Carrot Car Insurance: Driving Costs Down for Kids

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First timer drivers face a Herculean task when it comes to getting insured on their first car. At the moment the Bank of Mum and Dad is the easiest way to get a son or daughter insured on a reasonable car without paying a fortune on insurance premiums – but this also means Mum and Dad’s well earned no claims can also be on the line.

But there is another way: Carrot Insurance; and the clue is in the name. Carrot Insurance utilises a unique carrot-and-stick model whereby young drivers are rewarded by safe driving with monthly cash rewards reducing the overall cost of insurance depending on how safe their driving has been every 3 months.

Using a telematics unit – the i-box – Carrot has created a bespoke driver feedback platform that offers total transparency and a genuine opportunity for the customers to feel fully engaged in the process of driving safety.

The i-box is supplied and fitted to your car at no additional cost by a member of Carrot’s expert mobile installations team, making sure the box is installed within two weeks of your policy start date. And as soon as it’s done and the i-box is activated, the Carrot send customers an exclusive Carrot Card prepaid MasterCard, which is loaded with a £20 welcome bonus – and the card is then used by Carrot to pay cash rewards to drivers depending on your quarterly driver score.

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Drivers using the system have access to their Driving Style score via an online dashboard, meaning you can see the impact on every journey has on the overall scoring and value of cash rewards you can earn. Carrot has also implemented a social media focus, meaning users can post their Driving Style scores across on Facebook and see how they compare with their friends and family.

The way the score is a worked out is by monitoring driving style such as acceleration, braking, swerving, and the number, and length of journeys, made. This information is then compiled into three categories – speed, smoothness and usage – those are then combined to an overall Driving Style score, from which quarterly rewards are calculated, with customers being able to earn up to a maximum of 15% off their annual premium via cash rewards.

“We’re finding that the combination of lower premiums, generous Driving Style cash rewards, refer-a-friend rewards and further cashback from our retail partners offers something really refreshing and genuinely appealing to young drivers.”

Ed Rochfort, Carrot Insurance

At the outset, policyholders choose their annual mileage – between 3,000 and 7,000 to start with – but can buy Top-Up miles should they need more. This enables them to pay only for the miles they need, helping them get on to the road much more affordably in the first place.

A £20 welcome bonus is paid to every customer that receives a Carrot Card at the inception of his or her policy and is paid subsequently as a reward for having their i-box installed and activated. If the policyholder improves on their Driving Style starting score, cash rewards are paid on to a Carrot prepaid MasterCard card at the end of each quarter.

The Carrot Card enables the holder to earn cashback when used at a network of high street retailers, including Topshop, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Halfords and Zizzi – making their cash rewards go even further.

A £40 cash reward is also paid to the customer for each friend that goes on to buy a policy as a result of Carrot’s unique Facebook App

Back to School: 5 Must-Have Student Gadgets

Summer might still be hanging around, but it’s not long until the days will start to cool off again, and students will be back at college or university. If you’re hitting the books this autumn, or you know someone who is, here is a list of 5 must-have gadgets that will help you through the academic year ahead.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones used to be the territory of the gadget elite, but market competition and cheaper technology has made them a popular choice among the general population too. If you have a long commute to university, or simply need to block out the sound of noisy flatmates, noise-cancelling headphones like the Audio Technica ATH-ANC7b QuietPoint® Active Noise-cancelling Headphones are a sturdy, budget choice. Noise-cancelling headphones start at around £25, but the cheaper versions can vary in quality. Audio Technica’s headphones retail for around £70.

iPad

The Apple iPad has become a must-have accessory for students and professionals alike. There isn’t much you can’t do on an iPad, and its portability makes it perfect for reading, writing and browsing online. You can also purchase a wide range of apps through the Apple Store to enhance your studies – and make the most out of your down time. The new iPad starts at £399, or £499 with built-in 3G capabilities.

HP All-In-One Printer Scanner

Save multiple trips to the library and spare change on photocopying with an all-in-one printer and scanner, like the HP Deskjet 3050A. Scan and copy pages, and enjoy the convenience of wireless and e-mail printing. The HP Deskjet 3050A’s e-printing capabilities means you can email documents from any device, including iPad, iPod Touch and smartphones. Despite its multi-purpose design, the printer is small enough to fit almost anywhere. The HP Deskject 3050A retails for £40.

Kensington Laptop Lock

The Kensington laptop lock slots into your computer, and enables you to attach your machine to a nearby table, pipe or similar sturdy object. The principle is similar to that of a bike lock, and it can prevent opportunistic theft of your most valuable items. Several variations of the Kensington lock are available. You can also purchase slot adapters to use with flat-screen monitors, docking stations, tablet PCs, printers, and any other compatible device. Locks start at around £14.99.

GadgetTrak

GadgetTrak isn’t technically a gadget in itself, but it will help protect your much-loved devices. You can install this software on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry or Android, and use it if your device gets stolen. Once installed, GadgetTrak will locate your device, and even sends you a photo of the thief. GadgetTrack have different products for iOS, other mobile devices and laptops. Protection starts at £2.50 for the iOS app.

Parago home contents insurance iPhone app

Hey let’s talk about home contents insurance! Did you just fall asleep? I know I did. Yet as a pulled myself back to consciousness, draped over my MacBook Air, I realised that protecting my svelte over-priced laptop from thieving hands was probably a good idea.

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That’s where Parago come in. Whilst there are conventional means to insure your valuables, I’m unlikely to use them and mediating a dull task via an app is a sure-fire way to get geeks interested.

On average, every household is unwittingly under-insured by 30 per cent on their home contents policy, with the majority discovering the shortfall only when they make an insurance claim; at which point it is too late to rectify.  Furthermore, over 90 per cent could not make an accurate claim in the event of a major loss. Of course this is using data supplied by Parago, who clearly have a vested interest in you insuring your property – but to be fair there are lots of things in a house that you simply overlook – and insurance is always a tedious and complicated business.

ParagoHome.com is simple to use, and can be accessed via a PC and/or Apple iPhone/iPod touch. 90 per cent of the asset discovery and recording process can be done whilst on the move.  The application enables you create to a virtual image of your home and add contents to each room with the aid of asset icons. You can then take high resolution pictures of all your assets (including audio equipment, home furnishings, jewellery, children’s toys, artwork and clothing) and attach these to the asset icon.

You can also store photographs of receipts, invoices and certificates against each asset. Accessing your account via a PC will enable you to add more data to each asset should you not be able to locate any paperwork. ParagoHome.com helps you record every asset at its true value, ensuring you have all the information needed for a fast-track claim.

Parago also helps you to insure typically neglected items. When I thought about what needed insuring, my mind went to my computer, consoles, TVs and related media (like my film collection). It never occurred to me to insure my clothes (the average UK wardrobe is worth £10,000 and my Scud the Disposable Assassin T-Shirts are priceless), my kitchen goods (like my oven, washing machine or fridge) or even my carpet. Parago is especially good at focusing your mind on these items, and wandering your house snapping pics of everything you possess is a strange experience but one that probably needed doing.

The Parago app is £4.99 and the online tool costs £2 per month.