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Black box van insurance

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151% of van insurance customers could save £550.59 Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (June '23).

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How does black box van insurance work?

Black box van insurance policies are a type of telematics policy that monitors your driving using an app or a small device installed in your van. The device collects data on how you drive - including your speed, mileage and location - which are used to calculate your driver score. Your insurer uses this score to review your insurance costs and can reward safe driving with lower prices.

Whether your price is reviewed monthly, mid-term or at renewal depends on your policy. Check the policy documents before you buy to make sure you’re happy with how it works.

When you buy a policy, the insurance company will give you instructions on where to fit your black box. They may send you a ‘plug and drive’ box that you can fit to the windscreen or dashboard. If the black box needs to be fitted to the interior of the van, they should arrange for a technician to install it.

Most policies have an app that lets you check how you’re driving and see your driver score. But some insurers also use their app to monitor your driving via GPS rather than installing an actual box.

How is my driving score calculated?

Data used to calculate your driving score includes:

  • Your speed and whether you stay within the speed limit. Insurers don’t share information with the police if they notice you’re speeding, but it could increase the cost of your insurance.
  • Your braking and cornering. Braking carefully and taking corners slowly will appear safer than braking suddenly and swinging sharply around corners.
  • The time you usually drive, as driving during rush hour or in the dark is seen as higher risk.
  • The distance and how often you drive as a high amount of time spent on the road means that statistically you're more likely to be involved in an accident.
  • The types of road you drive on can make a difference as country roads and rural areas are generally seen as more dangerous than driving on a motorway. This is because of all the sharp turns and reduced visibility of the road ahead when driving on country roads.

Your driving score is usually shown as a number rating between 0 and 100. The safer your driving, the higher your score.

Typically your insurer sets targets for you to meet to ensure you’re driving safely. If you’re able to stay within their set range they might adjust your policy price to reflect this.

Why choose a black box policy?

Black box policies are typically seen as a way to get cheaper van insurance, but there are a few other reasons to consider a black box policy:

  • Reduces costs for less experienced drivers, including young van drivers who generally see higher insurance costs. Because how you drive is monitored, insurers have evidence that you’re a safe driver and may reward you with lower insurance prices.
  • Encourages you to be a better driver since you know it’s being scored. So you save money and also keep your passengers and other road users safe.
  • Helps recover your van if it’s stolen as the black box is already tracking it. Your insurer should be able to provide details on your van's location to help the police recover it.
  • Features first notification of loss (FNOL) data - if there’s an accident your insurer should be notified immediately. This might speed up the time it takes to process and resolve your claim.
  • Provides evidence to support any claims you make. Your insurer may be able to use data collected by the black box such as how fast you were going to support you if you were in an accident that wasn’t your fault. It can also help protect you from any fraudulent claims made against you.

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**Single annual policy. New and former Paramount+ subscribers only who sign up at ParamountPlus.com. Subscription required. Auto-renews unless cancelled. 18+. Just Eat website account required, geographical exclusions apply. One regular hot drink per month for a year, only available via the Confused.com app. T&Cs apply

Who is black box insurance best suited for?

Anyone can buy black box van insurance. It's typically targeted at younger, inexperienced drivers who face the highest insurance bills, though.

But there are a number of ways black box van insurance could benefit other types of drivers:

New drivers

Like young drivers, new drivers are given a higher risk rating because they don’t have previous driving experience. The average cost of insurance for a driver in the first year of their licence is £3,172 compared to £1,493 for drivers who’ve held a licence for 3 years.*** New drivers also miss out on any discounts offered for having a no claims bonus (NCB). Black box insurance can be a good way to reduce costs while you build up your NCB and experience.

Delivery drivers

Delivery drivers face higher van insurance costs due to the amount of time they spend on the road and the distance they're likely to cover. While the average van insurance policy costs £551***, couriers can expect to see an average of around £639***. Using a black box policy may help to lower your costs as proving you’re a safe driver balances out the risk of being on the road so often.

Other drivers

Other drivers who generally face high van insurance costs such as convicted drivers and infrequent drivers may also benefit from a black box policy. But it’s worth comparing the price against a standard van insurance policy. Drivers who aren’t seeing particularly high insurance costs might find the added restrictions that come with a black box policy aren’t worth the price difference.

***Based on Confused.com data, April - June 2023

Is black box van insurance cheaper?

As long as you’re a safe driver, you should be able to save more by getting a black box policy. Since the price is based on your driving score, the exact amount you could save will be specific to you.

Drivers that typically see high van insurance prices are most likely to benefit from a black box policy. This includes young or convicted drivers. For these drivers, black box technology can prove they're safe on the roads despite having no experience or a bad driving history. Drivers with a conviction see a price of £867*** for standard van insurance - that’s £245 more than drivers with no convictions.

