A simples guide

Driving safely with a telematics insurance policy

Who doesn’t love being fashionable? It seems that even in car insurance, there are definite trends – the now ubiquitous little black box policy can be found with most insurance providers and according to the British Insurance Broker’s Association (BIBA) these policies are now up 40%. But it’s all very well talking about black box insurance – but what exactly is it, how does it work and how are you supposed to drive with it installed? Read on for more.

What is telematics exactly?

Telematics is the posh name for black box insurance. All ‘telematics’ actually means is the transmission of information over long distances – and that’s exactly what happens if you decide to take out a telematics policy. The black box referred to is the device that records the information about how and when you drive but this can be a smartphone app too. It then relays this data back to your insurance provider. If the information collected and sent back to your insurance provider shows that you’re a good driver, then you could see your premium reduced when it comes to renewal.

The black box is usually installed somewhere out of sight – often behind the dashboard so have no fear about everyone knowing you have it. Your insurance provider will install it for you. If you can download an app, then you’ll just need to have your phone in the car when you drive.

How does telematics encourage safe driving?

Your little black box records various things such as:

• Where and when you drive
• The number of journeys you take
• Your speed, acceleration and braking
• The number of miles you drive

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 in an accident, for example.

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 stop any bad habits that you have.

How do I drive with a black box installed?

The whole point of a telematics policy is to show you’re a good driver and to hopefully reduce your premiums accordingly. So, if you’re happy that you are a good driver, then you should just drive as normal. And if you think you’re a good driver but your black box doesn’t actually agree with your assessment then it’s an opportunity to make some changes for the better. Either way, you could save money and improve your driving skills so it’s an all-round win-win.


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 the statistics of thousands of others. 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.

Telematics myths debunked

One of the common myths that exist is that your information will be shared with anyone that’s interested. But the truth is, that 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. Telematics isn’t there to spy on you, so insurance providers won’t tell your mum, dad, spouse where you’re going or record conversations in the car – phew.

Getting the best telematics policy for you

 The best car insurance policy is always about getting what’s right for you and telematics certainly has benefits for young drivers who often face the highest premiums or if you’ve had any driving convictions in the past but have since turned over a new leaf.

 However, if you’re a seasoned driver with years’ worth of no claims discount to your name then telematics might not offer you any greater savings. But the only way to find the best policy for you is to compare the market today.

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