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If you’re looking for ways to drive down the cost of your car insurance cover, black box or telematics insurance can help.

Compare insurance quotes today with mustard.co.uk and see how much you could save with a telematics policy.

Jump to section

  • Who is black box insurance for?
  • How does black box insurance work?
  • What does telematics cover?
  • Can black box insurance save me money?
  • Can black box insurance be cancelled?
  • Can a black box detect a collision?
  • Do you have a curfew with a telematics policy?
  • How do I check my telematics/black box information?
  • FAQs
  • Useful links

Jump to section

  • Who is black box insurance for?
  • How does black box insurance work?
  • What does telematics cover?
  • Can black box insurance save me money?
  • Can black box insurance be cancelled?
  • Can a black box detect a collision?
  • Do you have a curfew with a telematics policy?
  • How do I check my telematics/black box information?
  • FAQs
  • Useful links

What is black box insurance?

Black box insurance is a type of car insurance policy that uses information about your driving to influence premiums – it’s also known as telematics insurance

If you take out black box insurance, your provider will monitor your driving using a telematics device (the ‘black box’). If you stick to the rules of the road, you could be rewarded with a lower premium. Take a look at our car insurance providers here.

In terms of car insurance, black box policies are relatively new (the very first policies were launched in the early 00s). The technology on the other hand, has been around since the 1960s and helped pioneer GPS technology and data collection.

Black box devices are usually very discreet and, in most cases, they’ll be fitted so you can’t see it – typically under your dashboard. Some devices are portable and can be plugged in but again they’re usually very small and aren’t noticeable.

A common concern with black boxes is whether it can affect your car warranty. Rest assured that a professionally fitted black box devices won’t void or affect your car warranty. If you are worried, it’s always advisable to double check with the dealership you bought your car from or warranty supplier.

Also – in case you’re wondering – black box technology in cars and aeroplanes is similar but while black boxes in cars are actually black, they’re bright orange in planes. 

Black Box insurance advice and FAQs

Who is black box car insurance for?

Black box insurance is for anyone looking to lower their premiums through consistently good driving. With that in mind, black box policies tend to be popular with drivers aged 25 or under because young drivers typically pay significantly higher than average premiums. 

One of the reasons why younger drivers pay more for car cover, is because figures show they’re involved in more road accidents compared to drivers of other age groups. Sadly, the general trend shown by these statistics, means that all younger drivers are considered a greater risk to insure. Black box cover is in response to that, and a way for young drivers who drive well, to be rewarded for their efforts. 

However, black box car insurance doesn’t just benefit young drivers. If you don’t drive very often or you’re back on the road after a driving conviction, black box cover could help lower your premiums too. 

Bear in mind that most black box policies have age restrictions in place with some insurers setting limits at 24 or 25. There are a handful of policies with no limits in place so if you are over 25 and interested in telematics car insurance, then it’s still worth comparing quotes.

What are the benefits of black box car insurance?

If you consistently drive safely, you can benefit from reduced car insurance premiums. If you’re entitled to a reduction, it’s usually given at renewal, but some insurers will use the black box data to review premiums after a few months. 

As well as lower premiums, some policies will also offer bonus miles on top of the miles you agree not to exceed in your policy.

Another benefit of having a black box is that your insurer will be able to track down your car if it’s stolen by using the GPS in the device.

 

How does black box insurance work?

All black box insurance collects data on your driving through GPS. However, the information can be collected in a few ways – it’s usually through a telematics device which is fitted to your car, but it could be a plug-in device, or an app on your smartphone. 

The type of data collected depends on the insurer, but it’s usually information about:

  • When you drive
  • The type of roads you drive on
  • How many miles you cover
  • Braking, cornering and acceleration
  • The speed you drive at compared to any limits in place.

Using all this data, your insurer will rate your driving and use this score to determine or amend your premium accordingly – with safer drivers earning the greatest discounts and rewards. 

Some insurers will send you regular updates on your score – perhaps along with tips for improvement. Alternatively, you can check your rating online if your insurer has this option set up. 

How long does it take to fit a telematics box?

If your insurer uses a fitted device to record data, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to install but your insurer will agree a convenient time with you. 

A common black box insurance myth is that the telematics box is large and can affect your car’s warranty. In the UK, this isn’t the case and telematics boxes tend to be small smartphone sized devices and because they don’t connect to your car’s internal systems, it shouldn’t affect your warranty. 

The box itself contains GPS technology to track your location (like phones and sat nav). They’ll also include a sensor to record how the car is driven and a SIM card to store the data and relay it to your insurer. 

Does the black box need to be fitted before I can drive?

In most cases, no – you won’t need to have a telematics device fitted before you can drive. As with all car insurance, your policy will begin on your agreed start date. It’s worth noting that while you don’t need a device installed immediately you might need it fitted within a certain time frame (usually 14 days). 

What does telematics insurance cover?

