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BLACK BOX INSURANCE problems?

58
Found 3rd Apr 2014
Hi, I have a HASTINGS SMARTMILES black box in my daughters car. Very pleased with the product, but we have one issue. The box records on Speed, Time of Day, Braking and Acceleration. Grades out of 100.
My daughter has an overall score of 84/100 which is good. But on the individual components she is getting 100/100/85/20 as an average. This means she is being ultra sensible except for Acceleration, where she is competing with Lewis Hamilton!

This makes no sense as I know she doesn't accelerate quickly and I have driven the car on a day she hasn't and got similar scores. That's driving with almost no accel. at all.

My question is, has anyone else experienced occasions when the black box in their car has recorded false data, and, if so, what did they do about it?
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58 Comments
Banned
lesson 1 - "almost no accel at all" is too little if you want to move faster than terry the turtle
Banned
tortoise?
Banned
whichever goes slowest
Would never have had one of these pieces of **** in any of my cars. How can you check that the data is correct, well you can't you just have to take the companies word for it and the worst thing is it not even an independant company doing the analysis its the fekers who sold you the product in the 1st place.

Is there not a part in the insurance that if the scores are low the premium will go up?

I could be classed as a bad driver if im being honest, however im more concerned about the rubbish drivers and OAPs that shouldn't be on the road, slow drivers are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than fast drivers. Now im not talking about the lunatics that do well over 100 on the motorway.

IMO doing up to 85 on the motorway, 80 on a dual carridgeway and 70 on a single carridge way
The acceleration will probably include from 1st to 2nd gear and then 2nd to 3rd etc etc. It is very very east to accelerate too quickly between certain gears. Basically tell her to pretend there is an egg underneath the pedal and try not to smash it.
Original Poster
Thanks for the replies, slightly faster than a tortoise, but not faster than an OAP, LOL.

MORGAN107 hits the nail on the head, as I emailed Hastings explaining my concerns and their response so far, is that the box doesn't lie. I am looking for evidence that it does to go back to them with.

I'm particularly interested in the effect that going on unmade roads , which we have plenty of around here. The box must have a digital accelerometer and I am wondering if it can be fooled by very bumpy road surfaces.
As a test try to slowly release the clutch pedal without depressing the accelerator pedal.. Do that for every start, release the clutch slowly and the car wil start rolling, then you depress the gas... check the score
Another tip is to not go over 2 or 3 rpm (depending on the car, type of engine, etc).. She's probably not going fast but using high rpm between gears.. Don't know. Maybe that's the case.. List to the engine every time you change gears
Original Poster
Thanks Otto, we have tried this already, using very low rpm gear changes and almost glacial acceleration, but it still shows low scores!
Banned
why not try a car driving camera recorder? you get the video proof instead of data
on my sons box he gets a score out of 10 every journey and keeps getting -2 for speed driving to work, so I followed him one day and he totally stuck to the speed limit and still gave -2 but on way home gets +10 all the time so they are not accurate at all
Original Poster
Thanks for the last 2 posts, very useful. Good idea about the video.
Why not get her to have a 1 hour lesson with a driving instructor sitting in her car?
Original Poster
I spoke to Smartmiles today and they are going to refer my comments back to the company that manage the black boxes for them. They will analyse the data from her box and report back. Customer services were helpful, but did not have any technical knowledge.
Hi, I am having this exact same problem with the same company. My scores are 100/100/75/25 and my old instructor has told me that there's nothing wrong with my driving, Can I ask whether you managed to resolve this issue?
Original Poster
l_s_h

Hi, I am having this exact same problem with the same company. My scores … Hi, I am having this exact same problem with the same company. My scores are 100/100/75/25 and my old instructor has told me that there's nothing wrong with my driving, Can I ask whether you managed to resolve this issue?



Yes, still getting very variable feedback, plus a new problem in that if the car is driven at any time after 10.30pm it scores 0 for Time Of Day for that whole day, which quickly drags your averages down. Spoke to the box installer but they wouldn't help, customer services at Smartmiles have no technical knowledge, so overall will not be renewing this policy. Not worth cancelling the policy as will loose too much money.

Overall SMARTMILES = AVOID
Most boxes use GPS to calculate acceleration and braking not G sensors totally unreliable method ask them to confirm how there boxes measure and 99% sure they will be GPS.

