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Black box car insurance

Compare black box car insurance quotes

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What is black box insurance?

Black box car insurance is a type of telematics policy that involves your insurer having a device installed in your car that can monitor your driving habits.

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.

How does black box insurance work?

When the black box device is 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. Your insurer will use your black box device to collect information about:

  • How you drive

    For example, how you steer, brake, and take corners, how fast you drive and whether you stick to limits

  • 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 much you drive

    The more time you spend on the road the more likely you are to have a road accident 

What other types of telematics insurance are there?

The black box might be the most common type of telematics insurance, but it isn’t the only. You’ll also be able to find policies with the following:

  • Plug-in devices

    Rather than a black box, you’ll use a plug-in device that slots into your cigarette lighter – it’s equipped with GPS so it works in the same way

     

  • Smartphone app

    Ditching extra devices altogether, some insurers offer a telematics app that uses your smartphone’s GPS to gather information about your driving

     

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How much does a black box reduce car insurance?

 

Telematics cover might not immediately be cheaper than a standard car insurance policy, but if you drive safely and sensibly, your insurer may give you a discount on premiums in return. Other factors such as when you drive and how many miles you cover also have an impact, so avoiding rush hour and curfew times may also result in savings.

Telematics insurance providers collect and analyse data about your driving in different ways, so it’s worth checking how your insurer calculates your driving score.

 

Age Band Has telematics? Percentage Average annual premiums

17 to 19

No

55.5%

£1,856.64

Yes

44.5%

£1,711.57

20 to 24

No

55.5%

£1,247.86

Yes

44.5%

£1,115.23

25 to 29

No

60.0%

£821.24

Yes

40.0%

£701.57

30 to 39

No

61.9%

£615.14

Yes

38.1%

£542.04

40 to 49

No

67.9%

£478.76

Yes

32.1%

£453.12

50 to 64

No

77.5%

£320.31

Yes

22.5%

£311.16

65 or Above

No

85.2%

£294.11

Yes

14.8%

£265.64

Based on fully comprehensive car insurance policies with one driver holding a full UK drivers licence. MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and March 2022, accurate as of April 2022.

 

Why choose black box car insurance

Black box insurance policies offer certain benefits you won’t get with other types of cover, such as:

  • Improved driving skill

    Black box insurance can help anyone – young or old – get better at driving by providing feedback on where you can improve while taking corners or braking 

  • loans icon

    Help for convicted drivers

    Older drivers with a history of convictions can also take advantage of telematics, as it can lower the cost of cover made more expensive by past infractions

Sara Newell

Our expert says

"Telematics policies can provide feedback on your driving and help you become a safer driver. They can also be cheaper than traditional insurance policies, particularly for younger drivers. The more responsibly you drive, the lower your premiums are likely to be in the future. Don’t forget choosing fully comprehensive cover and paying annually can bring costs down."

- Sara Newell, Motor and Van Insurance Lead

Why compare black box car insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket?

Our mission is to make finding cheap car insurance easier – and when you take out cover with MoneySuperMarket you can benefit from:

  • rosette image

    MoneySuperMarket discounts

    Everyone deserves to save money – in fact, almost a quarter of people comparing car insurance quotes with us received a MoneySuperMarket price cut in their results*

  • car monitor image

    Renewal reminders

    Our car monitor gives you reminders on your road tax and MOT, as well as showing your MOT history and car valuation – helping you stay up to date, so you never miss a renewal

  • Live chat support image

    Support from our team

    Our live chat tool is there so our experts can guide you through the car insurance question set, offering tailored support during business hours to help you get the right policy for the right price

 

*24.43% of customers completing a quote through MoneySuperMarket received a price cut quote in their top 10 results. Based on MoneySuperMarket quotes between May 2021 and May 2022

The way your device will be installed depends on the type of device you’re using – a black box is usually installed by a professional at the arrangement of your insurer. If you chose a plug-and-drive device it will be sent to your address, and you’ll just need to plug it into your car’s charging port or cigarette lighter.

If you opt for an app you’ll just need to download and install it and it will track your driving automatically through GPS.

The cost of installation if you get a black-box is often, but not always, taken care of by your insurer. However there are also some other fees or charges you should be aware of, including:

  • Reinstallation if you change cars
  • Removal fees
  • Damage fees – and your policy could be cancelled if it’s deliberate
  • Breaking curfew
  • Breaking speed limits
  • Missing your installation appointment

It will depend on the type of telematics insurance you have in place, but if you’ve got a black box installed anyone else who drives your car will affect your driver score. If you’ve got telematics through an app or a plug-and-drive device this won’t be the case, as you should be able to control when your driving is monitored.

