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An explanation of pay-as-you-drive insurance in the UK market

All you ever wanted to know about pay-as-you-drive insurance

In those good old, bad old days of driving, you just passed the test, got your licence, and answered the call of the roads. Never mind singing "key of the door... never been twenty-one before", having a licence was opening the door to freedom and throwing away the key. You could go anywhere, anytime and, except for pesky laws about speeding and not crashing into things, there were no parents, no authority figures looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do. Bliss! Then came the first signs of change. To protect lorry drivers against excessively long hours (and to protect other road users who were being mown down by sleeping lorry drivers), the tachograph was announced. Suddenly, all drivers were united in their opposition to this "spy in the cab". We threw up barricades to defend our rights. Ah, such happy days of demonstrations without the police kettling you into confined spaces and beating you to death with their batons. And it all came to naught. The tachograph with its easily forged paper disk was duly installed and life went on. Now, it's standard for a tamperproof digital tachograph to be fitted in all new vehicles and there are spying cameras at traffic lights, on motorways and most other roads with a bad accident record, waiting to take pictures of us as we duck and weave through traffic.

Well, innovation never stops and what was a good idea for LGV drivers could be a black box coming to your car. It's all the fault of the Norwich Union which introduced the pay-as-you-drive policy back in 2007. Little did they dream of the volume of business. In fact, they were caught short without enough black boxes to fit. So how does it work? Well, back in the days when insurers worked out your premium in pencil on the back of an old envelope, everyone guessed when, where and far how you were going to drive. Now technology answers all the questions without any actuary having to lick a pencil to get it to write. This inconspicuous box records the time of day, where you drive and how far you drive. This data is sent to the insurer who works out whether you "did good" and sends you an itemised bill, i.e. you decide the amount you pay by your actual driving record. There's a sliding scale depending on the time of day and the type of road with you paying more to drive long distances in heavy traffic conditions when the risks of an accident are highest.

The good news for UK car insurance policy holders is: the less you drive, the more you save. This really could be your route to really cheap car insurance. All you have to do is sacrifice your right to privacy. The Big Brother sitting in the insurance office will know exactly where you drive. Naturally, the data will be protected and no-one should tell your partner of those trips to that "friend" of yours or that you were the getaway driver in that bank robbery last Tuesday. You know the risks. If this is for you, get car insurance quotes for pay-as-you-drive.