Telematics explained

Telematics insurance can help reduce the cost of your car insurance based on your driving habits. If you're a young driver, or are new to driving, this type of policy can be useful to manage your costs until you gain more experience on the road.

It’s also useful for those who only drive now and again, with pay-as-you-go policies allowing infrequent drivers to only pay for the miles they drive.

When you get a quote, we'll send your details to 163 insurers, including the 28 telematics insurers we work with to see if they'll offer you cover. If you’re offered a price from one of the telematics insurers, you’ll see these policies marked up with 'Black box' or 'Telematics' in your results.

Read on to find out all you need to know about telematics policies, or click the quote button to start comparing policies in minutes. C icon
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How does telematics insurance work?

With telematics insurance, your driving is monitored - either through an app or through a device fitted to your car.

There are two main types of telematics insurance: black box insurance and pay as you go insurance.

Explore black box insurance

Explore pay-as-you-go insurance

Black box insurance monitors the way you drive and awards you a score based on your driving style.

The safer you drive, the better your score.

What will my score be based on?

Depending on the policy, you'll be judged on things like:

  • How fast you drive
  • How quickly you accelerate
  • How sharply you brake
  • How fast you take corners
  • How many miles you drive
  • The time of day you drive
  • Where you drive

Some policies will reward you with cheaper insurance when you come to renew if you build up a good enough score.

Other policies will offer you insurance that’s cheaper than a standard policy from the start, but will offer you a worse deal when you renew if you drive poorly.

These policies tend to be popular with those who otherwise face high costs for their insurance, like young, new or convicted drivers.

Pay-as-you-go insurance charges you based on the number of miles you drive.

You pay a base rate for your insurance, and an additional fee for each mile you drive on top of that.

If you’re only an occasional driver, pay- as- you- go policies could work out cheaper than standard annual policies, although things like temporary insurance might be a better option.

Why choose a telematics policy?

While they aren’t for everyone, telematics policies come with a number of benefits:

  • They can be cheaper than standard policies
  • They can help track down your car if it’s stolen
  • They can help prove fault in a crash
  • They can make you a better driver

They can be cheaper than standard policies. For occasional drivers, pay-as-you-go policies can often work out cheaper than regular car insurance. And for those who face high insurance costs, like young drivers or those with driving convictions, black box policies can help bring their costs down.

They can help track your car if it’s stolen, as the device used to monitor your driving tracks your location. If you have a policy with a fixed black box, this could be used to track down your car. This can be especially useful for students who often live in higher crime areas. Bear in mind though that this doesn’t work with app-based policies that require you to have your phone in the car with you.

They can help prove fault in a crash, as your speed, braking and cornering are usually monitored with black box policies. This can help prove that you were following the rules of the road at the time of a crash, and could help prove that a collision wasn’t your fault. This isn’t usually the case with pay-as-you-go policies though, as these tend to only collect data on your mileage.

They can make you a better driver, as black box policies will typically give you tips on how to improve your driving score. If you’re a bit sharp on the brakes, for example, your insurer will let you know, and you can improve accordingly.

What are the drawbacks of telematics policies?

Like with any type of insurance, there are a few drawbacks to telematics policies.

  • You'll have to stay with the same insurer to save
  • You might not save anyway
  • You might have a mileage restriction
  • You might have to use your mobile data
  • You might have to pay to have your black box removed

You'll have to stay with the same insurer to save as any driving score you build up cannot be transferred to another insurer. If your policy work by rewarding you for safe driving when you come to renew, you'll have to remain with the same insurer in order to save.

You might not save anyway as black box policies rely on you building up a good driving score to get a discount. If you fail to build up a good one, you won’t see any discount. If you opt for a pay-as-you-go policy, and find yourself driving far more than you anticipated, this could also lead to high costs as you'll be billed for every mile you travel. You might even find yourself paying more than you would for a standard car insurance policy.

You might have a mileage restriction on black box policies, as some will only cover you for a set number of miles - say 5000. If you exceed this mileage, your policy may be void and you won’t be able to make a claim if you have an accident. Most insurers will let you add extra miles to your policy, but you’ll have to pay extra to do so.