If someone else is driving your car, or you’re driving someone else’s, the driver must have an adequate level of car insurance in place – whether it’s their own policy or as a named driver on the main driver’s policy.

Depending on the provider and type of telematics device you have, it may be able to detect if you’re involved in a road accident – usually by measuring force of impact. The device can send your location to the emergency services, and the data provided may even be able to help insurers determine what caused the accident and whether you were at fault.

Technology can come to the rescue of 17-year-old drivers in the form of black-box insurance. With this kind of policy, a tracking device is fitted to your car and records when, where and how you drive – and it can have a big impact on the cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds.

A number of insurers now offer so called telematics policies and it’s a good idea to compare prices as you may be able to save money.

If you have a plug-and-drive device or you use an app, changing car shouldn’t be a huge hassle, but if you have a black box installed it’s somewhat trickier. Your insurer will arrange the installation of a new box in your new car and the old box will be deactivated – this may be for no cost, but some providers charge up to £150 for the service.

As with any insurance policy you’ll be able to cancel when you want to, but you may face an early cancellation fee if you do so before the policy term is finished. If you do choose to cancel, your insurer will deactivate your monitoring device so you won’t send any more driving data.

If you have a black box you can choose whether you want it removed or not, though as mentioned above this may cost up to £150.

If your policy ends and you want to change providers, your current insurer will deactivate your account and device so they won’t receive any more data. If you have a black box and you want it removed, you might have to pay the removal fee.

If you’re driving abroad you should still be covered by your policy, though you’ll need to check with your insurer whether your driving is still assessed.

Pay-as-you-go car insurance  adjusts your premiums based on how you drive. Pay-per-mile and pay-per-hour premiums are based on how much you drive, either by mileage or time on the road, but telematics insurance also factors in when and how well you drive. 

Telematics and black box car insurance can help young drivers get cheaper car insurance, but you can also try the following:

  • Temporary cover: Take out short term cover lasting days, weeks or months instead of a full year if you only use your car occasionally – and get a SORN for when you don’t use it

  • Named driver insurance: Add a more experienced named driver like a parent or guardian to share responsibility of the vehicle – just be honest about who the main driver is or you could be guilt of fronting

Your insurer will keep your driving data safe and secure, generally just using it to monitor your driving habits and checking any claims you make or someone else makes against you. They may also share it with their business partners, but they won’t sell it.

For youngsters getting their first taste of independence, you might be worried about your insurer sharing information about your whereabouts with your parents. Generally this won’t be the case – any data your insurer does keep will be available to view on your customer portal online or in the app, and only the policy holder will have access to this.

Keep in mind that if you’re involved in a road accident your insurer may share data about your location with the authorities and any emergency contacts if you have one.

If your telematics device is a black box, they’re usually self-contained so they shouldn’t have any effect on your car. The same should go for an app on your mobile phone, however plug-and-drive devices that plug into your car’s charger or cigarette lighter might take up some of your car’s battery power.

Historically telematics insurance policies implemented a curfew to prevent people driving during later hours, with fines for people who broke the curfew – but these aren’t as common as they were. There might still be penalties for driving after certain hours however, namely increased premiums or a negatively impacted driving score. To be sure, check with the provider so you know what the rules are before signing up to a policy that you won’t be comfortable with.

Breaking traffic laws while driving a car with telematics installed will negatively affect your driving score, however insurers generally won’t immediately share this with authorities. However the police can request access to driver data by going through the courts, while insurers can also share if you give permission for them to do so.

Your telematics device won’t interfere with your car at all – this means it won’t control the radio, lights, wipers or heating.

Current devices don’t record audio in your car – only specific information about your driving such as speed and acceleration, how you take corners and the number of miles you drive.

Telematics devices can’t disable your car, and while many used to have curfews these are becoming less common. Driving during later hours can sometimes affect your premiums – it’s best to check with your insurer for their rules on night drives.

You won’t be restricted in how many miles you can drive in your car, but you will have to give an estimated mileage when you take out the policy – and the fewer miles you drive the less you’ll pay. However, if you do go over this estimate you might end up paying more in premiums.

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