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Telematics car insurance

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What is telematics car insurance?

Think you’re a safe driver? Now there’s a way to prove it. Black box insurance – also known as telematics insurance – is a clever way of using technology to get an insurance quote that reflects the way you drive.

For young drivers and students, who are often penalised for their inexperience, telematics technology could lead to lower car insurance premiums.  

So, if you’re young, but careful behind the wheel, black box insurance could be what you’ve been waiting for. 

Frequently asked questions

Are telematics and black box insurance the same thing?

Yes – telematics is another word for a black box insurance policy. Some insurance providers call their policies telematics; others call them black box.

What does a black box insurance policy do?

With black box car insurance, you can have a policy that reflects how you drive.  

Insurance providers mostly rely on statistics to tell them what kind of risk you pose. But by using a black box fitted to your car, or a smartphone app, they’ll know how you actually drive. They can use this to adjust your premium – which could mean you get a cheaper deal.

So, is a black box fitted to my car?

A black box is about the size of a mobile phone and is usually fitted to the dashboard or under your bonnet – although some insurance providers use a smartphone app instead of a black box. Either way, if your car were ever stolen, it would be a handy tracker.

How does the black box encourage safe driving?

Your black box monitors when, where and how you drive. It measures things such as: 

  • mileage – if you drive a lot, you could be considered higher risk
  • speed – do you stick to the speed limits?  
  • steering and braking – do you steer gently or veer violently? Do you break steadily, in plenty of time, or are you braking too hard? 
  • time – do you drive at statistically riskier times, such as rush hour or at night? 
  • location – are you using busy roads, driving through town centres or using country lanes?  

Your insurance provider can use this information to calculate how good a driver you are and how much your premium will be.

Can I see my black box data?

Yes, you can – so you’ll be able to see where you do well (and where you might need to improve). This allows you to change your driving habits and potentially bring down your premium in future.

What are the pros of a telematics policy?

Because a black box records how you drive, your premium will be based on your data, rather than on general statistics.

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

Yes – but it depends on how you drive. If you fit the black box then hit the roads like a rally driver, you could face bad news when you renew your insurance. If your driving is really bad, your insurance provider could even cancel your policy – some providers run three-strikes-and-you’re-out systems. But if you drive sensibly, using a black box could reduce your premiums. 

You may need to wait until your annual renewal comes around to reap the rewards. However, some insurance providers offer monthly adjustment periods, where your premiums change based on the previous month’s driving.

Will my data be shared?

No. Information from your black box is only used to calculate your policy price. And information is only shared with the police if they request it as part of a criminal investigation.

I’m over 25 – can I get black box insurance?

Yes. There’s no reason experienced and older drivers shouldn’t consider black box insurance over traditional policies. 

Compare the Market quote comparisons from 1 July 2019 to 1 October 2019 show that a black box insurance policy was the most affordable option for 75.53% of drivers 17-20. 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 14.56% of quote comparisons. Even 6.29% of drivers aged 50-64 found they could get a cheaper quote with a telematics policy.

Does a black box insurance policy involve any extra costs?

There isn’t usually a charge for installing the black box. But be warned, there can be a charge for cancelling and disconnecting it.   

Some insurance providers may also charge you if you buy a new car and need to move the box.

What happens if I want to switch insurance provider? Can I take my telematics data with me?

What happens if I want to switch insurance provider? Can I take my telematics data with me?

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

Some policies come with restrictions on when and where you can drive. So, check the small print. There’s no point saving money on your car insurance if you can’t get to work on time.

How can I compare black box insurance quotes?

We make it simple to compare car insurance quotes. Just enter a few details about you and your vehicle and leave the rest to us. We’ll give you a range of quotes and let you find out more about each policy. 

There’s a ‘telematics’ option box, so you can include black box policies with other standard quotes. As with all types of insurance, every telematics policy is different, so always take a careful look at what’s included. 

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