Black box car insurance can be a great choice for those looking to make some saving on their car insurance. However, black box car insurance might not suit everyone, and some people could find that it actually increases their insurance costs.
In this guide, we explain what exactly black box car insurance is, and the pros and cons of having a black box installed in your car.
What is black box car insurance?
Black box car insurance, also known as telematics, is a type of insurance offered by some providers. It involves having a GPS box fitted in your car which can track your driving behaviour. This will usually include your speed, braking, and steering, as well as where you drive and the time of day that you’re driving.
The box will transmit the various metrics back to your car insurance provider. If you are deemed to drive dangerously, for example, you frequently exceed the speed limit, brake too hard, and drive late at night, you could find your premium increases. Conversely, if you’re seen to be a safe driver, always staying in the speed limit, steering and braking carefully, and driving during the day, you could see your premium go down.
Often you will also be able to view your own metrics, usually on a portal or platform provided by your insurer, where you’ll have a unique log-in. This allows you to monitor your own driving behaviour so you can see where you might need to improve.
The black box will be fitted somewhere out of sight and out of the way. It will need to be fitted by an engineer, who will usually visit your home to equip it and also remove it once your insurance period is finished.
What are the advantages of black box car insurance?
There are a number of advantages to having a black box fitted in your car.
Possible lower insurance costs
Safe drivers will typically find they can access lower insurance premiums when they have a black box installed. They can be a great solution for new drivers or drivers who have previously had a driving conversion and now face high insurance costs.
A black box can reassure insurance providers that you’ll either be driving safely, or they can charge more if you drive badly. This helps to reduce the risk for insurers of covering these types of drivers.
As well as a lower initial cost, some providers will also offer lower premiums throughout the year, as a reward for good driving. Other providers might give vouchers or special offers to reward those who drive safely.
Improve your driving behaviour
Knowing your driving is being monitored can encourage you to make better, safer decisions when you drive. It can help you to be more aware of how fast you’re going so you remain within the speed limit, as well as steering and braking gently.
When insurers allow the driver access to the data from the black box, it can also help to improve their driving behaviour. You’ll be able to see any areas that you might ened to improve, for example, you might be taking corners too fast. Seeing the metrics can help you to adjust your behaviour so you’ll drive more safely and reduce the risk of an accident.
Find your car in case of theft
Black boxes are fitted with GPS so they can track where you’re driving. The added benefit of this is that the tracker can help to find your car if it ever gets stolen. You can contact your insurer and ask them to locate your vehicle.
As the black box is usually fitted out of sight, it can be difficult to remove, so thieves usually won’t be able to take it out. You can sometimes use the black box as a deterrent by putting a sticker on your windscreen saying that you have a GPS tracker in the car.
Support your case in an accident
A black box can help to support your case and show you’re not at fault in the event of an accident. For example, it can show that you were driving safely and at the correct speed. It can also show if you were accelerating or braking at the time of the accident.
What are the disadvantages of black box car insurance?
There are a few possible disadvantages to having black box car insurance.
Possible higher insurance costs
Those that are deemed to drive unsafely could find they face higher insurance costs than if they chose car insurance without a black box. This could include regularly driving over the speed limit, accelerating too quickly and braking too hard or too late.
Whilst viewing the data can usually give you an opportunity to adjust your driving habits, those that don’t change will find they have to pay out more.
Restrictions on your driving time
Some black box insurance policies will penalize drivers if they routinely drive late at night. This is because there is a higher risk of accidents at night, when vision can be less claear and when drivers may be more tired and less responsive. This curfew can be quite restrictive, especially if you work late at night or just need to take journeys at night time.
However, there are some providers who don’t restrict the time that you take journeys. If you think you’ll need to regularly drive at night but still want the benefits of black box insurance, you could still find a suitable insurer.
Restrictions on your milage
Some black box insurance policies also put restrictions on how many journeys you take in a day, and/or how many miles you travel. This is because the more you drive, the increased risk there is of you having an accident. Again, this can be very limiting for drivers who need to drive a lot, and those that do could find they end up paying out more for their insurance.
Who can use black box car insurance?
Most insurers provide black box insurance for younger drivers, typically those aged 18-24. Sometimes, the upper limit is increased to 30.
Some providers might also provide black box insurance for older drivers. This can be useful for those who have had a driving conviction or have had to make an insurance claim and are looking for ways to decrease their insurance costs.
Black box insurance will generally benefit safe drivers who don’t have to make too many journeys and who rarely have to drive at night. For these individuals, they’re most likely to avoid facing any penalties that can come from having a black box installed.
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