Black box car insurance

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What is black box insurance?

Black box insurance is a personalised cover that’s based on the way you drive and your driving habits. It means your premiums heavily depend on how well and safely you drive. 

Black box insurance has a few names: 

But they all work in the same way - a black box is fitted to your car, or it’s done through your insurance company’s app. It uses the data collected to calculate the cost of your car insurance. The better you drive, the higher your driving score will be, and the less you should pay.

You may get a discount just for taking out black box insurance, but your driving score determines what you pay in the end. Careful, responsible drivers should pay less. A growing number of insurance companies offer policies to lower the cost of car cover.

A graph illustrating black box car insurance

What does a black box do?

A black box is a device that uses GPS satellite technology to assess your driving. Your insurer may have a box professionally fitted to your car or, send you a smaller self-fit device that works with an app. The device collects a variety of data, so your insurer can measure how risky you are to cover. It monitors your driving to give an average driving score. 

The black box collects information about your:

  • Acceleration
  • Breaking
  • Cornering
  • Mileage
  • Time of day

Speed, acceleration and breaking tend to be the biggest factors that determine your blackbox insurance driving score. So, you should keep within speed limits and aim to drive smoothly.

The driving score reflects how safe a driver your insurer views you to be, typically ranging from 0 to 100. Better, more careful drivers should get higher scores and therefore lower insurance premiums. You usually also get tips from a personalised dashboard to help you improve your driving scores.

What are the benefits of black box insurance?

The main benefit on choosing a black box insurance policy is that you could make great savings. Other benefits are: 

  • Your premiums get lower if you keep proving through your driving score that you’re a good driver
  • You get personalised tips and feedback, so even if you’re not the best driver you can still improve your driving
  • Antitheft tracker so if your car was ever stolen, your insurer would be able to locate the car straightaway
  • Low mileage drivers can see savings too, ideal if you don’t use your car regularly

Is black box insurance just for younger drivers?

No, black box insurance isn’t just for younger drivers.

While 17–24-year-olds tend to see the biggest savings by taking out a policy, drivers who’ve recently passed their tests do too.  So, if you’ve passed your driving test a bit later, you can see a discount. Those with driving convictions could also potentially receive sizeable discounts.

There’s no age limit, but generally the less experienced driver you are, the more you can get from a policy.

If you’ve already built up a decent No Claims Bonus (NCB) black box insurance may not be so worthwhile.

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Black box insurance rules

The rules can vary from insurer to insurer. Insurance providers will often ask you to agree an annual mileage limit when you take out the policy. You’ll typically be able to increase the limit later on if you really need to, paying extra to do so.

If you agree to a curfew - meaning you don’t drive at certain times - you may get cheaper car insurance. Statistically, more accidents happen late at night or early hours of the morning. So, the curfews tend to be from 11pm- 5am as insurers view these as riskier times to drive. 

What it comes down to though is your driving habits. If you don’t opt for a curfew policy and your driving is faster or braking suddenly later at night, your driving score may be lowered. 

How do I install a black box in my car?

Some black boxes will be professionally fitted. Either beneath the dashboard or the bonnet, with the job usually taking about an hour. Insurers prefer such black boxes to be out of sight, making them more difficult to find and tamper with.  

Some insurers might send you a smaller device instead that you can fit to your windscreen by yourself in a matter of minutes. This kind of device will work with an app that uses your phone’s GPS navigation system.

 

Should I get black box insurance?

You might get a large discount by taking out black box insurance. Young drivers (17-24) and people who’ve just passed their test, could get bigger discounts because they tend to pay more than average to start with. But for the duration of the policy, drive with care - accelerate smoothly, leave plenty of time for braking and keep to speed limits. 

Some people use black box insurance to build up a good no claims bonus history before moving to a standard car insurance policy.

However, having a black box also means poor driving could result in your premium going up. On the plus side, you’ll usually receive personalised tips that can help you improve your driving. Following these could help you get a good driving score. 

 

What details do I need to get a black box insurance quote?

