiently.  
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Good driving is about interacting with other road users in a way that is consistently Safe, Considerate and Courteous... little black boxes cannot make these kind of assessments... but experienced drivers could.  Drivers should only be faced with punitive restrictions if they are identified as drivers who are posing an unreasonable risk to others because they cannot... or will not... behave in a way that is acceptable to their fellow road users.
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Road Pricing... the present Labour Government bears sole responsible for the horrendous congestion we have on our roads now... and their solution is simply to make car ownership more and more expensive... rather than create a system of public transport which will entice drivers out of their cars because it is a cheaper, more convenient option.  [See Article... Road Supervisors and Congestion.]
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