Out of Control Policy Blog

Driving with Big Brother III

Wouldn't it be nice if car insurance premiums really reflected risk? Sure they do in some ways--teenagers pay more because they're a greater risk and location matters as well.

Where you drive is an important factor in assessing risk, but when you drive is important, too. If you drive when traffic is light, you're less likely to get into an accident. Why should you pay the same as someone who mixes it up in rush-hour traffic every day?

Well, now insurance companies are beginning to use "Big Brother" techniques–actually, voluntary Big Brother techniques–to offer deals like this: you let us look over your shoulder more, and we'll lower your premiums.

This approach could help us deal with all those dangerous teen drivers hepped up on hormones and mall cinnamon rolls:

    Norwich Union has launched a 'pay-as-you-drive' insurance scheme for young motorists.

    Drivers aged between 18-21 can fit a 'black box' style device into their vehicle, which then uses global position systems to calculate insurance premiums based on how frequently and where they drive.

    By traveling at off-peak times motorists will be able to reduce their insurance premiums and will be monthly in a way similar to paying mobile phone bills.

Maybe some day this will help relax rush hour traffic for the rest of us. Who knows how many people would avoid driving during rush hour if tweaking their commuting habits would save them some dough.

For more, see this and this.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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