Having the following information to hand will speed up getting a car insurance quote:

Personal details

  • Your job
  • Any points on your licence as well as the conviction code
  • Previous claims or accidents from the last 5 years
  • Additional drivers you want to add to your policy
  • Your driving licence number - some insurers offer better prices if they know this
  • Details of your no-claims bonus (NCB) in years

Car details

  • Registration number or make and model of your car
  • Any modifications made to the cars
  • Estimated annual mileage
Look out for the black box labels in your list of results. You’ll also be able to see details about each policy, like whether they include a physical device or use an app. 

Once you’ve bought your policy, your insurer will contact you to either schedule a time to fit a device in your car or send you a plug-in device to install yourself. Or they’ll give you details on how to download their app.
 

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Is it worth getting a black box policy if I work night shifts?

It’s still worth considering a black box policy if you work nights as not all insurance companies require a curfew. 

While there aren’t lots of insurance companies who offer a curfew free policy, those who do understand that driving between 11pm – 6am can be unavoidable. As long as you’re driving safely and similarly to how you do in the day, your driving score shouldn’t be affected.

On your result page look at the policy info to go to a provider’s page to see if they offer the insurance without a time curfew.

Can I drive my car before the black box is fitted?

You can usually drive your car while you wait for the box to be fitted – there’s often a 7-day grace period, though this depends on the insurer.

With black box insurance, you typically get a discount just because you’ve agreed to have a device installed. But you might find your premium gets adjusted up or down only a month after installation according to your driving score.

What data will my black box collect?

Your black box collects data that will allow your insurer to get a good picture of your driving so they can assess how good/safe a driver you are. The more careful driver you are then the less risky you are to insure.

Data collected by your box covers various aspects of your driving:

  • Braking
  • Cornering
  • Speed
  • Mileage
  • Time of day you drive

You’ll usually be able to view all the collected data that is collected. Your insurer isn’t allowed to share your data with third parties. They can only share your data with the police as part of a criminal investigation – for example, if your car has been stolen.

How can I improve my black box score?

Safer, careful driving should result in a higher driving score. While boxes collect a lot of data on your driving, the speed and the general smoothness of your driving are largely what determine your driving score. This means you need to keep to the speed limits and try to accelerate smoothly and brake with plenty of time. Black boxes just don’t like surprises, so consistent, safe driving should be rewarded. You’ll usually get tips through a personalised dashboard on how to improve your driving score.

If you can, it might be better to avoid driving between 11pm and 5am – doing so might lower your score as insurers tend to see greater risk of an accident during these hours.

How can I improve my black box score?

Your insurer won’t tell the police, but your premiums might go up as speeding affects your driving score. Breaking the speed limit by a small amount occasionally might not affect your policy very much. However, if you regularly break the speed limit by a lot, it’s likely to push up your premiums. In some cases, your insurer might even cancel your policy. 

If you take out a black box insurance policy, you should try to stick to the speed limit – speed is one of the main influencers on your driving score.

How can I improve my black box score?

This depends on your insurer, but if you think you’re going to go over your mileage you should talk to your insurer in advance.

Some insurers will let you buy more miles if you exceed the agreed limit. Others may amend your premium if you tell them ahead of time that you’ll be going over. If you have a pay-as-you-go policy, you may be charged automatically if you exceed the mileage limit without topping up.

How do I remove a black box from my car?

A professionally fitted device would need to be uninstalled by a professional as well. You shouldn’t attempt to uninstall your box mid-policy as it could leave you uninsured.

You don’t need to have the box removed if you’re cancelling the policy or not renewing, it’ll just stop collecting data. If you still want the black box removed, you may need to pay the labour cost. For those with a self-fitted device, you can remove this yourself.

Can you drive abroad with a black box?

Yes, you can normally drive abroad. Up to 90 days cover to drive in the EU and certain other European countries is included with many black box policies, though you should check the terms and conditions in your policy.

How long do you have to have a black box for?

Yes, you can normally drive abroad. Up to 90 days cover to drive in the EU and certain other European countries is included with many black box policies, though you should check the terms and conditions in your policy. Black box insurance policies last for 12-months, just like a standard car insurance policy. When your policy is due to renew, you can decide if you want to continue with a black box policy for another 12-months or switch to standard car cover.

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