What is a Black Box and How Does Telematics Insurance Work?

What is black box insurance? How does it work? Can it really help you to pay less for your car insurance?

If you’ve just passed your driving test, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed by the number of insurance options out there. Relax – all new drivers feel this way! But it’s only relatively recently that new drivers have been able to consider black box insurance.

So is it worth it? And how much does a black box reduce insurance?

What Is Black Box Insurance?

Most car insurers base their premiums on a combination of statistical evidence and driver profiling. Those involved in fewer accidents can usually expect to pay less for insurance.

The sad fact is that newly qualified drivers and younger drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents than almost any other group. This is because they’re less experienced, and with that lack of experience can come a lack of confidence. Unfortunately, the statistical likelihood of accidents for this group invariably means higher quotes for car insurance.

But black box and telematics insurance policies are designed to offer an insurance policy that’s reflective of your actual driving abilities. This is why it’s popular with new drivers, as it can sometimes lead to lower premiums.

Some companies refer to it as “pay as you go car insurance”. This is because the driver-focused premiums are charged monthly and calculated based on your current behaviour.

What Is A Black Box or Telematics Box In A Car?

It’s a small device, about the same size as a smartphone. Inside the box is a GPS system, a motion sensor, a SIM card, and some computer software to control how the information is collected, analysed, and transmitted.

Cars aren’t usually fitted with black boxes when you buy them. Instead, when you buy black box insurance from an insurance provider, they’ll fit the black box to your car. It’s generally fitted out of sight, and once it’s fitted, you won’t ever have to worry about it ever again. All the telematics data is collected and sent automatically.

How Does A Black Box Work?

The black box records your speed, the distance you’ve travelled, and the specific time – day or night – at which your journeys took place.

It also records your driving style. It will monitor your braking, your cornering, and the types of road on which you travel. It knows if you’re on a narrow country road or a motorway.

The black box will analyse this information to create an accurate profile of the sort of driver you are. It will then automatically share this information with your insurance providers, who will use the data to calculate how much of a premium you pay.

For example: If your black box finds that you drive shorter distances on less dangerous roads, and  that you do most of your driving during the day, then you could look forward to lower premiums.

How Much Does A Black Box Save On Insurance?

This all depends on quite a few factors. Prices vary from insurer to insurer, and some might charge different rates based on your mileage and the time at which you drive. Also, it’s hard to say just how much you could save without first knowing how much you would have paid for traditional car insurance.

In theory, the safer you drive, the less you’ll pay for car insurance. That’s the major benefit of black box car insurance. Not only does it give drivers a say in how much they pay, it also provides quite the incentive for driving as safely as possible.

But there are so many downsides. If you do most of your driving at night, and if you’re regularly required to travel relatively unsafe country roads, then you may still have to pay a higher premium than you would under different circumstances. Also, if you have a long commute, the sheer length of your everyday journeys will also have an effect on your premium.

Because of factors like this, with black box car insurance you can be the safest driver in the world and still not see any savings. Indeed, depending on where and when you drive, even exemplary drivers can end up paying more for black box insurance than they would have with a more traditional policy.

And what if you’re not as safe a driver as you thought you were? The slightest incident and you may find yourself paying much more for your monthly cover than expected.

Is It Worth Getting Black Box Insurance?

In some cases, yes. But it’s certainly not the case that all drivers can expect to pay lower premiums with black box insurance.

So before you even start to consider whether this option is for you, get a few quotes from more traditional insurance providers. Next, be prepared to shop around a few black box insurance providers. Compare their quotes, and check whether they have different rates based on peak times or mileage.

Finally, ask yourself this: What sort of driver are you? How many miles do you expect to do each month? At what time of day will most of your journeys take place? What sort of roads will you be travelling on? And most importantly of all – can you trust yourself to be a safe and considerate driver at all times?

Only once you’ve gathered all of this information will you be able to figure out whether black box insurance is for you. It’s a big decision, but a lot is at stake! You could make some considerable savings. But then, you could also end up paying more than you expected.

Why Not Take The Guesswork Out of Your Car Insurance?

Black box car insurance can bring benefits, but it’s inherently risky. Wouldn’t you prefer to know where you are with your insurance? Wouldn’t it be better to know exactly how much you should expect to pay each month? If nothing else, it makes budgeting easier! And for price-minded new drivers, that’s no small consideration.

If you’re a new driver, at Go-Girl we’ll give you the cover you need at a price you can afford. We specialise in driving down the cost of cover, and you can get a quote and instant cover with your new driver car insurance in a matter of minutes.