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Put the smartphone down, get an insurance discount?

Put the smartphone down, get an insurance discount?

Here’s an interesting finding from a survey of motorists conducted across the pond in the United Kingdom: while a goodly majority think driving while talking or texting on a smart phone is highly dangerous, they also believe you should get an insurance discount if you agree not to talk/text while driving.

This study, conducted by research firm Consumer Intelligence on behalf of LexisNexis Risk Solutions and its U.K. telematics business unit Wunelli surveyed 1,314 insured drivers aged 18 or older, found that U.K. consumers at least want to be rewarded with lower premiums for not using their smartphone while driving – with 60% believing that avoiding any type of mobile phone use,  including both text and calls, should be a top factor used by insurers in offering lower premiums.

And while you might think this is a little presumptuous, consider this report issued recently by the U.K. government, which believes the “traditional ways” of rating motor insurance “will become obsolete” with the emergence of both connected and driverless vehicles.

"The very basis of telematics insurance is to provide fairer premiums to motorists so that they are not paying for the poor behavior of others and to incentivize safer driving behavior,” noted Selim Cavanagh, vice president of telematics at Wunelli, in a statement. “

“From our research, the vast majority of motorists understand this but there is evidently a great opportunity for insurers and brokers to consider how they can tap into this growing level of awareness and the corresponding expectations motorists have over how they should be rewarded,” he added.

Here are a few other findings of interest from this U.K. driver survey:

  • 78% think that the price they pay for insurance should be linked to their driving behavior;
  • 78% are also comfortable with the fact insurers will use driving behavior data sourced from a fixed device or smartphone application to determine the price they pay for their insurance;
  • 81% of motorists want their loyalty to insurers rewarded in cheaper insurance.

The study also found that female drivers might be the biggest winners in such an insurance policy shift, as the percentage of male drivers who regularly use smartphones while driving is nearly double that for female drivers.

The biggest losers, however, might well be younger drivers – male and female alike – as they are distracted by smartphone use behind the wheel more often.

In fact, LexisNexis found that drivers who use a phone hand held at the wheel almost double their risk of an accident, with associated hard braking increasing by three quarters (75%), while those on “hands free” devices increase their crash risk by a fifth.

Something to think about as part of our own efforts on this side of the pond to eradicate distracted driving and the dangers it poses to all motorists, truck drivers included.

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