Insurance that rewards your careful driving

Our homes are getting smarter, and now our cars too. They can tell your insurance company whether you are a careful driver and then the insurance guys set your premium accordingly.

Sounds good? Here are some more details. DrivePlus is Direct Line’s telematics insurance policy, which offers drivers of all ages an upfront discount when they take a policy out.

DrivePlus gives customers a driving score which is calculated by analysing driving style, including smoothness, braking and contextual speed and where and when you drive. Users can review their overall driving score and their score for each individual journey to see how they have improved over time. The price of the policy is reviewed at the point of renewal and takes driving scores from the prior year into consideration.

Customers have achieved discounts of up to 40 per cent at renewal. When they talk about contextual speed, they are looking for customers to travel at a speed in line with other users on the road. They do not penalise customers for driving over the speed limit, but if they can see that most people drive at a similar speed along a given section of road but our customer is driving much faster than the majority of other road users, then this may adversely affect their driving score.

They offer several telematics devices, none of which come with any fees or charges as is the case with some providers. Predominantly these are plug-in devices which the customer installs themselves in to a diagnostics port in their car, usually found in the foot well by their steering column. These devices are posted to the customer and are easy to install and come with clear instructions.

For customers who do not have the ability to use the plug-in devices, usually when they have a car over a certain age, we will arrange to have a black box installed by an engineer. They also offer a free app, available on iPhone and Android, for drivers aged 25 and above which monitors the same things as the plug-in. They download the app and just drive as they normally would, they app runs in the background as it senses when they are driving.

They currently have a pilot for customers aged 25 and above where they can earn up to £60 cashback as well as our usual telematics discounts. Some telematics providers place restrictions on the driver including how many miles they can drive or what time of day they can drive, but Direct Line doesn’t. They also do not cancel policies due to poor driving scores, instead they provide regular feedback to help drivers understand and improve this score.

They want those drivers with lower scores to become better drivers and reduce their chances of having an accident, which is why they have introduced coaching to support them and try to improve their driving, their scores and hopefully their premium at renewal. They proactively approach customers with low driving scores and the response has been highly positive and the results really encouraging.

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