What is black box insurance?

Black box insurance is a type of car insurance that’s priced on your driving behaviour. Also called telematics insurance, the theory behind it is that it rewards safe drivers with discounts and helps to reduce accidents on the road.

How does black box insurance work?

Black box insurance works by fitting a small device into your car in a discreet location. It analyses your speed, acceleration, braking, steering, mileage, cornering and mobile phone use and also detects crashes and accidents.

When it comes to renewing your car insurance policy, black box technology gives you an overall driving score. Safe drivers are rewarded with discounts and dangerous drivers are penalised with higher premiums.

Black box car insurance – pros and cons

If you’re a sensible driver, black box insurance might seem like a no-brainer. But as with anything, there are pitfalls to be aware of.

Firstly, let’s look at the pros. Black box insurance can:

  • Save you money on your car insurance — providing you drive sensibly
  • Improve your driving skills — rewards for safe driving encourage good driving habits
  • Help you locate your stolen car — the black box’s GPS tracking system can be used in the event of car theft
  • Prove your innocence in a collision — if you’re involved in an accident, black boxes can help prove that you weren’t at fault
  • Alert your insurers of any accidents — black boxes sometimes come with an accident alert system, which can mean quicker recovery
  • Save you money elsewhere — some insurers also reward good drivers with vouchers and gifts

However, there are disadvantages of black box car insurance. It can:

  • Increase your costs if you’re not careful — bad habits and dangerous driving can hike your insurer’s prices up
  • Limit your freedom on the road — some policies penalise late-night drivers as that’s when most car accidents happen
  • Restrict your journeys — if you frequently use your car, you’re more likely to get into an accident. You’ll be penalised for this and for going over your estimated annual mileage
  • Charge you for additional extras — some insurers charge a fee for installing the box and switching it over to new cars

Who is black box car insurance for?

Black box car insurance is predominantly aimed at new and younger drivers who are looking to lower their annual premiums.

Since car insurance is so expensive for those in their late teens and twenties and who have recently passed their test, it serves as an incentive to drive safely and sensibly.

Black box car insurance rules

The rules of black box insurance vary depending on your provider. But the general guidelines are as follows:

  • Stick to the speed limit
  • Don’t accelerate too quickly
  • Avoid late-night driving
  • Keep within your estimated annual mileage
  • Don’t tamper with the box
  • Brake in plenty of time
  • Don’t let uninsured drivers drive your car

How much does black box insurance cost?

If you’re wondering ‘How much is black box insurance?’, the simple answer is that it depends on your policy and how safely you drive.

On average, a driver aged 17-19 can expect to pay £1,773.69 a year for their black box car insurance. This can save drivers in this group an average of £203.50. Meanwhile, drivers aged 20-24 can expect to save an average of £131.44 by opting for a black box.

Remember, there can be extra costs involved — even with cheap black box insurance. Some providers charge for installation, the box itself and changing over the box to a new car. You may also be charged if you cancel or reschedule your installation appointment at short notice.

Other ways to get cheap car insurance for young drivers

If you’re a young driver looking to reduce your annual car premiums, car insurance without black boxes can still be an option.

You’ll save money on your car insurance by choosing affordable second-hand cars, as well as vehicles that are easy and inexpensive to repair. Choosing a car with in-built safety and security features is another way to reduce your car insurance. Steer clear of cars that reach top speeds and accelerations though — they can really hike up your premiums.

Our guide to the Cheapest cars for young drivers to insure features more tips and tricks for bringing your annual premiums down.

Frequently asked questions about black box insurance

Now that you know more about black box insurance, you’ll hopefully feel more informed about whether it’s the best type of car insurance for you. Have a think and shop for your next car here.