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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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Happy

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.

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Flame

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....

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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.

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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."

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Bronze badge

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.

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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.

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Stop

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.

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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.

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Headmaster

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.

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Facepalm

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!

Cheers.

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Pint

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.

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Bronze badge

Understandable

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.

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Re: Understandable

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Re: Understandable

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

Correction:

even if they drive a shit Corsa or Saxo or something

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Bronze badge

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.

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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..

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FAIL

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.

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Facepalm

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.

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Mushroom

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?

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WTF?

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.

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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.

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Meh

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).

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Stop

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.

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WTF?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

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Bronze badge

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.

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"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?

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Facepalm

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....

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Joke

Pah!

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

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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.

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Silver badge
Stop

STOP PRESS

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

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Devil

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.

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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.

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Silver badge

"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?

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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.

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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.

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"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

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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.

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Stop

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.

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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.

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Silver badge

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.

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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.

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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.

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