Apps 'could help millions' save money on car insurance

Traffic jam viewed through a wing mirror

Millions of drivers could potentially save money by using smartphone apps that monitor how safely they drive, according to insurance industry bosses.

Getting a car insured can often cost thousands of pounds.

Now several companies have released apps which use GPS technology to track things like speed, braking and cornering.

The safer someone drives, the more money they get off their premiums or back from their insurer.

In the last couple of months two apps have been launched which track drivers over a set distance of 200 or 250 miles.

One from Aviva is offering new customers discounts if they drive safely.

Mike Skuse
Mike Skuse, 22, used a smartphone app to get money back from his insurer

Twenty-two-year-old Mike Skuse downloaded one from Confused.com which offered drivers money back if they proved to be a good driver.

"It tracked me for 250 miles and based on things like my speed and my braking it gave me a score out of 100," he said.

"Once you got that, in my case, I got £25 back."

Although the two apps are still in the trial and development stages around 20,000 people have downloaded them.

'Benefit everybody'

Unlike telematics, so-called black boxes, the idea works by adapting technology millions of people already have in their smartphones, so there's no need for drivers to get extra equipment fitted to their cars.

Graeme Trudgill, from the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) said: "There's a lot of interest [in this] from the insurance community.

"If it can reduce the claims made to insurance companies, if it can make the roads safer for drivers, then that's going to benefit everybody."

Critics, though, say while higher risk drivers - typically young men - would stand to benefit the most, they are the least likely to use the app.

There are also concerns that it would be easy to fix the results by giving smartphones to safer drivers while their driving is tracked before handing them back.

"I think they're a good idea to start with," added Mike Skuse. "I certainly saved a bit of money.

"It goes on your smartphone and that's with you all the time.

"But that does mean it's open to people cheating the system".