By Vanessa Papas
While we know fuel costs are a pain in the back, did you know that the way you drive can also rack up the bills? Ever-increasing fuel prices are pushing South Africans to explore every avenue to reduce their costs. But by using telematics technology and software applications motorists could help reduce the premiums on their car insurance.
We chat to Vera Nagtegaal, the executive head of Hippo, on ways you can drive smarter and save money.
Is There Any Technology That Can Save You Money?
For consumers worried about the ever-increasing costs of fuel, installing a telematics solution could assist in decreasing the cost of your insurance premiums. These apps are a relatively new technology that drivers could install on their smart phone to track their driving behaviour. Telematics technology has evolved over the years, and nowadays it simply means downloading an app on your phone in order to access the technology. In using your cellphone, certain metrics are factored in to track driving behaviour. These include tracking your cellphone use while driving, acceleration, speeding, distance, route risk index, time of commute and braking.
How Can This App Change My Car Insurance Premiums?
In some instances, insurers could request you to enable this technology to receive information that can be used to assess your driving habits and adjust your premium in response to your driving behaviour. From this, your insurer can establish your risk profile, which gives them an idea of how likely you are to have an accident. Some insurers could offer you either an upfront discount on your premiums or cash back rewards based on good driving behaviour. This benefits any driver who decides to use a telematics app to monitor driving behaviour, but can be particularly useful to drivers who are usually considered to have a high-risk profile. For instance, men who are 25 years old and younger are statistically considered to be more prone to risky driving behaviour. The use of telematics could prove that they are driving responsibly in order to reduce their loaded premiums.
Can Going Green Save You Money?
Apart from lower emissions, going green by driving a hybrid or electric car not only saves you money but saves the planet too. While these types of vehicles can be pricier than regular cars, it’s an investment that’s good for your wallet and the environment. Lower emissions are also linked to regularly servicing and ensuring your car is roadworthy. When a vehicle has to work harder more harmful emissions are released into the environment. A roadworthy car improves the chances of approval of your insurance claim. This is a common reason why claims are rejected but is simple to avoid.
Will A Roadworthy Car Cost Me Less?
The Automobile Association has compiled a guide on determining if your car is roadworthy. They explain, for example, that the tread for all tyres (including the spare) should be at least 1.6mm deep, and brakes must be in good working order. Necessities like purchasing new tyres is often a grudge purchase but can help you avoid the risk of accidents or mishaps related to having a diminished tyre tread. This not only ensures your safety and the safety of other road users but also saves you money in the long run. This is beneficial for saving you funds when it comes to your insurance premiums claims. Practical things like ensuring your tyres have the optimum amount of air in them means less work for your vehicle. Proper tire maintenance shouldn’t be overlooked, since it’s a simple way to increase your fuel economy.
Can An Effective GPS Save Me Money?
When you drive to a new part of town or go on a road trip it’s not unusual to get a little lost along the way. To make sure you don’t clock any unnecessary miles, plan ahead and map the most efficient route. A good GPS will ensure you find your way, the first time.
Do Diesel Engines Really Save You Costs?
Yes and no. Diesel is more efficient and uses 15−20 percent less fuel meaning cheaper running costs, but it is also subjected to hikes, just as petrol is. The petrol price, however, is kept in check, because consumers largely use petrol to commute to work. Experts still maintain a petrol car is often the better choice – especially if you’re driving around town and not regularly plugging away long distances.
Other Ways To Save Money:
• Clear the junk out of your boot to lessen the load.
• Driving 100 km/h instead of 120 km/h on the highway could reduce petrol costs by up to 20 percent.
• Where possible, try and limit the use of the air conditioner as this could result in a 13 – 21 percent decrease in petrol costs.
• If your vehicle has an auto stop-start system, make sure to enable it to help save fuel and decrease emissions.
• Maintain a constant speed and avoid speeding to circumvent sudden braking.
• Anticipate and avoid traffic – there are useful apps such as Waze and Google Maps to help drivers
• Service your vehicle regularly.
• Consider going green by driving a hybrid or electric vehicle (when it becomes more accessible on the South African market).