New van telematics app can cut drivers' insurance costs

Ford Transit Custom high-roof
24 Jan, 2014 11:50am Matt Rigby

New DrivePlus Van smartphone app from Direct Line could save van drivers up to 15 per cent on their insurance

Car and van insurance company Direct Line has unveiled a new free-to-use smartphone app called DrivePlus Van for business users. DrivePlus Van uses the GPS function on a smartphone to record driving behaviour during journeys and could mean discounts of up to 15 per cent on insurance for van drivers.

Black box-type devices that monitor a driver’s behaviour on the road (such as speed, cornering or braking) and record it for insurance purposes - rewarding better behaviour with lower insurance premiums - have been around for several years. These are popular with private car users in high-risk categories, such as younger drivers or those who drive low mileages.

They are also popular with van drivers and van fleet managers, as they help to promote responsible driving - and therefore cheaper, lower-risk van insurance premiums. In fact, it is estimated by US-based market research company ABI Research that there will be more than 107million insurance policies using telematics-based monitoring systems by 2018.

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Where DrivePlus Van differs from conventional black box monitoring insurance policies, however, is that it doesn’t require any ‘black box’ GPS tracking hardware to be installed in your vehicle - it simply uses your phone to monitor your driving. It’s also more convenient, as it isn’t a permanent fixture.

Once a user has logged 300 miles of travel in their van, they are scored out of 100 (100 being a perfect score) and are then shown a promotional discount code that they can redeem via the Direct Line for Business website or on the telephone. The app  - and therefore also the discount  - is available both to existing Direct Line for Business customers and van drivers or small business owners thinking about switching to Direct Line.

Users can also choose which journeys they log, or can untag any journeys that might have been on public transport or as a passenger in another car. DrivePlus Van also allows you to review the details of your journey, such as the time it took, the distance travelled, and your driving score. It also records which behaviours impacted the driving score for the journey and how they did so.

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Jasvinder Gakhal at Direct Line for Business said: “We’re bringing telematics technology to owners of single vans in an easy-to-use app. With capital still stretched for many small businesses, owners of commercial vans are understandably concerned about the costs and risks of operating their vehicle. Telematics encourages responsible driving and through our app this can earn drivers a significant discount on their insurance.”

The free DrivePlus Van app is available for both iPhone (for users with iOS 6 and above) and Android (for 2.2 Froyo or newer) operating systems. It can be downloaded from the Apple AppStore or Android’s Google Play.

A DrivePlus app is also available for private passenger car insurance policies, although this only requires the user to record 200 miles-worth of journeys in return for a potential discount on their policy of up to 10 per cent.

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