Are there different types of telematics insurance?
Yes. While a telematics box is the most popular type of telematics insurance, there are other ways insurance companies can monitor your driving.
Some insurance companies also offer:
- Plug-and-drive insurance
- Pay per mile insurance
- Telematics app
Plug-and-drive is similar to a telematics insurance policy but you can install the device in your car yourself. Your insurer sends you a device that you plug into your 12v power socket, also known as the cigarette lighter. The device records your speed, braking and cornering.
Pay per mile policies mean your insurer adjusts the price of your insurance based on how far you drive. The less you drive, the cheaper your insurance could be. You’re charged a set amount to cover your car while it’s parked, and then a small additional cost for every mile you drive. A small device or mobile app is used to measure your distance.
Telematics app policies mean your insurer can record how you drive using an app on your phone. The app uses GPS to monitor your speed, acceleration and distance.
What our expert says
Some telematics insurance policies come with mileage restrictions or curfews that limit how much and when you drive. And if you breach these restrictions, you might have to pay more for your policy. I recommend you check the policy details carefully so you're aware of what restrictions might be attached.
Car insurance expert
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Some insurers use a curfew system, but these tend to be on an opt-in basis. You might choose a curfew policy because you can get cheaper cover. But you then run the risk of a penalty if you have to drive at a time outside of this.
Even when there's no curfew on your policy, your driving score could still go down if you drive late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Your insurance company might view driving between the hours of 11pm and 5am as higher risk, so you could see the impact on your driving score.
When you have a telematics box installed, you usually agree to limit yourself to a set number of annual miles. You should think carefully about the number of miles you expect to drive before you buy a policy.
If you use your annual mileage allowance and need to add more, most insurers allow you to do this for an added cost. The exact cost depends on the insurer, so have a look at the policy details if this is something you think you might need to do.
It's worth speaking to your insurer before you go over any mileage limit as they might be able to amend your policy for a fee.
With pay-as-you-go policies, you may be charged automatically if you exceed your limit, but haven’t topped up in advance.
And some policies let you use additional miles that you’ve built up. For example, you may be awarded extra miles for good driving throughout the year.
The better you drive, the higher your driving score and the cheaper your insurance. Most telematics box setups provide you with personalised tips to improve your driving score. These include:
- Smooth accelleration
- Braking in plenty of time
- Keeping to the speed limit
Depending on your insurer, it might also help your score if you avoid driving at certain times of the day. For example, driving between 11pm and 5am might be viewed as higher risk by some insurers.
Don't worry if you've to brake hard every now and again or make the occasional emergency stop - it’s unlikely to have a major impact on your driving score. Driving scores are based on several variables across several journeys to give a well-balanced view of your driving behaviour.
Occasionally breaking the speed limit by a small amount might not affect your telematics insurance policy much. But continually breaking speed limits, especially by significant amounts, is likely to seriously impact your driving score. And it could even lead to your insurer cancelling the policy.
Insurers don’t use telematics data to pass on evidence of motoring offences to the police, but there may still be repercussions from speeding. If you want to lower the cost of your insurance by being considered a good driver, it’s best to stick to the speed limit.
Yes, your insurer should still be able to fit a telematics box in an older car. But the age of the car could affect the kind of box that can be installed. Some vehicles may need a modification so your insurer can install the box.
Yes, as long as they're a named driver on the telematics policy. If someone else does drive the car, then that person is using your miles and their driving counts count towards (or against) your good driving score.
This is really no different from a standard insurance policy.
If you’re cancelling the policy or not renewing, you shouldn’t need to have the box removed – it just stops gathering data.
Should you still want to have it removed, you may need to pay for a professional to take it out. You need to get the box removed if you’re selling your car mid-policy – again, there may be a charge.
Yes, you can normally drive abroad with telematics car insurance. Many policies include up to 90 days' cover to drive in the EU and certain other European countries. If you’re planning on driving abroad, you should check the terms and conditions in your policy.
Telematics 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 telematics insurance policy for another 12 months or switch to standard car cover.