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Can Telematics benefit people living with dementia?

What if I told you that there are gadgets available that could reduce your car insurance premiums and keep you driving more safely for longer?

Supposing I said that these gadgets were cheap, super-easy to install and required no maintenance - in fact, once set up, they need never be touched?

Well, read on, and let's examine the world of TELEMATICS....

What is Telematics?

Telematics is "the branch of information technology which deals with the long-distance transmission of computerized information". In essence, it's a little black box that sits in your car and transmits information about your driving to an external computer. Some or all of the following things can be measured:

  • Speed

  • Acceleration rate

  • Braking force

  • GPS position

  • Type of road driven on

  • Time of day of driving (more accidents occur during rush hours).

Over time, a profile is built up, giving an accurate picture of a driver's behaviour.

How is Telematics used?

Telematics was first used by haulage companies to monitor the performance of their fleet drivers. The technology is now widely used in the industry and has increased the health and safety of drivers as well as providing location tracking. Some car insurance companies now offer discounted "black box" car insurance policies to young drivers who agree to be subject to telematic monitoring. This is proving to be very popular.

How might people living with dementia benefit from Telematics?

I recently completed a few questionnaires on this topic for the company Saga, who are considering offering telematics policies for drivers over 50. And that got me thinking...

As I related in an earlier blog, I am at present hanging onto my driver's license by the skin of my teeth. I currently have to have an driving assessment every six months, and my license is renewed every year by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) after consultation with my doctor - a very stressful process. Naturally, I want to continue driving for as long as possible. It give me the freedom to visit my mum, attend meetings, do my shopping etc. But, I want to make sure that I am still competent to drive safely. So it occurred to me that a telematics policy would be of great benefit to people in my position.

  • Using the App provided, I could examine my driving profile and learn to adapt my driving style and habits into safer ones.

  • I could spot any deterioration early and work out coping strategies.

  • I could save money on my car insurance through both increased safety AND perhaps a policy that was "pay by the mile" and would benefit low mileage users like myself.

  • My vehicle could be located if stolen.

The downside?

Well, my insurer would have access to all of the detailed telematic information. Now that doesn't worry ME in the slightest, but I know there are some people out there who might baulk at that idea.

Are "Black Box" telematics insurance polies currently available?

Yes. There are many, but I haven't tried to take one out myself yet, but I've looked at a few - and they are significantly cheaper. Typically, these policies describe themselves thus:

"Black box insurance can make car insurance cheaper by rewarding safe drivers with lower priced premiums.

If you choose a black box policy, your insurer will fit a small electronic monitoring device to your car.

The device will then record where and when you drive, as well as how you handle your car. Insurers then know things like whether you drive in rush hour, how fast you drive, and how harshly you brake.

This information is used to see how likely you are to make a claim; but if your data shows that you are always cautious and sensible, your premiums are likely to go down either at renewal or during your policy.

For many drivers, especially younger drivers, black box insurance provides a route to cheaper cover."

I'm content to stay with my current insurance provider until they start providing telematics policies, but I may change my mind as I discover more. What are YOUR thoughts on this important topic? If you already have a "black box" policy, please let me know what you think of it.

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