What is a black box?

How black box car insurance works

By Mehdi Punjwani on Thursday 18 February 2021

If you’re under 25 it’s likely you’ll face higher car insurance premiums – here’s how black box car insurance can help

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What is black box car insurance?

Black box car insurance is when your car insurance provider uses a piece of telematics equipment – known as a black box – to monitor and set your premiums based on your driving habits.

How does black box car insurance work?

When you take out a black box car insurance policy, your insurer will arrange for a third party to install the black box device in your car. It’s small – around the size of a mobile phone – and they’ll usually place it in a discreet location, so you won’t be able to see the device.

When it’s installed and activated your insurer will be able to collect information about your driving habits and use this data to adjust your premiums. If you drive safely and responsibly your insurer will reward you with lower premiums – depending on your insurer, it will either adjust your premiums every month or when you renew your policy after a year.

Black box and other telematics insurance policies give insurers a more accurate idea of how risky a driver you are, rather than relying on general statistics that don’t always show young or inexperienced drivers in a good light.

Does a black box work with any car?

A black box device can generally be fitted onto any type of car, regardless of make or model.

How do I remove a black box?

You can ask your insurer to arrange for a technician to visit and remove the black box – it won’t leave any permanent marking on your vehicle.

What are black box insurance rules?

Some black box insurance providers will have certain rules in place as part of your policy. These can include:

  • Mileage limits: The more time you spend on the road the more likely you are to be involved in a road incident
  • A curfew: Accidents are more likely to occur at late night or early morning, so limiting the amount of driving you do at these times reduces the risk

How long do I have to have a black box for?

Black box car insurance policies generally last for 12 months – after which you can renew, or compare prices again to find a better deal.

How is the black box installed?

Your insurer should send an approved mechanic or installer to fit the black box in your car. You’ll also probably need to show certain documents, so it’s best to have the following to hand:

  • Your driving licence or documents to show you’ve passed your test
  • Your car’s logbook or V5C to prove you own it, or documents to show you’ve purchased the car if you’re still waiting for the logbook

Who is black box car insurance for?

Black box car insurance and any type of telematics cover is generally suited to groups seen as ‘high-risk’ by insurance providers, as it allows you to prove you’re a safe and responsible driver. This means you might be able to benefit if you’re:

The more driving convictions you have on your record, the more a telematics policy could reduce your car insurance premiums

Based on fully comprehensive policies with one driver holding a full UK licence, with telematics cover. MoneySuperMarket data collected between July and December 2020, accurate as of January 2021

How much does black box car insurance cost?

A black box car insurance policy may offer an initial saving for young drivers – in fact, those aged 17-19 pay an average of over £200 less a year when they have telematics cover.* But the real opportunity comes once you’ve taken the cover out and have begun driving.

It’s almost like building a no-claims bonus, but instead you’re building a reputation as a sensible driver – and when car insurance providers see your driving data, they’ll recognise this and generally offer lower premiums.

It’s worth noting however, the older you get the less likely you are to see any benefit to having a black box policy – they’re geared more towards young and inexperienced motorists.

Those aged 17-19 pay an average of over £200 less a year when they have telematics cover

Based on fully comprehensive policies with one driver holding a full UK licence, with and without telematics cover. MoneySuperMarket data collected between July and December 2020, accurate as of January 2021

Are there any extra fees involved in black box car insurance?

When you take out a black box car insurance policy, there are certain fees you’ll have to pay that aren’t usually applied to either plug-and-drive devices or smartphone apps, including:

  • Installation fees: To have the black box fitted in your car by an approved installer
  • Removal fees: When your policy comes to an end and they stop monitoring your driving
  • Transfers/reinstallation: Fees if you want to change the car being monitored
  • Repair/replacement costs: If you cause damage to the black box

What information will my car insurance provider collect about me?

Your insurer will use your black box device to collect information about:

  • When you drive: As you’re statistically more likely to be involved in an accident when driving at night or in rush hour
  • Where you drive: As busy roads, motorways, countryside roads and town centres all present different driving challenges
  • How fast you drive: And whether you stick to speed limits
  • How much you drive: The more time you spend on the road the higher the chance of an accident
  • How you drive: For example, how you steer, brake, and take corners

How can I see the information about my driving?

Most black box insurance providers will let you see your driving stats online, either through its website or an app on your phone. This way you’ll be able to see where your strengths and weaknesses are, so you can make an effort to improve your driving and lower your premiums as a result.

Who else can see the information about my driving?

Your insurer won’t use your driving data for anything aside from calculating your premiums. It also won’t share the data with the police unless it’s been requested as part of a criminal investigation.

Compare black box car insurance

It’s easier and quicker to find cheaper car insurance quotes when you compare black box policies with MoneySuperMarket. Just give us a few details about yourself, your car and your driving history, and we’ll put together a list of quote to suit your needs.

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