29 October 2016

All about: Driving Style scores

As a young driver insurer, we keenly listen to our customers’ feedback and post Query of the Week tips on social media, with pointers on how to get the most out of our telematics policies. It’s clear that quite a few drivers Carrot looks after aren’t totally sure how their Driving Style scores are calculated or broken down, so as if by magic, we’re devoting a whole blog article to it.

Driving Style scores in a nutshell

  • New Driver customers’ scores start at zero, whereas Better Driver customers’ scores reset to zero after each week
  • Driving is assessed by measuring speed, smoothness and usage
  • Turning your engine off and on again counts as another journey
  • Speed looks at a road’s average speed and legal speed limit
  • Make fewer than seven journeys between 5am and 11pm for a better score
  • Drive smoothly, avoiding potholes and also stalling your engine
  • Weekly treats (Better Driver customers) or quarterly cash rewards (New Driver customers) for eligible drivers
  • All customer data collected is kept private

Does the Driving Style score start at zero for all customers?

If you’re a New Driver customer, your score will initially start at zero. Depending on your score at the end of your first year with Carrot, we will increase your starting score if you renew with us. If you’re a Better Driver customer, your score will be reset back to zero at the start of each week

How is the Driving Style score calculated?

For New Driver customers, Carrot’s i-box telematics device is installed into customers’ cars and collects and sends information about their driving style. For Better Driver customers the telematics device works entirely through the app. It measures things like acceleration, braking, swerving, and the number and length of journeys made. This data is then taken and split it into three categories – Speed, Smoothness and Usage – before being combined to give an overall Driving Style score. Driving safely and responsibly gives customers the opportunity to earn cash rewards every quarter.

Carrot Insurance Driving Style score - i-box telematics


Checking your Driving Style score

To keep an eye on your score and see how it’s affected by every journey you make, just log in to My Dashboard, which is your very own secure and personalised area on our website. You’ll be able to see how many miles you’ve driven while insured with Carrot and can see how your Driving Style score has been performing on a daily, quarterly or even yearly basis, to see how you’re improving as a driver. You can view your overall score, or look at it in more detail, measured against the criteria of Speed, Smoothness and Usage.

Carrot Insurance Driving Style score - i-box telematics dashboard phone


Speed, Smoothness and Usage explained

Trying not to be too technical and scientific, we also want to be as transparent as possible so that customers know exactly how their Driving Style scores are calculated and what they can do to improve it, to receive more rewards.

A journey starts when you turn the ignition on and ends when you turn it off, so if you stop and turn the engine off, for example to collect friend A whilst on your way to friend B’s house, then this will count as two journeys, because you’ve started and stopped the engine twice. However, leaving the engine running while you’re not in the car isn’t a good idea and is in fact illegal.

Each Overall Journey Score is calculated from a blend of the scores for Smoothness, Speed and Usage, which are weighted to calculate the Overall Driving Style score.

Smoothness (contributes 30% towards the overall score) unsurprisingly measures how smoothly you drive. Carrot’s telematics can detect any sharp acceleration, braking or deceleration, changes in direction, and also vertical movement (tip – avoid potholes!). We then calculate your Smoothness score depending on how often (on a per mile basis) and how severe these instances are for any given journey. The smoother you drive, the better your score will be, and the higher the number you achieve, the better you’re doing. The scoring range that we use is from -10 up to +10.

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - Driving Style Scores explained featured


One customer asked if stalling can affect the smoothness rating, and the answer is yes. Hard braking affects the score, too, so keep your eyes peeled for junctions and obstacles when you’re out in your car.

Speed (contributes 50% towards the overall score), stating the obvious, is a measure of how fast you drive, and is assessed with two components – Average Speed and Speed Limits. For Average Speed, the telematics device takes readings, usually at minute intervals, comparing your speed with the average speed for the stretch of road you’re driving on. If you are above the average, your Speed score goes down depending on the extent to which you exceed the average. If you are below the average, your Speed score goes up. Speed Limits work in the same way but measure your speed compared with the legal Speed Limit for that stretch of road, which will usually be signposted.

