Motor vehicle insurance Telematics tariffs: the insurer is on board

If you choose a car insurance with a telematics tariff, you have to live with the fact that your driving style is monitoredimago images / Westend61

Finally there is the exit sign, then: country road. The foot already drops on the accelerator pedal, the hand shrugs towards the gear lever. Finally speed again! The speed limit of 70 km / h does not matter, there is no speed camera anyway. Then he suddenly comes back to you: the sensor in the car. It monitors everything – even on the most abandoned route.

We’re talking about the telematics sensor. This collects all data about the driving behavior of the person behind the wheel while driving: how fast they drive, how fast they accelerate, how well they keep their car in the bend and how they brake. The sensor sends this data to the driver’s motor insurance, which has it evaluated and then decides: Does the policyholder drive responsibly? If so, he gets a discount on his vehicle policy, with some insurers up to 30 percent. With an annual premium of 500 euros, insured persons could save around 150 euros.

So far, relatively few consumers have opted for the so-called telematics tariffs. According to the Federal Association of Consumer Centers, 80,000 Germans use the offer, other sources assume 100,000 to 200,000 users. However, demand could increase, especially among younger drivers who pay higher premiums for their car insurance because of their higher accident risk. More than a third of the 18 to 29 year olds believe that they do not have the optimal or too expensive car insurance tariff, according to a survey by the comparison portal Joonko.

Opaque algorithms

The best-known providers of telematics tariffs include HUK and Allianz. According to a current analysis by the rating agency Assekurata, they also offer the best conditions: Both insurers make it relatively transparent how they rate their customers’ driving style. With the “Telematik Plus” tariff of the HUK, for example, individual driving errors, such as abrupt braking in a dangerous situation, should not have a decisive impact on the evaluation. HUK insured persons can also benefit from discounts comparatively early. If you achieve a score of 35 points with a good driving style, you will receive a five percent discount. For the Generali Group tariff, they must have collected 64 points.

It is questionable whether consumers can ever get the maximum discount – because it is often not clear how exactly the algorithms that evaluate the driving data work. However, it helps to look closely at the evaluation criteria of the providers. As a rule, night driving has a negative impact on the points score, since accidents occur more quickly in the dark. A telematics tariff is therefore not suitable for people who travel a lot at work on business. Even those who get into their cars frequently during rush hour will hardly benefit, as the stop-and-go in the city center has a negative impact on the score. Consumer advocates warn that telematics tariffs can even be more expensive for older drivers with a higher damage-free class.

“Big Brother” is on board

Last but not least, the question of data protection arises. Around 60 percent of the participants in the Joonko survey fear that the data collected could be used against them – for example, to increase their insurance amount. In fact, experts warn that consumers should be aware that insurers can use driving data to their detriment in the event of an accident. It therefore makes sense to take a look at the data protection regulations. With the HUK tariff, for example, a telematics service provider first evaluates the driving data – the user identity is pseudonymized – and then transmits it to the insurance company.

Nevertheless, many consumers feel uncomfortable having a constant observer on their car trips. Fixed boxes, such as those available from the HUK, actually always travel in the car. Alternatively, there is also the pure app version: you only become a “big brother” if the driver has his smartphone with him.

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