Telematics FAQs

What is telematics?

Telematics insurance is personalised car insurance based on your driving style. It's also known as black box insurance, smart box insurance, pay as you drive, and usage-based insurance (UBI).

An increasing number of insurers offer a telematics device as a way to lower the cost of your car insurance. The device is fitted in your vehicle, and the way you drive is reported back to your insurer.

Responsible, safe driving is rewarded by offering lower premiums. This reflects that you represent less risk to your insurer.

If you’d like to know more, check out our guide to telematics.

Will it save me money?

If you think you're a better than average driver, then it's probably worthwhile having a telematics device installed.

If you then drive within the parameters set out by your insurer, there's a good chance you could save money.

Likewise if you're not a "good driver" to begin with, but learn from the analysis provided and improve, then the cost of your insurance could fall.

There are no guarantees. If you aren't considered to be a good driver, and don't learn from the analysis, then a standard insurance policy may be a cheaper option for you.

For more information, take a look at our guide to telematics.

If I speed, will the police be informed?

No. Insurers are under no obligation to pass on evidence of motoring offences. But there may still be repercussions. You’re less likely to be considered low risk if you continually speed.

If you wish to lower the cost of your insurance by being considered a good driver, it’s best to stick to the speed limit.

Check out our guide to telematics if you’d like to know more.

Am I being spied on?

In a way, yes. But nothing’s being monitored that you won’t be told about. You agree to be monitored, and a potential reduction in your premiums is the reward.

You might even find the monitoring genuinely useful or life-saving in fact, thanks to the safety benefits of some devices.

For more information, read our guide to telematics.

What constitutes good driving?

Statistics show that certain types of driving present a higher risk. Insurers collect as much data as they can to determine risk and will price according to this information.

In general, the things that are measured which are likely to affect your score include:

  • the time of day you drive
  • your speed
  • your cornering
  • heavy braking
  • harsh accelerating
  • any sudden impact to the vehicle
  • the type of roads you use

Another proven risk is the distance you drive each year, as the more time you spend driving, the greater the possibility of an accident. So some policies may have a maximum number of miles that you can drive in a year.

Take a look at our guide to telematics if you’d like to know more.

Will there be a curfew imposed?

Some insurers operate a curfew system, but these are opt-in.

You might choose a curfew policy because the incentive is cheaper cover. However, you then run the risk of a penalty if you have to drive at a time you’ve agreed not to.

For more information, check out our guide to telematics.

What if someone else drives the car?

If someone else drives the car, then that person will be using your miles and their driving will be assessed, and count towards (or against) your good driving score.

This is really no different from a regular insurance policy.

It’s best to think in terms of the risk the car presents, rather than the risk you present. If you add another driver to your policy, the car will become a higher or lower risk accordingly.

If you’d like to know more, check out our telematics guide.

Am I limited to the number of miles I can drive?

When you have a telematics box installed, you can agree to limit yourself to a set amount of annual miles. These are your base miles.

So, for example, if you have an Autosaint box, you state the maximum number of miles you think you’ll drive in a year when taking out the policy.

For more information, read our telematics guide.

What if I need to drive more miles than my policy states?

This depends on your insurer. With some, if you wish to exceed your policy miles, you can buy more. But with others, you should inform them if you’re going to considerably exceed your limit and they will amend your premium.

If you have a policy with a pay-as-you-go system, you may be charged automatically if you exceed your limit, but haven’t topped up in advance.

For more information, take a look at our telematics guide.

Can I build up extra miles?

With some policies, you can use additional miles that you’ve built up. For example, you may have been awarded additional miles for good driving throughout the year.

Some insurers also have a rewards system, where you can build up extra miles by shopping with selected partners.

If you’d like to know more, check out our telematics guide.

Do miles roll over into the following year?

No. No insurer offers a refund of your base allocation of miles if you don’t use them up. Nor do they roll over.

Miles accumulated in other ways may roll over into the next year, depending on your insurer. It’s always best to check your policy document first.

Check out our guide to telematics if you’d like to know more.

How much do additional miles cost?

The cost of these miles is based on your risk. So it’s calculated using factors similar to the ones that would normally be used for your premium.

Take a look at our telematics guide if you’d like to know more.

What does the box look like, and where does it live?

It’s a black box about the size of a deck of cards. It tends to be beneath the dashboard, but this depends on your car. Some black box providers use a 12v unit that plugs into your car's aux socket.

If you’d like to know more, read our guide to telematics.

Can it be turned off?

No. The box is sealed, and tamper-proof.

Turning the box off does rather defeat the object of having telematics installed. The whole point is that the insurer gets a better picture of your driving ability. And, if you’re a good driver, you’re rewarded.

If your insurer isn’t getting all of your driving data, then they can’t paint a complete picture of you as a driver.

For more information, take a look at our guide to telematics.

What are the safety benefits?

One of the key safety benefits of having a box installed is the accident alert. Some telematics providers offer this, but not all.

If your vehicle experiences a certain G force or above, it suggests impact, and your insurer is notified. If your car is stationary, they may try to call you. The black box can tell if the car isn’t moving, if the ignition is still on, and the severity of the impact.

If your insurer believes that you might be injured – especially if the car’s in an isolated or remote location – it may call the emergency services on your behalf. The potential for saving lives may ultimately prove invaluable.

If you’d like to know more, check out our telematics guide.

What if the car gets stolen?

Installing a telematics device is the equivalent of having a tracker in your car. If it were to be stolen, you’ll be able to tell exactly where it’s gone.

Advertising that you have a device on board could also deter potential thieves (regardless of whether you actually have one).

If you’d like to know more, take a look at our telematics guide.

Ready to get a quote?

Compare quotes from up to 122 car insurance providers to find the best deal.

Or log in to retrieve your previous quotes