Black box car insurance
Telematics car insurance for young drivers will track your driving and can give you cheaper insurance. Also, know as Black Box Car Insurance and Smart Box Car Insurance
What is black box car insurance?
A telematics insurance policy basically means that the insurance company monitors the way you drive this is usually in a ‘black box’ format. A small device that’s fitted to your car and actively feeds back information to the insurer on how safely you’re driving!
So if you drive safely, you could see lower car insurance premiums. However, drive recklessly, and you could face a higher premium.
Another benefit of a telematics box is tracking your car in the event of a theft. As the black box uses GPS, the police can use your black box to track where the location of your vehicle.
How much does black box car insurance cost?
According to MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and March 2020, accurate as of June 2020
It’s hard to say – black insurance policies, and all insurance policies in general, are individual dependent. Your situation and details will determine your costs.
However, black box insurance is a great way to save a significant chunk on your insurance costs, if you’re a very young and inexperience driver.
As you can see on the table, black box insurance is best suited to young drivers, such as 17 to 19-year-olds. As you get older, it becomes less of a good deal.
Remember, black box insurance serves a purpose – it’s a cheaper way to get yourself on the road. There are some restrictions, but they’re minor. Plus, it won’t be forever – in a few years, regular insurance rates won’t be quite as astronomical as they are just now!
Who is black box insurance for?
In general, black box insurance is only for young or inexperienced drivers, who tend to be under the age of 25 because insurers see this age group as the highest risk.
Of course, many young drivers aren’t happy about the prospect of a black box – it can feel like someone is always watching you drive, and seems to take away from the freedom you have.
However, you truly have nothing to worry about if you’re a safe driver! As long as you’re not regularly speeding, putting the foot completely down to accelerate, and emergency braking every time you reach a traffic light, you’ll be fine.
By taking out telematics car insurance, you could achieve lower insurance premiums than with standard (no black box insurance).
According to data**, a considerable proportion of young drivers take out a telematics policy:
- 54% of drivers, between the ages of 17 and 19, take out black box insurance
- 13% of drivers, between the ages of 20 and 24, take out black box insurance.
- 5% of drivers, between the ages of 25 and 29, take out black box insurance.
As you can see, black box insurance is designed for the youngest and most inexperienced drivers.
If you’re just getting on the road, it can be an excellent option to lower your insurance premium. You won’t need it forever!
**According to MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and March 2020, accurate as of June 2020
How does black box insurance work?
Signing up for black box car insurance is very simple. Once you purchase a policy, your insurer will get someone to come out and install the device to your car. The ‘black box’ is about the size of a mobile, and it’ll be placed somewhere that won’t distract you.
Once installed, your insurer will monitor your driving habits and use this data to adjust your premiums!
Drive like a maniac, and you will see much higher premiums. Drive safely, and you’ll get the best bang for your buck.
What information will my insurer track?
The black box uses GPS to send information to your insurer. They will collect the following info:
What time you drive
As people usually get in accidents during the night or rush hour, your premium could rise if this is when you typically drive.
The speed you drive
This means the insurer can make sure that you’re following the speed limit.
Where you drive
Busy roads, motorways, and country-roads – they’re all different. The insurance copy will calculate the risk of where you usually drive.
How often you drive
The more miles on the road, the more chance you could get in an accident.
How can you view your driving information?
Usually, black box insurance providers will send you a link to an online dashboard or a smartphone app. You can look at your driving stats – and analyse your strengths and weaknesses. By working on your weak points, you can improve your driving skills and lower your insurance premiums!
Drive safely to save money
It’s vital to remember that insurers want you to drive safely. It’s in their best interest that you don’t get in an accident (and it’s in yours, too!)
Don’t think that black box insurance means you have to drive well under the speed limit, though. As long as you follow the rules of the road, black box insurance is a great way to lower your insurance premium.
It’s worth noting – your insurer will only use your driving data to calculate your premiums. It will not share your data with the police unless requested as part of a criminal investigation.
Are there different kinds of telematics insurance devices?
Yep! There are a few types of telematics devices available
The black box is by far the most widely used type of telematics cover. Your insurer will arrange for a third-party to install a black box in your car, which uses GPS to track your driving. ‘Black box’ might give off the impression of a large, invasive device, but it’s the size of a mobile. You won’t even notice it’s there.
Similar to black box, plug-and-drive devices also use GPS technology, but rather than installing a black box; your insurer will send you a device that plugs into your car’s charging port or cigarette lighter. You don’t need a third-party to install it.
Nowadays, some insurers offer an app you can install on your smartphone that tracks your driving in the same way, without needing to install a separate device in your car.
How is the black box fitted?
The device, about the size of a phone, is fitted to your dashboard, or even under the car bonnet. Not something you can do yourself, though.
Once you sign up for the insurance policy, your provider will send out a third-party – an approved installer – to fit the box into your car. It’s worth noting here; you need to have the following documents handy before they arrive:
- 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 vehicle if you’re still waiting for the logbook
Are there any extra fees?
Probably unsurprisingly, you’ll have to pay a couple of fees to install and remove the black box. They’re as follows:
- 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 about other telematics?
The appeal of a plug-in device and mobile app is that you can install this yourself!
You won’t have to pay for any installation or removals. However, sometimes plug-in and mobile app telematics are more expensive overall.
You’ll need to compare each on an individual basis, and whether it’s worth just paying the fees for the black box.
Common black box insurance myths
There’s likely some exclusions on your policy (as with all insurance policies), but don’t fall for the myths – it’s really not that restrictive. For instance, you probably won’t be penalised for:
Curfews: Don’t worry, you can still drive when you want. However, you are more likely to be in an accident when it’s dark outside. You won’t be actively restricted from doing so. But, if it’s a regular habit, you could see a slight increase in premiums.
Long/frequent drives: You aren’t restricted to a trip to Asda and back once a week. You’re not limited to how much you can drive, but again, you may see a higher premium if you log high mileage.
However, it’s vital that you still check for any curfew or mileage limits, as it’s not unheard off. Some black box and telematic policies can impose a mileage limit if they want to – make sure this is realistic before you sign on the dotted line.
If you’re a shift-worker, you must find the right black box policy for you. Investigate the fine print and make sure you won’t get heavily penalised for driving at night. There’s no harm in picking up the phone to a prospective insurance company.