Over a quarter of UK drivers (27%) would refuse to have a 'black box' tracking device fitted to their cars, even if it dramatically reduced the cost of their insurance, according to research released by personal finance site moneysupermarket.com.
The news comes as insurer Norwich Union says it will launch its 'pay as you drive' insurance scheme - which requires an in-car telematics black box to be fitted to the car - to all UK motorists.
But a survey of 2475 adults commissioned by moneysupermarket.com found that UK customers view the 'snooping device' as a step too far and even the prospect of slashed insurance costs would not encourage many drivers to have a box installed.
If offered up to 30% off insurance costs, less than one in ten (nine per cent) would be willing to have a black-box fitted. More than one in four (27%) wouldn't even contemplate installing such a device in their car, no matter how much it could save them on motor insurance.
Around a fifth of drivers (20%) would want to see their insurance costs cut by at least 50% before they even consider trying out a black box.
Richard Mason, director of insurance at moneysupermarket.com, says with the potential savings that can be made to the cost of insurance, there is no doubt that pay-as-you-drive insurance schemes and black-box technology will be a big part of the motoring future, but it is clear that some drivers will need time to get used to these 'big brother' tactics.
"Our research shows that insurers could face the cold shoulder from the driving public as long as there is a significant number of motorists who feel they will never install this device in their cars," says Mason.
He says insurance companies need to educate British drivers about the black-box technology.
Norwich Union began pilots of its 'pay as you drive' programme in February 2002. Under an agreement signed with US insurer Progressive, the firm rolled out a number of black box devices which record the time, distance and location of a vehicle's journeys. This allows monthly insurance payments to be calculated based on how often, when and where a vehicle is actually used.
Mason says several other firms are continuing to trial these schemes and others will follow suit shortly.
With certain 'black box' schemes, it will also be possible for the motorist's driving profile to be viewed on the Internet, potentially allowing parents to check their children's driving.