Co-operative Smartbox Insurance

Co-op smartbox car insurance

The Co-operative Insurance has a car insurance product for young drivers which they call Smartbox. Smartbox is used to describe the GPS telematics unit that is installed on a vehicle and captures data on the driving habits of the person behind the wheel. It collects data on the vehicle while it is being driven and can determine the speed of the vehicle, cornering of the vehicle, the times and distances the car is driven, and if there is any erratic driving such as sudden stops. While other black box type car insurance products give discounts for not driving during a certain period of time, or for distance driven, this product offers a discount to the young driver that also practices safe driving skills. It is called a “Pay How You Drive” car insurance product.

Smartbox is designed for young drivers between the age of 17 and 25 years old. It requires that the driver have a valid driver’s license, and the Vehicle Registration Document (VRD)/Log Book/V5 Document (at least section 10 – New Keeper Supplement). Without these documents the Smartbox cannot be installed in the vehicle and without the Smartbox there can be no special young driver insurance policy issued. The Co-operative Insurance is a brand name of the Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), which is part of The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest consumer co-operative.

Product Description

The Pay How You Drive description of the Cooperative Insurance’s Smartbox Car Insurance is self-explanatory. If a young driver practices safe driving skills and stays off of the road during high risk hours for accidents, then cost of insurance for driving will be low compared to other policies. Should the young driver exhibit questionable driving habits then the policy will increase in cost.

GPS Considerations

The telematics box or black box used by Cooperative Insurance is installed on the vehicle out of sight of any passengers that might be in the vehicle. This is particularly important should the vehicle be stolen as the Smartbox can be used to pinpoint the location of the vehicle. It will not interfere with the manufacturer’s warranty and is compatible to most any make and model vehicle. It takes an average of only 45 minutes to install the Smartbox and there is no cost to the policy holder to install it. The Smartbox does offer an online account in which to view the data collected by the device so that the driver can monitor their own progress at maintaining the deepest discounts possible for the policy. Reviews of the data for discounts are done quarterly.

Benefit on Comprehensive Cover

In obtaining the comprehensive cover of Cooperative Insurance’s Smartbox car insurance policy there are many attractive extras. As mentioned earlier, the Smartbox, being a GPS data device, small, and cleverly concealed can offer theft tracking should the vehicle be stolen. The device can help determine the journey of the vehicle once it was stolen and pinpoint the location of the vehicle for recovery and help in the authorities apprehending and prosecuting the thieves responsible.

The comprehensive cover also offers the ability to pay in installment plans which helps in budgeting for car insurance costs. Other benefits include a courtesy car should there be an accident that results in the vehicle being unable to be driven, as well as windscreen coverage. There is also personal accident coverage for up to £5,000, coverage for personal effects up to £100, and medical coverage for up to £200.

Optional Extras

Smartbox also has available optional coverage items that have minimal fees involved should a policy holder want to choose them as add-ons to their policy. The all-important breakdown coverage and key car coverage are two of them. In addition, a policy holder can choose to have legal coverage added, as well as coverage for any gadgets used or left inside the vehicle such as a SAT unit or i-Pod. The cost for these optional extras is minimal and a policy holder may choose only one or all of the optional extras offered by Cooperative Insurance.

Policy Fees

As with all car insurance policies there are fees that can be associated with a policy that one must take into consideration against any savings offered by that policy. However, Cooperative Insurance has few of them when in comparison with most other telematics car insurance policies. The first and most noticeable difference in fee charges is that the Smartbox does not have an associated fee with it for installation. This can offer considerable savings when compared to other telematics device installation fees required by other companies.

The policy does not list, as most do, a fee associated with driving the vehicle during night hours of 11 PM to 5 AM, this being the riskiest time for a young driver to be behind the wheel. It should be noted however that this policy grades the driver on safe driving behaviors. Driving during high risk times would be considered unsafe driving practices and would be counted against the driver while not necessarily assessing a direct fee. There are other fees that can be charged during the time of a Smartbox car insurance policy such as a removal fee to remove the GPS unit from the vehicle if the driver wants it removed, failure to meet the set appointment to install the unit, cancellation of the policy before the term is up for the policy, and if the GPS unit must be changed to another vehicle then a fee can be assessed. These are considered standard fees for most policies that are associated with a GPS based car insurance.

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