19 January 2017

As cool as a Carrot customer

Okay, we know the phrase is ‘cool as a cucumber’, not a carrot, but this week on The Root we wanted to give our young, newly-qualified and improvement-seeking drivers a glimpse into how ‘telematics’ insurance policies have become more and more trendy.

‘Telematics’ basically means technology that uses telecommunications to transmit digital information, which for Carrot Insurance New Driver customers means data about your Driving Style, collected and sent by the ‘i-box’ installed in your cars.

When ‘black box’ insurance like this first became a ‘thing’, it was mainly associated with learners and young drivers, who always tend to be considered a higher risk on the road. Now that the world has rolled into 2017, though, more and more drivers of all ages are actively choosing ‘usage-based insurance’ (UBI) policies, as they see how it can reduce premiums for safe drivers who don’t use their cars as much as, I dunno, sales reps who munch millions of miles on motorways, or taxi drivers.

Back in November 2013, a bloke called Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Motorists said regarding telematics insurance that “experienced drivers can benefit from these policies, as they can be tailored to fit their driving habits” and an article on ThisIsMoney.co.uk1 pointed out that for older drivers restrictions like 11pm curfews “are less of a problem”. After all, the average car spends a whopping 95% of its time parked up2, and when was the last time your granny went for a 1am drive ‘just because’? Except for about two family outings per year, our blogger Olly’s grandad’s J-reg Ford Escort was only ever used on Thursdays for the weekly supermarket shop – really.

Telematics black box usage based insurance for older experienced over 50s plus drivers UK


Our Better Driver insurance product was launched a couple of years ago, taking the idea of black box usage-based insurance (UBI) and squeezing it into an app, which more experienced drivers can use to prove that their alleged skill behind the wheel isn’t just hot air, while earning treats at the same time. Other apps have also sprung up since then and some are advertised on national TV. Yep, we’re talking about the ad’ with a disguised David Coulthard taking unwitting taxi passengers on a hair-raising ride before whipping off this beard.

By 2024, which isn’t all that far away, Tom Lewis from the comparison site advertised by that opera singer people either love or can’t stand, reckons that all car insurance policies will use telematics3, which by that time will be opt-out rather than something people opt into.

If you thought telematics was just for cars, it’s in fact used by loads of companies for their delivery trucks, such as Argos, Hovis bread and Morrisons. Telematics is also used in some aircraft, ships and even drones, so this technology that was originally introduced mainly for young drivers is gradually taking over pretty much everything, helping motorists of all ages along with businesses to save fuel and, most importantly, stay safer. With any ideas of Big Brother scrunched up and put in the bin, telematics drivers can feel kind of cool in knowing that they’re trend-setters, in a way.

If you’re already a Carrot Insurance customer or you’re learning to drive and are interested in discovering how black box, telematics, UBI or whatever you want to call it can benefit you, come and find us on Twitter or Facebook

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.