All they do is work out the time taken to drive a set distance and as most people know GPS can fall behind, how may times have you noticed you car is showing in the middle of a field 100 meters away on a sat nav only to be back on the road 2 seconds later work out what that acceleration would equal lol.

BTW the above is not hearsay but direct from Tracker UK the supplier of most the insurance approved boxes.
Original Poster
Thanks for that info. I have been on to Smartmiles again today asking them to investigate further because after the last post here I checked the latest stats which showed the car not driving at night when it actually was! Plus an acclel score of 3 and a brake score of 0 on the same day. Either the Citreon Nemo has had a hell of a tune up or something is amiss. Even Smartmiles had to admit it was odd. We will see......
My son is a new user of a Hastings Direct SmartMiles black box and his first report viewed at their 'dash-board' gives an OK rating of overall 78/100 but is showing: Speed 100/100, Time of day 100/100, braking 65/100 & Acceleration 15/100.

I am concerned that cannot be right as he is still on a provisional and so we have been with him continuously. There are times it is necessary to pull away at junctions, and such, smartly but in a 995cc Toyota Aygo having a 85% fail record can only be a defective interpretation of the data record. Same goes for braking.

He has traffic behind him very often and if he accelerated more gently he would be getting other road users overtaking him constantly, which is a considerable hazard in itself. If he feels he must pull away from junctions with minimal acceleration that too is a false driving parameter which is likely to be more dangerous that just getting on with the job and driving 'with the traffic'.

I am very happy with the speed at 100/100 because I am confident there have been no infractions and the black-box is a useful concept that is set to really encourage him to drive with full diligence. But unfair readings can only undermine this usefulness to the detriment of having the system enthusiastically supported by its users.

"Using a combination of GPS data and the sensitive “black box” style monitoring built into the Quartix Telematics device, rapid acceleration and braking can be accurately recorded and processed." NOT AN ANSWER
http://www.quartix.net/vehicle-tracking/vehicle-tracking-driver-style.asp

Thank you for this useful thread.
Edited by: "A_not_much_go" 20th Jun 2014
Original Poster
Exactly the same experience. Still awaiting the next response from Smartmiles.
Hi, I'm also having the same problem with Smartmiles and am wondering if anyone's got anywhere talking to customer services and whether they've been any use?

I drive a 1.4l Mini and got the policy back in August and have had consistent 0's for both braking and acceleration with a few 20-45's dotted about ever since - surely this is almost impossible for my car? I've also tried more than once to drive as cautiously as possible on a very short journey and the numbers for the days have still come back as 0's for braking and acceleration.

I've called customer service twice and each time they basically told me it was because I live in a hilly area and that they'd get back to me and then never did. They were also fairly certain that the black box was working as it should be but the only time I've had 100 for either acceleration or braking was on a day when I only moved my car on the driveway. Any help or advice would be much appreciated!
this puts me off black boxes.
although i think i'm a safe driver and don't speed, i do get up to 30 very quickly and would probably be judged to be a risk according to these!
Original Poster
Still trying to get an answer, still getting duff data out the box. Not bothered really as I just won't renew with Smartmiles.
Shame as the price was killer and the restrictions reasonable.
I spoke to people at this company: quartix.net/veh…php who apparently make the device but they were unable or unwilling to advice how the unit works, what it measures or anything helpful.

Eventually I got a call back from Hastings who tried to explain to me how the system worked except this individual did not clearly understand the technology or the measured parameters. After a while of this helpful and polite enough fellow trying to fob me off as though I had the technical understanding of a neolithic he gave-up and said that my sons profile was good enough to get a discounted rate next time around and not worry to greatly about details. That they were still developing the meaningfulness of the reporting.

What I can say is the speeding side works too well! I drove the car a while back and the result for me hacking on a bit was NAUGHTY BOY whereas when my son drives he never speeds and the system is correct in giving him 100/100 every day. Same goes for time of day I believe from the call with Hastings - accurate.