You might have to use your mobile data if you have a plug-in black box or your driving is monitored through an app. If you drive a lot, and aren’t on an unlimited data plan, this is another expense to consider when comparing quotes.

You might have to pay to have your black box removed as some policies will need you to have a device permanently fitted to your car. If this is the case, installation is usually free but removal might be charged.

Who could benefit from a telematics policy?

Young drivers: Telematics policies tend to be taken out by younger drivers. And there's a good reason: car insurance for 17-year-olds costs £2,919* on average, compared to all-ages average of £941*. This is mainly due to lack of experience, and the higher-than-average accident rate of young drivers. Telematics policies, and specifically black box insurance, can help bring those costs down by proving to insurers that young drivers, are safe, responsible road users, despite the stats.

New drivers: Older drivers who are new to the road might see themselves paying more for their insurance than more experienced drivers of the same age. In fact, our data shows that drivers who have held their licence for 5 years or less pay £1,750** for their cover, compared to the overall average of £941*. Black box policies are one way in which new drivers could bring these high costs of cover down.

Low mileage drivers: Pay as you go insurance policies can be a real benefit for those who rarely find themselves behind the wheel, and ensure your car is ready to drive whenever you need it, while guaranteeing that you only pay for the miles you drive.

Older drivers: Although older drivers tend to pay less than the average for their car insurance, our data shows that insurance costs tend to slightly rise again after 70. Car insurance for over 70s costs £587* on average, compared to £574* for over 60s car insurance.

Convicted drivers: Drink driving, speeding or dangerous driving convictions can seriously affect what you pay for your car insurance. Just like for other high-risk drivers, black box policies could be a way for convicted drivers to bring their costs down by proving to their insurer that they’re a responsible road user.

* price index data Q1 2024.
** data January to March.

How do I get a telematics quote?

When you compare quotes with us, we’ll show you regular car insurance quotes alongside telematics ones. This way, you can see whether a telematics policy really could save you money.

Black box policies will be marked up with a specific black box logo.

The same goes for pay-as-you-go policies.

All other policies are standard car insurance policies.

To get a quote, you’ll need:

  • Your personal details - including your name, age, where you live and what your occupation is
  • Details of your car - like the make, model and any modifications made to it.

We’ll do the rest to find you the best cover, at the right price.

What our expert says

"Telematics policies can be a great way to save on your insurance, and they aren’t just for young drivers. Those who find themselves driving less could save with a pay-as-you-go policy, and older drivers who are seeing their prices spike again might be able to save with black box insurance."

Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at
Motor Insurance Expert logo

Need more help?

Will my driving data be shared with anyone else?

No. Your data will only be used by your insurer, and won’t be shared with any third parties. You’ll normally be able to access your own data, and most policies come with an app or online account that’ll let you see how far or how well you’re driving. The only exception to this is if you’re part of a criminal investigation. In this situation, your data may be shared with the police if they request it. But otherwise, your data is private and will be treated as so.

Can you drive abroad with telematics?

Yes, you should be able to drive abroad even if you’re on a telematics policy. Most car insurance policies comes with 90 days European cover as standard, but for driving further afield you may need to look into exactly what you’re covers for.

Check your policy details before setting off to make sure you’re covered.

How are telematics devices installed?

This depends on your policy, as some telematics policies will track your driving through an app, meaning you won’t need a black box.

Others will send you a plug-in black box in the post that connects to your car via its diagnostics port, usually with a USB. You’ll normally be able to install these yourself in a few minutes.

Other policies need you to have a permanent black box fixed to your car. In this case, an engineer will be sent out to professionally fit your device.

Installation is usually free, but you may have to wait a few weeks to get it fitted. You’ll normally be able to drive while you wait for installation, but you won’t build up any driving score during this time.

How are they removed?

If you have a physical black box that’s been fitted to your car by an engineer, you might need to pay for removal when your policy ends. This isn’t always the case, and some insurers may remove the device for free - or recommend you leave it attached to the car. But others will charge you for removal. Again, look at your policy details before taking out cover, as any charges like those for removal will be listed.

What happens if I speed on a telematics policy?

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.

Can someone else drive my car if I have telematics insurance?

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.

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