Telematics tariffs – save money through online car monitoring?

Source: AXA Group AG

Source: AXA Konzern AG

More and more motorists think about a so-called telematics tariff of their insurance company. Are there dangers and risks for the motorist, can you really save money with it and how does it work exactly??

The term telematics is a combination of the terms "telecommunications" and "information technology". According to the Duden dictionary, telematics is either a field of research in which one deals with the mutual influence and interconnection of various telecommunications disciplines or the use of telecommunications resources for specific purposes. However, the automotive industry understands it differently. A completely new market that is fueled by the analysis of collected vehicle and personal data and whose effects range from personalized e-mails to marketing and advertising measures to the creation of a profile of the car user.

And what is a telematics tariff?

Nothing other than a personalized tariff based on the analysis of our personal driving data. For the classification of the driver into the corresponding discount models, the providers assume a driving style that is as steady and deliberate as possible, with few kilometers driven and slow starting and braking processes. In order to monitor driving style, a so-called telematics box is installed in the car. This is a tachograph (also known as a black box) that transmits the collected data wirelessly to the insurer. Exactly what data is collected and how it is evaluated remains hidden from the consumer. Only if the driving style corresponds to the ideas of the insurers, there are reductions on the insurance premium.

Is there already such a thing?

According to our information, 11 insurers in Germany currently offer their customers a telematics tariff (as of October 2018). Even if this number was larger a few years ago, these insurers have an enormous market share. The spectrum ranges from S-Direkt, Signal Iduna, VHV and AXA to Admiral Direkt. The demand is apparently there: A plan offered by Sparkassen Direkt Versicherung AG in early 2014 in a limited number of 1.000 policies was already sold out by the end of July. Savings of up to five percent can be achieved with this tariff by driving accordingly.

Since October 2015, Hannover's VHV insurance company has been offering 10.In addition, Admiral Direkt offers a telematics tariff for its 000 policyholders, in which driving behavior is transmitted to the insurance company via a black box. With the telematics tariff "Telematik-Garant" up to 30% of the insurance premium can be saved, the box costs here 84 euros per year. In addition to braking, acceleration and cornering behavior, parameters such as route length and duration of driving time, road type and time of day are recorded and collected. AXA, the third-largest motor insurer, has been offering a telematics tariff especially for drivers under 26 years of age since October 2015. Depending on the evaluation of driving data such as speed, acceleration, braking and cornering, up to 15% of the premiums can be saved in this case.

Admiral Direkt also offers a telematics tariff, but this takes into account additional parameters such as population density and regional traffic volume in the calculation. If all the positive benchmarks are combined, savings of up to 20% can be achieved. For drivers under 30, there is a special telematics tariff from Signal-Iduna subsidiary Sijox. Here you can save 15% on the usual rate, but only if you also join the Auto- und Reiseclub Deutschland. If one should decide against it, only 5% are granted, which can be topped up however with further 25% by a very good driving behavior. Thus up to 40 % savings are possible. The required box is free of charge here.

The insurance giants Huk-Coburg and Allianz have been offering a telematics tariff since 2016. Generali and Itzehoer Versicherung are also looking into implementing their own tariffs. Of course, Deutsche Telekom is not letting this business slip through its fingers and – in anticipation of half a million driving style-dependent car insurance contracts – is offering insurance companies a telematics platform. As you can see, acceptance is there and the driver should be made aware of the supposed savings potential. But there are technical as well as monetary differences in the world of online connectivity of the car.

Is a tariff change worthwhile at all?

That depends on the individual case, certainly one can save here and there first the one or other euro, but the appearance can also deceive. For example, there is still room for improvement with the telematics tariff from S-Direkt. With this tariff, all data is attributed to the vehicle owner. This means that if, instead of the law-abiding everyday driver, the motor sports enthusiast son should sweep across the asphalt with his lead foot from time to time, this will cause the personal insurance premium to rise enormously in the foreseeable future. And there is even the risk that the policy will be cancelled if the driving style does not correspond to the wishes of the insurance company.

In addition, in many cases there are additional costs for the purchase and installation of a black box. Often there is more savings potential when changing insurance or tariff than by entering a telematics tariff. And personal movement patterns and driving data are not collected for this either.


Unfinished, half-baked and driver-unfriendly. Until specific legislation on data protection takes effect and standardized technology models are offered that not only play into the pockets of contract workshops and insurers, drivers should wait for developments and consider alternatives. It is certainly important and useful to be able to save valuable time and effectively save lives after an accident via eCall. What must be a topic of discussion, however, is the transparent citizen. Because more and more personal data is falling into the wrong hands. And what driver would approve of having his driving maneuvers monitored and when he goes where?. There is also a fear that the data captured will eventually fall into the hands of an alert law enforcement officer or car thieves. Therefore telematics tariffs are an absolute NO-GO!

By the way… you can find a workshop that you can trust with your car with a good feeling in our workshop search

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