Understanding Black Box Insurance

 Black box insurance, also known as telematics insurance was actually first introduced way back in 2008 but it has grown rapidly in popularity in the last few years.


It’s simply a way of using clever technology to produce insurance policies that reflect the way you drive. Usually insurance providers rely on reams 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, and as a result can accurately calculate or adjust your premium based on your driving.

Are telematics and black box insurance the same things?

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. A clever device measures how you drive and gives that data to your insurance provider. Either when you come to renew, or on a quarterly basis, your premiums will update based on all this data. Potentially meaning a cheaper deal for you.

What sort of telematics device is fitted to my car?

If it is fitted to your car, a black box is about the size of your mobile phone and they are usually hidden somewhere behind the dashboard or under your bonnet.


Where exactly will depend on the make of your car but really, that’s not very important. What is, is that it is hidden. If your car were stolen, your black box could become a very handy tracker to help locate it.


The ‘black box’ could also be simply an app on your phone.

How does telematics encourage safe driving?

Your little black box records various things such as:

Using this information, your insurance provider can then calculate how good a driver you are – smooth drives are better than ones where you brake hard and accelerate fiercely and fewer miles means you are on the road less so there’s less chance of being involved in an accident, for example.

Can I see the data from my black box?

You’ll have access to the information and will be able to see what you did well (and what didn’t go so well) so it should make you sit up and think about your driving and help to improve any bad habits that you may have.

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. This means you can be confident that your premium is an accurate assessment of your driving skills and your personal circumstances.


If you do have a black box, it also has the added benefit of being an anti-theft device – because it contains a GPS tracker, it means that if your car was stolen, it could be tracked down more easily.


And because your black box also checks speed, braking and acceleration, it’s also a good way of recording accidents. Any forceful impact will be relayed back to your insurance provider which could help with any claims made and it can also mean your provider can notify emergency services quickly if a serious accident occurred.

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

In short, yes it will. But it does depend on how you drive. If you decide to fit a black box and then hit the roads like a rally driver, you could face bad news at the first renewal point. On the other hand, assuming you drive sensibly, using a black box could reduce your premiums.


Different insurance providers have different processes so it is worth checking the details. Sometimes you will need to wait until your annual renewal to get your premium adjusted. Others offer monthly adjustment periods where premiums are adjusted 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 it won’t be shared with any other unrelated third party. Information will only be given to the police if they make a request as part of a criminal investigation. 

Can I get a telematics policy for over 25s?

Yes. Though initially introduced for younger drivers, struggling with sky high premiums, there is no reason why experienced and older drivers shouldn’t also consider looking at pay-as-you-drive options as an alternative to traditional car insurance policies.


Statistics from our website from 1 January 2016 – 31 January 2017 show that of the 64% of quote comparisons conducted by drivers under the age of 24, a black box insurance policy was the most affordable solution.


This figure substantially drops as the age ranges increase; however drivers between the age of 25 and 29 still found that black box policies were the cheapest in 27 % of quote comparisons conducted within this period.

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

Although there is usually no charge for installing the black box or if there is, it may be included in the total policy, there may be costs associated with removing if this is a requirement of the insurance provider – check the T&Cs to find out what happens when your policy ends or if you cancel it. This means if you change your car, or change or cancel your policy, you may get a bill. Check the details before purchasing a policy.

Will a black box policy restrict when I can drive?

Some insurance providers set ‘curfew’ hours on the policy, typically for the hours between 11pm and 6am. If you drive between those hours it may affect your driving score and therefore your premium may be affected. Others will charge you for driving outside these hours. If you think this might be an issue, check the policy carefully before purchasing.

How can I compare black box insurance quotes?

We pride ourselves on making it simple to compare car insurance quotes. Simply enter the details about you and your vehicle and leave the rest to us. We’ll present back to you all available policies including details of the insurance provider and the price. We’ll also allow you to find out more about each policy with a “more details” button.


We’ve got a separate “telematics” option box too so you can include telematics policies with the other standard quotes. You’ll be able to see which ones are telematics policies as we add a comment underneath the quote.

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