Black box car insurance

See quotes for black box car insurance that uses a device in your car to monitor your driving, and could make your insurance cheaper.

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Is black box insurance right for you?

Last updated: February 2021

Black box insurance can be a great way to keep your premiums down, especially if you are a new or young driver. Here is everything you need to know about how it works, and how to find the best policy.

How does black box insurance work?

It is a type of car insurance policy that monitors your actual driving using a GPS-enabled black box, or telematics system, that connects to your insurer.

Depending on your policy, that means you can save money by driving less, driving at safer times and even being smoother in your braking and cornering. If you are in a crash, the black box also records this, and can even alert the authorities that you might be in need of help.

However, speeding, driving too much or at less safe time - as well as harsh braking - could see you pay more.

What are the pros and cons of black box insurance?

You would think that any insurance that sets the premium you pay on your own driving rather than bunching you up with every other driver of your age, would be roundly welcomed.

However, even though black box insurance is designed to offer cheaper quotes, based on your driving performance, it’s not without its critics. Here are the arguments on both sides:

Pros:

  • Good driving equals lower premiums

  • It encourages safe driving

  • It can help locate your car if stolen

  • It can alert authorities if you crash

Cons:

  • Bad driving means higher premiums, but it is the insurer that decides what constitutes ‘bad’ driving - and this might not take account of road conditions or other factors

  • Some insurers charge for installation and removal of the black box

  • It may not suit high mileage drivers

  • It may restrict your driving

How is the black box fitted?

Most insurers will arrange a convenient time for an installer to visit you at your home or place of work and install the box. You will usually have 14 days to have the box installed, after which the insurer may cancel your policy.

Some insurers offer boxes that you can simply plug into the 12V outlet in your car yourself. You must keep it plugged in when driving. Remember, it has GPS tracking and smart functionality, so if you take your car out for a spin with the device offline it will know.

How it tracks your driving

Depending on the policy you buy, your black box will record one or more of the following:

  • Speed

  • Braking

  • Acceleration

  • Cornering

  • The time of day you drive

  • The number of miles you cover

  • Type of roads you drive on

Most policies constantly monitor your driving, sending data after each journey or every day. Some only require you to use the box for a short period, for example three months, after which you return the box and they adjust your premiums based on the data collected.

Driving restrictions and curfews

Some policies set a curfew after which you are not allowed to drive, usually during the night. Driving at night is statistically when you are most likely to have an accident, so your insurer may place a curfew on driving between 11pm and 5am to reduce the risk.

If you know you will need to drive at night, for work for example, find out how much this could affect the cost of your cover.

Most insurers will review any breach of curfew on a case-by-case basis, so if you had to drive at night due to an emergency you may not be penalised.

If you break your curfew your premiums could increase, or you could be charged a penalty of up to £100.

Who is telematics insurance for?

Telematics cover can reduce premiums for different types of driver including:

Young and new drivers

Drivers aged 17-24 are the most likely to make a claim, and therefore the most expensive to insure. Black box insurance means your cover can be tailored to your driving habits, not those of everyone in your age range.

Careful drivers

If you are a sensible driver, a black box policy could prove this to your insurer and earn you a discount.

Low mileage drivers

Black box policies look closely at how much you drive, and the fewer miles you cover, the less you will usually pay.

Daytime drivers

When calculating your premium, many providers look at when you drive. Night time driving is riskier than driving during the day, so if you rarely drive after dark you could save money. Likewise, people who commute or otherwise travel in rush hours pay more.

Not only can a black box mean cheaper insurance, but it can also make you a safer driver too by encouraging sensible driving.

Who is black box insurance not for?

If you are an experienced driver with a good number of no claims behind you it is unlikely that a black box policy will be of benefit. Your no claims already show you are a safe driver and will offer a better discount, typically up to 75%, than a black box policy can offer.

How can I save money with a black box?

The best way to save is to drive sensibly and within the rules of the black box policy.

Each insurer will use the data they collect differently, so look carefully at how your premium and driver scores are calculated to make sure you are doing everything you can to get the best rating and cut the cost of your insurance.

Try to plan your journeys to avoid peak driving times and curfews. If you drive at rush hour every day this could increase your premium, even if you drive safely.

Most insurers will provide regular feedback on your driving by email, so if there is something specific that is increasing your score you can take steps to correct it.

Is black box car insurance always cheaper?

Black box car insurance is really intended to help those who either get quoted high insurance because they don’t have much road experience or are in a high-risk age group, or they feel they are paying over the odds for their limited road use.

If you have a good track record behind the wheel, with plenty of claims-free years under your belt, it may not be worthwhile, but that’s no reason not to consider it when shopping around for car insurance.

On this point, be aware that black box policies frequently come with additional fees specific to this type of cover. So check policies before buying for the following:

  • Black box installation of from £50

  • Fine for missing installation appointment of up to £100

  • Changing car, up to £100

  • Damage to the box, up to £150 if deliberate and your policy could be cancelled

  • Black box removal, up to £80 of more if the policyholder attempts to remove the box

  • Penalties for breaking curfew, typically up to £100

Where can you find black box insurance?

There are a number of specialist providers that offer black box insurance. You can find a list of telematics insurers on the black box comparison page.

If you already have a policy, ask your insurer if you can transfer to black box cover. If they do not offer it, work out if it is worth cancelling your policy and paying a cancellation fee, and taking out a telematics policy elsewhere.

Black box car insurance FAQs

What is a black box?

Where is the black box fitted?

What does it track?

What if I drive badly?

What happens if my black box breaks?

Do I need to do anything to manage the black box?

Can I get the black box removed at a later date?

Can it help locate the car if stolen?

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