Under 25s to be offered black box for cheaper insurance

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An insurance company is offering young drivers the chance to lower their premiums by launching a policy that monitors their driving style through an in-car black box and could save as much as £300 as a result.

The scheme, offered by Co-operative Insurance, will assess 17-25 year-old drivers on their braking and acceleration, cornering, general speed and whether they drive during the day or at night.

Every 90 days the driver's policy will be recalculated using this information, and careful drivers could see their costs fall by up to 11 per cent of their total premium.

However, drive badly and young motorists could also see their costs rise. If the owner's car is driven at excess speeds, erratically, or largely at night time, then the premium could go up by 15 percent.

The black box, which is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, does not take account of who is driving the car though, so the car's owner will have to take responsibility for its movements as a day's bad driving could count against their average score.

Drivers will also be able to log on to their 'Driving Dashboard' to see how their car is being driven, and see what they can do to improve. Their speed, cornering, braking and acceleration and time of driving is ranked on a traffic light scale, red for bad and green for good.

Grant Mitchell of Co-operative Insurance said: "Our hope is that people will use the Driving Dashboard to monitor their driving and will improve over time as a result."

The company reckons that 82 percent of drivers will be quoted at less than their renewal price, and 45 percent will enjoy the full discount over a year of driving.

The news has even been welcomed by Co-operative's rivals, with insurethebox saying the company's decision is a good one for the industry.

"It is great news for all of us trying to sell the telematics proposition that a high-profile insurer such as the Co-operative has taken this decision as it will help the idea to gain even more momentum," said insurethebox joint CEO Andy Haynes.

However, he said it will be the drivers that should benefit more in the long run.

"Above all, it is good news for motorists, especially anyone below the age of 21, because our experience shows that box technology really does slash the cost of premiums and encourage safer driving."