An insurer says a smartphone app could cut premium costs by 20%. But the app isn't for price comparisons: instead it measures safety.
The RateMyDrive application works in the same way as "black box" schemes but doesn't require specialist equipment. Instead it takes advantage of smartphone accelerometers, the small component that measures movement and is used in games that require the user to tilt the screen.
Customers at Aviva who have an Android handset are being invited to take part in a trial of the software. Eventually new customers will be able to use the app to measure their acceleration, braking and cornering during 200 miles of driving. Those who meet a set safety level will qualify for a rebate of up to 20% depending on their driving performance and their original premium cost.
Drivers who "fail" the assessment won't get any rebate, but won't be penalised and will continue to be covered by the insurance.
An Aviva spokesman said the system will be fairer for good drivers than simply relying on demographic information: "The premium will be for you, not people like you."
Not everyone is convinced by the idea. One reader commented on the Guardian website that "I can see canny senior citizens gently driving round with cratefuls of Android phones that their teenage owners have 'loaned' them for in return for a small fee..."