So when it come to renewal time we will see if this is just a big fix so they can refuse discount of they will accept the braking/accelerating is junk science and demotivating for these new drivers.
Original Poster
Yes you have mirrored by experience of trying to talk to Quatrix and talking to technically retarded customer service. Our only difference is that I don't think our time of day works properly either. If you drive anytime in the restricted hours of darkness, the score expressed as a % goes to zero. Even Smartmiles agreed it was not correct, but have offered no solution.
has any one had faulty boxes interfering with starting. I found where the box was it was very hot to touch, the car is fine when cold but as soon as the car heats up it wont start.
I'm currently on a SmartMiles black box (with Hastings). I've been on it for the past 5 months since May, and only in November has the acceleration category gone from 0/100 (I don't even rev my car), up to 80's and 90's out of 100. My car is a 1998 model Toyota Starlet, and it's pretty difficult to find a biting point without almost stalling it. I've found though, by slowly finding the biting point so you're just steadily rolling forward (i think someone mentioned it)/almost stalling it, depending on the age of the vehicle, in my care, that that's what has improved my acceleration.

Personally, I'd advise anyone and everyone against getting a black box, it's complete ****. I got quoted £9k (lets repeat that NINE THOUSAND POUNDS - and I'm 20 years old) a year, off FluxDirect after using their learners insurance policy and passing my test, and my dad pretty much forced me onto a black box which is still a hefty £250+ a month.. I'm a pretty good driver, constantly aware of my surroundings, but the ratings consider me crap purely because of my acceleration, and because I work late (usually 4 until half 11/half 12). Even braking can be low sometimes, and I rarely press it that hard.. I've rang on seperate occasions to be told that it'll be checked out.. whether it has or not, is another thing..

Hope you get it sorted out buddy!
my sons having a hell of a time with wise driving, his acceleration and braking is always marked as poor yet overall very good or excellent. His premium was increased by £1800 for this and when we asked for the diagnostics to be investigated on 20/01/15 we are still waiting for reply. He received email on 19/02/15 saying again acceleration/braking poor and could again lead to increase. He virtually only uses his car for a six mile commute round trip to and from work. By the way he passed his hgv class 2 at 18 and has just turned 19 this month so I would say pretty efficient. When customer service were contacted they said he needs to be driving car more as this will help get a better reflection on the data! W T F!!! are they real, use car less is worse than actually more? They said data is analogized by third party so what chance have you to discuss or dispute their data if you have no redress. Wish he'd never had one fitted as its a constant hassle and uphill struggle without accelerating to hard if you get my drift.
Any one else in our situation with this company wise driving we would love your comments and feed back.

Cheers
Mac
I have had one of these for almost a year now, and I find it to be a bit annoying. My initial rating when I first started using it in April 2014 was around 75/100, give or take a few which was 'good' I think. Once I started driving late in summer in excess of 10pm, the whole rating plummeted to 44/100. Up until around August, the acceleration was ALWAYS rated 0, no matter how slow I drove or who drove the car, and on the odd occasion it would go to 4 or 13. I could change gear at 1,500rpm etc to try and sort it out and take a good long time to get up to 30mph, however it would still rate me 0. Suddenly in August it went a lot more realistic, rating my 70/80 per day, however the overall rating was still and still is now 0. Since then it has now started rating my braking score a lot lower, even though I have not changed the way I drive.

The time of day has the biggest influence over everything. For example, on one day this week I was rated 100 for speed and time of day, along with 0 for acceleration and 5 for braking, making the overall score for the day 60. On the day before, I was rated 100 for speed, 24 for time of day, 55 for acceleration and 20 for braking, and the overall rating was down to 45. My rating was 'good' until summer, when it went down for driving at night. It's just a mess, they say they use a 'weighted average' but basically the time of day is the only thing that seems to matter.

I have never bothered to contact them about these issues, as I just assumed it would be a "the box is always right" sort of response that I'd get. I probably won't be renewing with Hastings Direct Smart Miles again. I don't see why I should get penalised for driving at night and having a social life!

Thomas
Original Poster
Just to keep this thread going.
After a year with Smartmiles, my daughters rating maintained 72. Her renewal quote was £502, which was 600 pounds cheaper than last year. It included an extra 100 discount for having a good rating. After the usual race around the screen scraper websites we could not find a better quote and renewed. This is on a Grp 3 car, rural area, 19 yrs old.
Not bad really, so even with all the aggro with the box initially, I think Smartmailes must get a thumbs up from us.
I found this thread today. After her first term with her black box (through Ingenie) her driving report was 100% for everything, since then her scores for speed have deteriorated with every 10 day report. Her Dad told her last time that if her premium went up he would need to sell her car but this today the data claims she has been speeding "consistantly" she is beside herself. She claims that she has deliberately not gone above 30 in the past week- to the point that she has been overtaken several times. We just don't know what to do about it??
This thread makes me love my blackbox.
N
I constantly go over the speed limit and it rarely picks it up, even when it does it hardly affects my score.

