Behaviour tracking – the future of motorbike insurance, says Gocompare.com

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Published on 4 August 2014 by Gill

The freedom associated with taking a motorbike on the open road and a device which monitors your riding style may seem like strange bedfellows. However, the use of technology to track drivers' behaviour has been a growing trend in the car insurance market for some time now, and Gocompare.com suggests that the future of motorbike insurance could be held in a little black box too.

These behaviour-based insurance policies – commonly referred to as 'telematics insurance' – use a small GPS-enabled device, or even just a smartphone app, to gather data on your behaviour while on the road. The data collected could include things like your speed, cornering, how hard you brake and the times you use your vehicle, among other things. The price you pay for your insurance is then based on how good (or bad) your behaviour is deemed to be. This means conscientious road users could benefit from cheaper insurance, while those who speed or otherwise break the rules of the road may find their premiums rise, even if they haven't made a claim or been convicted of a motoring offence.

Tom Lewis, head of innovation and insight at Gocompare.com, said: 'Telematics-based car insurance policies have been available to drivers in the UK for some time now, and the number of telematics products on the market has dramatically increased over the past five years. As more people become aware of telematics as an insurance option, we expect to see the number of insurers offering this 'behaviour-based' cover to increase.

'Following the European Union's eCall initiative, which proposes that telematics devices be installed in all new cars as standard from October 2015, I would expect that in 10 years' time everyone will have to have some sort of behaviour-based insurance policy. There will still be customers who prefer not to have their driving habits tracked of course, but it will be an opt-out situation, rather than an opt-in, with those wanting traditional forms of insurance being charged a premium for the privilege. If this does happen with car insurance, then there's no reason that motorbike insurance won't follow suit.”

However, Tom has predicted that some bikers may be more reluctant than car drivers to make the switch:  'No doubt there will be bikers who may find that having their riding and location monitored curbs the idea of freedom on the open road. However, as technology advances and devices become less cumbersome and, more importantly, cheaper to produce, telematics for bikes is becoming increasingly realistic. And if behaviour-based insurance is able to offer significant cost savings to bikers, it may be hard to resist.

'It's not just cheaper premiums that could give bike telematics a foothold on the market. Other benefits, such as the ability to track your bike's whereabouts in the event it is stolen, and instantly alerting emergency services of your location if you have a serious accident, could all be attractive features to tempt bikers to try telematics. Naturally, there will be concerns about privacy and how data is collected and shared. However, if providers can address these issues, then in 10 years' time black box bike insurance will be the norm and riders will have to pay a premium to opt out of it.”

For more information and industry comment on telematics for motorbike, Gocompare.com has a guide page available on its website here.