On the 1st of January 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will bring into effect new insurance rules for vehicle and home insurance.
These changes are to prevent “price walking”. The term “price walking” describes what insurers do when they increase renewal premiums for existing customers while offering new customers the best deals. Essentially, loyal customers are penalised for being loyal instead of shopping around.
If you own a vehicle (car, motorbike, van – doesn’t matter what type of vehicle), these changes will affect you!
The changes also affect home insurance customers (whether you have home and/or contents insurance – this change will affect you).
Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition at the FCA commented on the new rules:
‘These measures will put an end to the very high prices paid by many loyal customers. Consumers can still benefit from shopping around or negotiating with their current provider – but won’t be charged more at renewal just for being an existing customer.
‘We are making the insurance market work better for millions of people. We will be watching closely to see how the market develops in the future and to ensure firms continue to deliver fairer value to consumers.’
Obviously, these changes have the potential to has huge impact on the car insurance industry.
It’s got me thinking about telematics. If customers will no longer be able to reduce their insurance costs by shopping around, how will we find ways to save money?
Have you ever shopped around for cheaper insurance when you receive your renewal notification? I do. I check the latest costs every year to ensure I get the best deal. I think this year was the first year that I stayed with the same insurer, and that was only because they managed to price match the best alternative option.
So, how can we ensure we get the best deal when insurers can’t offer us low premiums as incentives like they have in the past? This goes back to what I said before about how this news got me thinking about telematics. Perhaps this will lead to a new rise in telematics uses or reliance. Will insurers start relying evermore on our driving data to determine whether we are a low risk and therefore worthy of a lower premium?
Perhaps more importantly, how many of us would trust our driving behaviour enough to truly believe we would reduce our insurance costs by relying on telematics?
While there are areas of my driving that could be improved, I believe I am a good enough driving that I would be happy to use my telematics data to inform my car insurance premium. However, I know many who would feel the opposite. Whether they are good/safe drivers or not, they still seem to be very against the prospect of having telematics “forced” upon them.
Alternatively, if you don’t drive many miles each year, maybe you could consider pay-by-mile based car insurance to reduce costs. Companies like By Miles, on of our partners, offer a type of insurance where you literally “pay by miles” driven. Each mile costs a set amount. So, at the end of each journey, that cost is multiplied by the miles recorded during that journey.
I thought it was a brilliant idea when I first heard it.
I would have loved that type of insurance offering. If it had been around a few years earlier, I would have definitely used it and would have almost certainly saved money. I think I drive far too many miles for it to be cost effective for me now. There are plenty of motorist who could save money this way though! Could you?
I suppose the follow-up questions then are, why are so many still so against telematics? Furthermore, could these new regulations be a catalyst? A catalyst that starts to bring telematics into more favourable light? A catalyst that means it can become the new way to help us reduce our insurance costs?
I think it is too early to speculate. I do, however, hope that this could well be the case.