Telematics car insurance

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Your Essential Guide To Comparing Telematics Car Insurance

Everyone thinks they’re a safe driver, but now technology has come up with a way to prove it. Black box insurance, also known as telematics insurance, is a way of using clever technology to produce insurance policies that reflect the way you drive. And for young drivers and students, often penalised for their inexperience, it could result in cheaper car insurance premiums. So whether you’ve got an old banger or a car just out of the showroom, if you’re careful behind the wheel, then black box insurance could be exactly what you’ve been waiting for. 

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Are telematics and black box insurance the same?

Yes, a telematics policy is a different way of referring to a black box insurance policy. Some insurance providers call their policies telematics and others black box.

What does a black box insurance policy do?

A black box policy is a way to get an insurance policy more closely linked to your driving. Usually insurance providers rely on lots of statistics to tell them which class of driver is high and low risk. By using a black box fitted inside your car, or an app on your phone, the insurance provider will know how you actually drive. They can then accurately calculate or adjust your premium – and that could mean a cheaper car insurance deal for you.

So is a black box fitted to my car?

About the size of a mobile phone, the black box is usually fitted to the dashboard or under your bonnet. If your car were stolen, your black box could become a very handy tracker to help locate it. Some insurance providers use an app on your smartphone to track your driving, instead of a black box. 

How does the black box encourage safe driving?

Basically, your black box monitors when, where and how you drive. It measure various things, like:

Mileage: if you drive a lot, you could be seen as a greater potential risk.
Speed: do you stick to the speed limits?
Steering and braking: do you steer gently or veer violently? Are you braking steadily, in plenty of time, or are you breaking too hard?
Time: this is used to determine whether you drive at statistically riskier times, such as rush hour or at night.
Location: are you using busy roads, driving in town centres or on quiet country lanes, for example?

Using this information, your insurance provider can calculate how good a driver you are and work out how much your premium will be.

Can I see the data from my black box?

Yes, you can, so you’ll be able to see what you did well (and what didn’t go so well). This gives you the chance to change your driving habits and potentially bring down your premium in future. 

What are the benefits of a telematics policy?

Because a black box records how you drive, your premium will be based on your data rather than statistics of similar drivers. And because your black box also checks speed, braking and acceleration, it’s a good way of recording accidents. Any strong impact will be relayed back to your insurance provider, which could help with any claims made, and some providers can notify the emergency services quickly if a serious accident happens.

Will black box insurance really make a difference to my premium?

Yes it will. But it does depend on how you drive. If you decide to fit a black box then hit the roads like a rally driver, you could face bad news when you renew your insurance. On the other hand, drive sensibly and using a black box could reduce your premiums. Sometimes, you’ll need to wait until your annual renewal is due to get the cost of your insurance adjusted. Other insurance providers offer monthly adjustment periods where your premiums are changed based on your recent driving behaviour.

Will my data be shared elsewhere?

No. Information from your black box will only be used for calculating your policy price. And information will only be given to the police if they make a request as part of a criminal investigation. 

I’m over 25. Can I get black box insurance?

Yes, there’s no reason why experienced and older drivers shouldn’t also consider black box insurance instead of traditional policies.

Compare the Market quote comparisons from October 2018 to December 2018 show that a black box insurance policy was the most affordable option for 68.1% of drivers 17-24. This figure drops substantially for older drivers, but drivers between the ages of 30 and 39 still found that black box policies were cheapest in 18% of quote comparisons. Even 12.2% of drivers aged 40-64 found they could get a cheaper quote with a telematics policy.

Are there any extra costs involved with a black box insurance policy?

There isn’t usually a charge for installing the black box but, be warned: the cancellation and disconnection fees can be high for this kind of policy. And if you want to switch to a different telematics provider, you’ll probably need to have another device installed. Each insurance provider uses slightly different technology.

Will a black box policy restrict when and where I can drive?

Some telematics policies come with restrictions, such as the time of day and places you can drive. So check the small print. You don’t want to be saving money on your car insurance if it means you can’t get to your destination at the right time.

How can I compare black box insurance quotes?

We make it simple to compare car insurance quotes. Just enter the details about you and your vehicle and leave the rest to us. We’ll list out your cheapest quotes from a panel of providers and we’ll also let you find out more about each policy with a “more details” button.

There’s a separate “telematics” option box too, so you can include telematics policies with the other standard quotes. As with all types of car insurance, every telematics policy is different, so always have a careful look at what’s included.