If you use your van for work, a black box could benefit you by reducing your risk level when you're spending more time on the road.

***Based on Confused.com data, April - June 2023

We guarantee to beat your renewal. Or give you the difference, plus £20*

*Must be a like-for-like policy. T&Cs apply.

What our van insurance expert says

"On average, you could save £244 with a black box compared to standard van insurance policies.2

Aside from the cost savings you can get from a black box policy, there are other benefits to this kind of insurance. If you get into an accident that wasn't your fault, your insurer should be able to use details like your speed data to help support any claims you make. It can also help if you need to disprove any false claims made against you by another driver."

2Based Confused.com, June 2023

Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
Motor Insurance Expert Confused.com logo

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Are there any disadvantages to having a black box?

Black box van insurance doesn't suit everyone and there can be disadvantages depending on your driving style and policy. Not all policies have the same restrictions but there are usually some limitations:

  • Driving at night might lower your driver score - if your job requires you to be on the road after dark frequently, you’re less likely to see a reduced policy price.
  • Country lanes are seen as less safe to drive on, so if you live in a rural area, you might find your driver score is negatively affected.
  • Older vans may not be compatible with a black box. As part of applying for your policy the insurer should provide information on how your driving will be monitored. If they use a black box they should let you know where it needs to be installed so you can make sure you’ll be able to use it.
  • Not following the rules may increase your costs. If you don’t think you’ll be able to maintain a good score it might not be worth getting black box insurance. A low driver score could actually increase the cost of your van insurance.
  • Experienced drivers may not see a cost benefit if they're already seeing low van insurance prices. Compare prices and weigh up whether the cost difference is worth the limitations a black box may put on your driving.

What levels of cover are available?

Black box van insurance has 3 main cover levels - exactly like regular van insurance.

Third party only provides the lowest level of cover. It covers damage or injury to another vehicle or person (including your passengers), but you’ll be responsible for any damage to your van or yourself.

Third party, fire, and theft gives you the same protection as third party only, but you’re also covered if your van is stolen or damaged by fire.

Comprehensive is the highest level of cover available. You're covered for third-party, fire and theft, and it also covers you and your van if you’re in an accident.

You can also choose to add extra cover, such as breakdown cover or a replacement van if yours needs to be repaired.

When you get a quote, you need to tell us how you use your van. The different options available are:

  • Social only, sometimes called private van insurance, is useful if you only use your van for trips to the shops, school runs or hobbies.
  • Social and commuting is for those who travel to a single place of work using their van.
  • Carriage of own goods suits vans used for business purposes, particularly where you're carrying your own tools in your van.
  • Haulage is for delivery drivers and couriers who transport other people's goods over long distances. This is usually intended for delivery drivers who only make a few stops.

It’s always worth taking the time to compare van insurance policies so you can find a policy that works for you. There are lots of insurers in the market, so don’t go for the first one you find.

How do I get black box van insurance?

You can compare black box policies alongside standard van insurance policies when you compare van insurance with us.

  • Your driving licence number
  • The make, model and registration number of your van
  • Your personal details including your occupation
  • Details of any claims or motoring convictions you have
  • How many years' no-claims bonus you have
  • How many miles you drive a year - it can help save you money if you’re accurate about this

Look out for black box policies 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.

Black box van insurance search results on Confused.com
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Need more help?

What happens if I change my van?

If you change your van during the policy term you need to tell your insurance company so that it can update your policy. Depending on how your black box has been installed, you may need a new one fitted to your new van.

If you have a plug and go box or your driver score is monitored via an app, your insurer may not need to do anything to update your black box to work in your new van. But it’s always best to check with them before you start driving with it.

How easy is it to remove the black box from my van?

It’s relatively easy to remove a black box from your van if you decide you no longer want to continue using it after your policy ends.

If you fitted the black box yourself, it can be as easy as unplugging it from your windscreen or dashboard.

If an engineer fitted your black box, you’ll probably need to pay for someone to remove it.

Removing the black box isn’t really necessary though. Once your policy ends and you’ve let your insurer know you don’t want to renew with them, they should deactivate your black box straight away. You can carry on driving your van, sell it or even scrap it with the device in place if you wanted.

Will the black box interfere with my van?

A black box device shouldn’t interfere with your driving, your van or any of its systems. While it reports information on your driving back to the insurance company, you shouldn’t even be aware of it while you’re on the road.

If you notice anything unusual or suspect your black box is affecting your van in any way, contact your insurer who should investigate.

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Page last reviewed: 09 August 2023

Reviewed by: Louise Thomas

Confused.com van insurance customers rate us 4.7/5 based on 10973 Reviews.co.uk respondents - as of 31/08/23). Read our reviews