Confused.com's guide to telematics technology and how it could help you save money
What is telematics insurance?
Also known as black box insurance, telematics policies offer personalised insurance based on when and how YOU drive.
Selected insurance providers can now fit a clever telematics device into your car that measures how well you drive. By having the device installed in your car, it's possible for you to prove that you drive safely. Your premiums are then based on how safe and conscientious a driver you are instead of paying for insurance based on the average driver. You can’t say fairer than that!
If you’re frustrated at having to pay a high premium, telematics could be the answer to your car insurance problems.
How does telematics work?
By tracking your vehicle’s movements through GPS systems, insurance providers can assess your driving ability. The following may be taken into consideration:
- your location
- how long you've been driving for
- how rapid or measured your acceleration is
- how harsh or smooth your braking is
- your cornering
All you need to do is have a telematics 'black box' installed into your car.
Some providers may specify on your policy that you don’t drive between certain hours when serious accidents are most likely to happen (usually late night or early morning). This doesn’t mean your car is uninsured during those times, although it may affect your driving score.
Telematics cover often comes with other benefits:
- free anti-theft tracking
- personalised online driving records
What does the 'black box' look like?
The device is essentially a shallow black box, about the size of a standard deck of cards.
The detail varies between providers, but they basically look like the boxes in the image to the left.
What does installation involve?
Your provider will install the device for you, and it normally takes about an hour.
The device is most frequently put beneath the dash or the bonnet, but can actually go anywhere. It could be fitted to the chassis, for example. Where it’s put will usually depend on the provider’s particular device, and the car itself.
But the one constant is that it will be put out of sight. The harder to find, the better. It’s best not to tamper with it, as this defeats the object of getting one. Plus, in the (hopefully unlikely) event that your car is stolen, you don’t really want the thief to be able to remove it, as it will act as a tracker.
Who is telematics good for?
Telematics is great for anyone who wants to take control of their insurance costs.
When it comes to car insurance, if you’re unlucky enough to fall into one of the high risk groups, you're likely to be looking at high premiums to insure your car. Telematics aims to help those in high-risk groups, such as:
- inexperienced drivers
- less frequent drivers with a low annual mileage
- young drivers
If you fall into one of these groups telematics insurance could help you pay cheaper premiums. Although a telematics policy could potentially lead to savings for anyone who's a good driver.
How to get telematics 'black box' insurance
The telematics symbol
This symbol is used on the Confused.com site wherever there is information about telematics, black box, or smart box car insurance policies.
Compare car insurance using our simple online form and we'll find the cheapest quotes for you from our panel of 143 motor providers. Look for insurers with the telematics symbol on their logo - these companies offer 'black box' policies.
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