Telematics car insurance

Compare telematics policies, also known as black box car insurance, and find out how it can lower your premium

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[1] Up to £250 refunded after claim settled. Car insurance purchases only. Excludes breakdown, windscreen and glass repair/replacement. Full T&Cs apply.

What’s telematics insurance?

Telematics insurance involves fitting a little black box, roughly the size of a smartphone, into your car so that your insurer can monitor the way you drive.

If you drive safely and sensibly, your premium will be reduced.

Careful though - your insurance prices will go up if you’re a reckless driver.

How telematics works

Telematics insurance tracks your driving so your insurer can see how safe you are on the road.

  1. Your braking habits, speed, distance travelled, and what kinds of roads you travel on are recorded using GPS for your insurer to examine

  2. Most policies will give you access to an online dashboard or smartphone app where you can review your driving habits and learn how to improve them

  3. Your insurance premiums will go up or down based on how well you drive. Some providers will calculate your renewal price based on this, while others adjust your policy price mid-term.

Having a black box fitted

Most newer cars have telematics hardware pre-installed. If yours doesn’t, having a black box fitted is straightforward - the insurer might send out an installer to fit the device.

If your car’s compatible, some policies will send you a plug-in device that you install yourself by pushing it into a socket under your dashboard. Other policies ask you to download an app for your smartphone so that you use that as the black box instead.

Should you get a black box?

Telematics insurance is usually aimed at younger drivers. If you’ve not been driving long it’s a way to save money on your car insurance in return for proving you’re a safe driver.

But good drivers of any age could benefit. If you tend to drive in your local area, have a low annual mileage, and mostly travel short distances, your insurers will recognise this and lower your premiums accordingly.

Black boxes are also useful if you want to prove you’re a good driver despite falling into other high-risk categories. For example, if you’ve got a high-risk job or criminal conviction.

If you only drive at low-risk times of day, that can bring your premium down as well. This is almost any time outside rush hour, excluding the middle of the night - which is usually considered higher risk.

“Telematics is a very useful tool, but any tool is only as good as its wielder. If you ignore your black box and don't drive carefully or within any pre-arranged limits, you could pay more for your premiums”

Matt Oliver
Motoring expert at GoCompare

How's black box car insurance calculated?

Black box insurance policies are calculated based on driving ratings and targets set by your insurer. 

Driving behaviour ratings will include how you accelerate and brake, the speeds you drive at, the type of roads you use most often, and the time of day you travel.

If your insurer uses mileage as a rating factor, you would agree on an annual mileage allowance. Then, if you exceed it, your premium will increase. 

Drivers that hit their targets and stick to what they’ve agreed will be rewarded with a lower premium.

Check whether a policy is based on your driving behaviour, mileage, or both to make sure it’s suitable for you.

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[1]Up to £250 refunded after claim settled. Car insurance purchases only. Excludes breakdown, windscreen and glass repair/replacement. Full T&Cs apply.

[2]Correct as of 24 July 2019

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