High tech ways to reduce your insurance costs

From a little blue box to an automatic braking system, insurance providers are rewarding drivers with cheaper car insurance premiums if they can prove that they are safe drivers.

Everyone wants cheaper insurance – but how do you get it? Thankfully, many insurance providers in Australia are providing a high tech answer that can not only lower your premium but is designed to provide better customer service and make life easier for drivers.

 

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Insurance Box – by QBE

With the award-winning technology of Insurance Box, QBE can offer safe drivers significant discounts. Similar to the old style of “no claims bonus” discounts that are going out of fashion, Insurance Box policies reward drivers who drive safely and/or drive less.

The Insurance Box device is a little blue box that plugs in under your dashboard and records data such as speed, distance travelled, and braking pressure applied. Just like the black box flight recording device on airplanes, the Insurance Box tells QBE how you drive.

Insurance Box is especially useful for younger drivers who are paying a lot more for their insurance. “Prove your good driving and start saving,” says QBE.

Insurance Box is now also being used by Guild Insurance.

Hail Hero – by Budget Direct

The Hail Hero Hail Warning System is an exclusive service for Budget Direct customers that sends a text message to your phone to warn you when hail is on the way to the suburb where you live and/or work. The system is designed to give you at least 10 minutes’ warning, so you have time to move your car under cover if you can before the storm hits.

Those who sign up for the Hail Hero service get cheaper insurance premiums because getting your car undercover in time saves both the driver and Budget Direct thousands of dollars in repair bills.

Fuel Efficient Discount – by NRMA

In an Australian first, NRMA offers a discount of up to 10% off their comprehensive car insurance policies if you have one of the fuel efficient cars recognised in NRMA’s green list.

Autonomous Emergency Braking Discount – by NRMA

Since 2014, NRMA has been offering a discount for drivers with a car model that comes with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard.

Also known as “collision avoidance” or “city brake” technology, AEB was developed by international research group RCAR (of which NRMA is a member). It uses laser, radar, and/or cameras to automatically apply the brakes when a hazard appears in front of the car.

AEB can help prevent a collision at low speeds of up to 60km/hour and can even reduce the collision impact and severity at higher speeds of over 100km/hour. Since NRMA’s data shows that 80% of collisions on Australian roads happen at low speeds, AEB provides a clear safety advantage in the majority of cases.

In 2014, NRMA Insurance reported the possible savings in annual premiums ranged from $50 on a $13,000 Volkswagen Up hatchback, to $120 on a $50,000 Subaru Forester SUV, and $450 on a $200,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class limousine.

Dash Cams

I’m sorry to report that this is one innovation that will not actually get you cheaper insurance, yet – but it will certainly help you at claim time. According to AAMI, around 13% of Aussie drivers were using one in 2015, and the RAA says it now receives 3 to 4 claims per month that use dash cam footage as supporting evidence.

RAA Claims Manager Hayley Cain reports, “One of our members rear-ended a car and his dash cam footage proved the other driver had caused the crash in a fit of road rage. Our member did not have to pay the excess on damage to his car as a result.”

Research shows that our memories of what really happened in a crash begin to reshape themselves within just 20 minutes of the incident, and AAMI reports that the use of dash cams makes claim time easier by overriding variations in perception.

Dash cameras (or “dash cams”) are legal in all states and territories of Australia because you are filming in a public place (on the road), and they are affordable. No car on sale in Australia comes with a dash cam fitted as standard, but a unit only costs $50 to $500. When the excess you save at claim time could be as much as $2,000, the dash cam has paid for itself in one day. Now that’s a good investment.

In the UK, insurance providers have already introduced discounts for anyone driving with a dash cam. We look forward to Australian insurance providers following suit.

Car Tracking Device

A car tracking device is likely to give you a cheaper insurance premium because it means your insurance provider knows that if your car is stolen, the police can find it and (hopefully) bring it back. This means the risk is lower that they would ever have to pay out an insurance claim for theft for you.

Finding the best bang for your buck

While it’s great that some insurance providers will provide you with a discount if you install one of these high tech features, you should always look at more than just the discount you can get. Car insurance should always come with the comprehensive coverage you need, not just the price you want. Always read the product disclosure statement (PDS) for any insurance product you are considering.

In 2016, CANSTAR has researched 63 car insurance policies from 53 insurers around Australia and given them star ratings according to how much value they provide for different types of drivers. Take a look at our comparison tables to see which policies would provide 5-star rated outstanding value for your high tech or low tech driving needs.

 

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CANSTAR is an information provider and in giving you product information CANSTAR is not making any suggestion or recommendation about a particular product. If you decided to apply for a car insurance policy, you will deal directly with a financial institution, and not with CANSTAR. Rates and product information should be confirmed with the relevant financial institution. For more information, read our detailed disclosure, important notes and additional information. 

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