Cuvva introduces app that calculates cost of premium via phone sensors and machine learning

2 months ago 126

A provider of short-term car insurance is offering drivers a new type of policy that uses mobile phones sensors and machine learning to understand a motorist's behaviour.

While 'black box' telematics policies are a popular choice for many drivers - especially young or new licence holders - looking to save money, Cuvva has announced customers now have the option to work out the price of their cover based on new 'smart pricing' technology.

The insurer said it will use a phone's sensors and 'machine learning' to understand unique driving behaviour, from measuring braking, cornering and acceleration as well as monitoring phone use at the wheel.

As a result, it claims that drivers could save up to a third on their monthly subscription policy.

Cuvva will allow drivers to work out price of their policy based on its Smart Pricing technology

Freddy Macnamara, chief executive at Cuvva, said: 'Millions of drivers are overcharged by insurers with premiums largely based on factors like job titles and postcodes that have nothing to do with the way you drive.

'Companies often collect data for their own use but if people can benefit hugely from seeing and understanding their own journey insights, sharing it with them is the obvious way forward.'

How does it work?

Those wanting to sign up to the monthly subscription insurance policy can only do so if they are between the ages of 19 to 65. 

For those who are under 21, they will need to have held their licence for a year with no claims. 

However, Cuvva said smart pricing is particularly useful for younger drivers as it gives them a chance to prove they are good drivers and pay lower premiums. 

As opposed to black box technology, no devices are installed in the car as it's all managed via a phone. Therefore, anyone wanting to sign up must have a smartphone as the policy is managed via an app. 

Only phones that have had updates in the last few years, for example to iOS 13+ and Android 10+, will be suitable for subscription and smart pricing. 

Sensor data will be collected from a driver's phone and data analysis is used to identify patterns in the motorists behaviour that are unique to them, which makes up a driving score. 

This technology can pick up things like how smooth someone is driving, compliance with speed limits and whether they use their phone while at the wheel.

It can also detect and learn driving styles.

In fact, the system is so advanced that the insurer claims it can identify whether the policy holder is behind the wheel of a vehicle themselves or a passenger in a car, on a bus or travelling in a taxi. 

This means Cuvva can exclude any trips where the policy holder isn't driving from its calculations, creating a personalised and accurate score. 

Similar technology is used with mobility platforms like Uber.

Based on how safely customers drive, a unique driving score is calculated out of 100 and a smart pricing premium is calculated after 125 miles behind the wheel.

A driving score is updated regularly when permissions are on but a smart pricing premium is only calculated after 125 miles. 

There are no opt-in fees and drivers can cancel anytime free of charge. 

While a driving score helps Cuvva understand driving behaviour, the insurer said it also helps people understand how they're doing on the road with a score that updates regularly.

Smart Pricing is useful for younger drivers as they can prove they are good drivers, says Cuvva

How much will it cost? 

Cuvva premiums are similar to the industry average, depending on usual factors, according to the insurer, and this will be what drivers are charged before they have completed their 125 miles.  

Cuvva adds that smart pricing allows drivers to save up to a third on their monthly subscription premium.

This is in comparison to other motorists who pay an average annual car insurance premium of £629 in spring 2021, according to data from Compare the Market.   

Macnamara added: 'Over time Cuvva plans to offer people a host of insights in the app like coaching and even help drivers understand their environmental impact from the way they drive, offering tips to reduce their own emissions and save on fuel.

'Basing a premium on a few trips is unfair because bad days behind the wheel are inevitable. 

'The more you drive with smart pricing, the more we learn what kind of driver you are and can price you fairly.'

Cuvva will use phone sensors and machine learning to understand unique driving behaviour

How to improve your driving score for bigger savings

Cuvva has compiled some tips on how drivers can improve their driving to save on their premiums.  

1. Be aware: Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so you're not feeling rushed when you get behind the wheel, stick to the speed limit and keep your distance.

You never know when the car in front of you might hit the brakes suddenly. Smooth acceleration and gentle braking will also make your journey safer and improve your driving score. Generally, you want to avoid sharp and sudden movements.

Logical driving and following the rules of the road is all you need to do to benefit from the savings from this type of car insurance.

2. Watch out for sneaky fees: Removing a black box from your car, especially before the policy is up, can be costly, warns Cuvva, who encourages drivers to be fully aware of insurers fees before taking out a policy.

Some insurers charge as much as £155 to remove the device from your car.

Insurers might even charge you a fee if you miss the installation fitting appointment. And if you renew you might even be charged a data management renewal fee.

3. Be aware of black box driving restrictions: Some traditional insurers have several restrictions alongside its black box cover from driving at night to mileage limits. 

If you drive more than the agreed mileage you could be charged an additional fee.

If you have mileage restrictions and are nearing your limits, ring up your insurer and see if you can increase the limit.

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