Telematics is another name for black box insurance which is a type of policy that uses a device to monitor your driving. If you drive consistently well and abide by the rules of the road, then you could enjoy lower premiums.

Telematics car insurance generally gives you comprehensive cover which means your insurer will compensate other people for damage you cause and will also pay to fix your car if you’re involved in an accident. 

Some insurers will also offer third party, fire and theft cover which pays for damage you cause but will only compensate you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire. 

Does my car have a telematic black box already?

Cars don’t come with black box devices pre-fitted so, unless you already have telematics car insurance and have had a device fitted, then your car is highly unlikely to have one already installed.

Can black box car insurance save me money?

The good news is that black box insurance can save you money, but it really comes down to the way you drive. Drive safely and you could see your premiums fall more quickly with a telematics policy compared to accumulating no claims discounts. 

Having a telematics box installed can also be a genuine eye-opener because the reality is that most of us drive very differently to how we think we do. With that in mind, if you notice any bad habits creeping in, take a minute to reassess them, for example:

  • Check that you’re driving within the speed limit. It sounds obvious but it’s easy to get distracted so remember, it’s a limit and not a target – especially on rural roads where there are concealed farm entrances, walkers and cyclists.
  • Try to brake and accelerate as smoothly and consistently as you can. Constant harsh braking followed by acceleration isn’t just rough on your car, it could have a negative impact on premiums too.
  • Take corners as steadily as you can. This shows you’re looking ahead at what’s coming up and are in full control of your car. 

What else affects the cost of telematics car insurance?

Everything your insurer monitors is likely to affect the cost of your car insurance. For instance, insurers often look at the type of roads you drive on. This is because statistics show more than 80% of fatalities happen on country roads compared to 14% on urban streets and 5% on motorways. Thanks to those statistics, drivers in towns might be offered lower premiums compared to country dwellers when it comes to black box cover.

Similarly, if you drive at peak times, early in the morning or late at night when accidents are more likely to occur, you could end up paying more for your insurance. Plus, don’t forget – the more miles you cover and the longer you spend on the road – the greater the chance of being involved in an accident which can push up premiums too. 

Other than how, where and when you drive, your car and driving history can have an impact on premiums too. For example, premiums could be higher than average if you’ve got an expensive or heavily modified car purely because it can cost more to repair after an accident. Driving convictions can also mean high premiums as can a recent claim.

Is black box insurance worth it?

Black box insurance can help you lower the cost of car insurance but whether it’s right for you, will depend on your age, your driving habits and your location. 

As with other types of car cover, the best way to find the right black box insurance policy for you is to compare various different policies and see what each has to offer. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you think a black box insurance policy is right for you. If you’re a young and inexperienced driver or if you have any driving convictions, then it can be a good way to lower the cost of car cover.

Remember that while black box cover uses your driving data to calculate premiums, there are other factors that influence the cost of insurance.

Can black box insurance be cancelled?

You can cancel your black box policy  at any time – just bear in mind there may be cancellation or admin charges, especially if you change your mind after your cooling off period. Your insurer also has the right to cancel the policy if data shows that you consistently speed, drive dangerously or have broken any rules outlined in your black box policy.

If you sell your car then you’ll need to remove the black box – unless the device was factory fitted. However, in most cases, once your black box is installed, you won’t be able to switch it off and they’re usually sealed and tamper proof so you will need to contact your insurance provider to remove it.

 

Can a black box detect a collision?

The black box can sense any strong impact on the car. If this happens, your insurer may try and call you or, if your insurer believes you might be badly injured, they may call the emergency services on your behalf. Some black boxes are also connected to breakdown services so when you start your car, a full diagnostic is carried out and you’ll be alerted to any problems.

How do I drive with a black box?

The telematics/black box device shouldn’t distract you from driving. Your premiums are based on the data collected so follow the rules of the road, like keeping within the speed limit and accelerating and braking smoothly.

A black box won’t interfere with any of your car’s instruments or parts and it won’t drain your battery. Devices do use power but typically less than your car stereo would.

Black boxes can be fitted to most modern cars. However, some insurers can only install black boxes to cars after a certain year (for example after 2002), so you should check with the insurer before you buy the policy.

Do you have a curfew with a telematics policy?

Some insurance providers do restrict the times you can drive but this isn’t as common now as it was when black box policies first came out. To be sure, you should always read the terms and conditions of your policy.

Black boxes use GPS so technically you can be tracked but insurers aren’t interested in tracking your precise location on a day to day basis. The black box is only there to collect data about the way you drive in order to calculate your premium. The only time your insurer may use the black box to locate you is if they believe you’ve been seriously hurt in an accident or if your car has been stolen.

 

How do I check my telematics/black box information?

Your insurance provider will give you access to your data usually through an app or website which means you can use the information to improve your driving habits.

Only you and your insurer will have access to your data and if it’s needed as part of an official criminal investigation the police.

 

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