Never gone below 95%
Original Poster
I tend to agree, the box rarely seems to register unless you go over the speed limit in a big way.
My experience of these boxes during the last 13 months, is that they give very unreliable data. The insurer cannot admit to this for obvious reasons, so the stonewall every enquiry you make.
Frankly, I now no longer care, this (Smartmiles) is giving good quality cover for an unbeatable price. And if the car gets stolen, at least it has a Tracker in it.
SkyBlu75

This thread makes me love my blackbox.NI constantly go over the speed … This thread makes me love my blackbox.NI constantly go over the speed limit and it rarely picks it up, even when it does it hardly affects my score.Never gone below 95%


What are your acceleration and braking scores like?
louisehb

I found this thread today. After her first term with her black box … I found this thread today. After her first term with her black box (through Ingenie) her driving report was 100% for everything, since then her scores for speed have deteriorated with every 10 day report. Her Dad told her last time that if her premium went up he would need to sell her car but this today the data claims she has been speeding "consistantly" she is beside herself. She claims that she has deliberately not gone above 30 in the past week- to the point that she has been overtaken several times. We just don't know what to do about it??


The data is not accurate and there is no verification of the means by which it is gathered and interpreted so just ignore till renewal time. Then dispute the record. Write to them to record your dispute of the results. If they want to inflate the premium you can direct them to this thread and trading standards.
macgal

my sons having a hell of a time with wise driving, his acceleration and … my sons having a hell of a time with wise driving, his acceleration and braking is always marked as poor yet overall very good or excellent. His premium was increased by £1800 for this and when we asked for the diagnostics to be investigated on 20/01/15 we are still waiting for reply. He received email on 19/02/15 saying again acceleration/braking poor and could again lead to increase. He virtually only uses his car for a six mile commute round trip to and from work. By the way he passed his hgv class 2 at 18 and has just turned 19 this month so I would say pretty efficient. When customer service were contacted they said he needs to be driving car more as this will help get a better reflection on the data! W T F!!! are they real, use car less is worse than actually more? They said data is analogized by third party so what chance have you to discuss or dispute their data if you have no redress. Wish he'd never had one fitted as its a constant hassle and uphill struggle without accelerating to hard if you get my drift.Any one else in our situation with this company wise driving we would love your comments and feed back.CheersMac


If your premium is going to be increased contact trading standards - clearly from the plethora of independent comments on this thread the data is too unreliable to base premiums on and Hastings must know that is the fact. Trading standards will investigate as it look like a fraudulent deception is being carried-out by Hastings against their customers. Maybe they cannot deliver the premium reductions they promise so the system is set to present known to be corrupt data.

Edited by: "A_not_much_go" 26th Mar 2015
A_not_much_go

What are your acceleration and braking scores like?



Always 100%
My son's scores are very varied and since he is on a provisional licence so hence I am with him I know that is not a correct record. I have taken his car out - the only driver for that day - and driven it so gently yet it still records less than 100% on those days. So I know the rating he gets is rubbish - not fact based. If you are getting 100% scores you are very lucky.
Edited by: "A_not_much_go" 31st Mar 2015

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A_not_much_go

My son's scores are very varied and since he is on a provisional licence … My son's scores are very varied and since he is on a provisional licence so hence I am with him I know that is not a correct record. I have taken his car out - the only driver for that day - and driven it so gently yet it still records less than 100% on those days. So I know the rating he gets is rubbish - not fact based. If you are getting 100% scores you are very lucky.



And what makes your driving so perfect?
SkyBlu75

CommentAnd what makes your driving so perfect?


I have been driving for 40 years with 30 plus of those as a qualified IAM advanced driver. I have driven cars and commercial vehicles of every type imaginable, worked for major manufacturers and driven more than a million miles in the UK and overseas. I can diagnose faults in pre-production vehicles and I can make a car do exactly whatsoever it is I intend be that find the limit of its handling on a track or just coxing it along with a delicateness to produce the optimum efficiency. Does that answer your question?

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