Usage (contributes 20% towards the overall score) measures three aspects of how and when you use your car. These are Time of Day, Journey Volume & Journey Duration. Starting with Time of Day, your Usage score is affected negatively if you make a journey that starts any time between 11pm and 5am, because accidents are unfortunately more frequent and severe at night or in the wee small hours of the morning. Journey Volume affects your score depending on how many previous journeys you’ve made in the last 24 hours, and if you make seven or more, it will affect your score negatively. Finally, Journey Duration looks at the length of each journey, with trips lasting over one hour having a negative impact on your score.

One customer asked if their new job which requires them to drive to work at 4am will affect their Driving Style score. The answer is yes, it will have a negative impact, but not too much as long as they keep their smoothness and speed down, in the green on the app.

How does distance affect the Overall Driving Style Score?

The Overall Journey Score for each journey you make is weighted to take account of the length of each journey, so a journey of twenty miles counts ten times as much as a journey of two miles.

How to earn…

…quarterly cash rewards if you’re a New Driver customer


With a telematics i-box installed in your car, simply improving on your Driving Style starting score is your ticket to quarterly cash rewards and a cheaper renewal quote for the following year’s insurance from Carrot. At the end of every 3-month period from your policy start date we’ll compare your current Driving Style score with your starting score and give you a cash reward if your score has improved. The size of the reward will depend on how much you’ve improved by. When it’s time to renew your policy with Carrot, your renewal premium will be based on the overall Driving Style score you’ve achieved throughout the year. The better your score, the lower the price you’ll pay. Cash rewards in the second year are based on any improvements on the score we used to calculate your renewal premium (not your original starting score), and so on, for each subsequent year that you stay with Carrot.

…weekly treats if you’re a Better Driver customer


With no telematics i-box installed (the system works purely using a smartphone app) these drivers need to keep their Driving Style scores in the green over a period of seven consecutive days to earn a treat the following Monday. The treat will automatically appear in the customer’s Better Driver phone app. With this kind of Carrot policy, customers needn’t worry that the price may increase during the current year, and there are no penalties or fines. Just be careful not to rack up too many sub-zero Driving Style scores, or we might cancel your policy.

Low Driving Style scores

Don’t worry too much, because Carrot will not put your premium up during your contract. If your details remain the same, the cost of your insurance will stay exactly at the price you paid when you took out your policy, but you just won’t earn many cash rewards. If you keep on breaking Carrot’s guidelines on driving behaviour, though, we reserve the right to cancel your policy.

Relax, all data is private

Privacy is something Carrot takes very seriously and the data that goes to create your Driving Style score is yours. Primarily, it’s there to help us to help you become a better driver, a safer driver, and a driver with extra cash in their pocket for using the roads responsibly.

Your data can be used positively if another driver is trying to make a false claim about you. On the flipside, if anyone insured by Carrot is being naughty and tries to submit a false insurance claim, we can use the data as evidence.

Carrot Insurance Driving Style score - i-box telematics data to app


We also promise not to:

  • Release your data to the police or to any civil authorities, unless we suspect fraud or attempted fraud, or if we are instructed to do so by law or a court order
  • Use your data in a ‘big brother’ kind of way to tell anyone about where you are or what you’re doing. If you do have an occasional lapse and exceed the speed limit, you can rest assured that it goes no further than affecting your Driving Style score
  • Use your data to prejudice or refuse any claim you might make simply because you were driving above the legal speed limit at the time

We hope this article all about Driving Style scores helps you get the most out of your car insurance policy with Carrot. If you have any further questions, comments to make or stories to share, find us on Twitter or Facebook or call our Customer Services team on 0333 355 1725

Oliver Hammond

Written by Oliver Hammond

Oliver is an established freelance motoring writer, published journalist and automotive copywriter based in Manchester. He regularly reviews cars and covers events and launches as editor of petroleumvitae.com and his articles appear in various magazines each month. No relation to Richard from Top Gear, he’s got a weakness for luxo-barges, proper 4x4s and oddball cars.