The Root

The official blog of Carrot Insurance

12 September 2017

How do Driving Style Scores work?

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

  • All 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 considers a road’s average speed and legal speed limit
  • Journeys between 5am and 11pm can still get a good score, but the scoring is harsher 
  • Drive smoothly, avoiding potholes and also stalling your engine
  • Weekly treats (Better Driver customers) or Carrot Point rewards (New Driver customers) for drivers with a 5+ score
  • All customer data collected is kept private

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

Yes 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 back to the online dashboard. For Better Driver customers the telematics device works entirely through the app. Both devices measure 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 rewards every week.

Checking your Driving Style Score

To keep an eye on your score and see how it’s affected by every journey you make, if you’re a New Driver customer then you can just log in to your personal dashboard, which is your very own secure area on our website, if you’re a Better Driver customer, you will be able to check your score on the Better Driver smartphone app, which you should always be logged in to. 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, weekly 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.

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 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, stating the obvious, is a measure of how fast you drive. Speed Limits work in the same way, but measure your speed compared with the current legal Speed Limit for that stretch of road.

Usage 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 scoring is harsher 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, because the scoring is harsher at those times, but they can still get a good score (5+) on those journeys, if they drive smoothly and keep their speed down.

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…

…weekly rewards if you’re a New Driver customer


At midday on a Monday we’ll calculate your Driving Style Score for the previous week and then award you Carrot Points if you have a 5+ score. Each Carrot Point is worth 1p and the amount of Carrot Points you earn will depend on your score for that week. Any Carrot Points earned will appear on your dashboard at midday on a Monday. Once they are available, you will have the next seven days to ‘bank’ them. Once the points are ‘banked’ you will have the life of your Carrot Insurance New Driver policy to ‘spend’ them. Carrot Points can be ‘spent’ within the dashboard, by exchanging them for a range of e-gift cards.

…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

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 weekly rewards. If you keep on breaking Carrot’s guidelines on driving behaviour or exhibit signs of Extreme 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 rewards 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 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.