Explore Car Insurance

Kenneth YoungWritten by Kenneth Young
Reviewed by Adrian Taylor
Last updated 13/02/24

Key takeaways

If you’re a good driver and you want to have your good driving habits recorded then black box car insurance could lower your insurance premiums. Here’s how it works and how to benefit from this new technology offered by some insurance companies.

  • Black box technology is a device that presents an overall picture of your driving style to assess risk and potentially lower your premiums.
  • While a standard car insurance policy determines your risk as a driver over several factors, black box insurance uses hard data produced by a black box device.
  • Black box insurance uses scoring to assess your risk as a driver.

Adrian Taylor, Executive General Manager of General Insurance

Tips on how best to use black box insurance

Our expert Adrian Taylor provides tips on how best to utilise black box car insurance technology to lower your premiums.

Make sure your driving is as good as it can be

If you have any bad driving habits or you’re a lead foot, then this type of insurance may not be for you. However, if you consider yourself a safe driver then it may save you money.

Consider this product if you’re in a high-risk category

If you’re a young driver (typically under 25) then you could be considered a higher risk behind the wheel. However, if you feel you practice safe driving, black box insurance could help you save on an otherwise higher premium.

Keep track of your score on the app

A black box GPS device records hard data based on your driving, so keep an eye on it to self-correct as and when required as a way to keep your score down and therefore potentially lower your premium.

Black box insurance explained

Driver has black box car insurance

What are black boxes?

Also known as a telematics box, black box technology is a data recorder (either a GPS device or a phone app) that sits in your vehicle and measures your overall driving style. The telematics technology is best known in aircraft as flight data recorders, and it’s now available to record the distance you travel and/or your driving habits in your car.

An insurer will record the motoring habits the black box reports, such as your distance travelled, speed, braking, cornering and acceleration of the vehicle using this technology. This means drivers can demonstrate to an insurance provider that they’re a low risk to insure, and their premiums may be adjusted to reflect this with the use of this technology.

What is black box insurance and how does black box insurance work?

A telematics car insurance policy allows insurers to set driver premiums according to risk based on the information recorded by a black box, in conjunction with the usual factors like age and claim history.

You’re likely to benefit from this type of policy if you maintain a controlled driving style and don’t travel at speeds above the limit, brake hard or screech your tyres as you turn a corner.

As part of a black box car insurance policy, your usual car insurance factors are still taken into account, such as where the car is housed and the areas where you drive.

How does a black box work and calculate my drive score?

Black box technology records your driving habits to present an overall picture of your driving style. Here’s just some of what determines your score:

  • Speed – Whether or not you keep within the speed limits
  • Car mileage – If you drive less, your insurance costs will generally be lower
  • Acceleration/braking – Considered and controlled use of the pedals to moderate speed
  • Steering – A smooth and consistent use of steering shows a calm and controlled driving style.
  • When you drive – There are no curfews that are placed on when the vehicle used. However, it does consider the time of day the vehicle is used. For example, driving outside of peak hours and daylight might help lower premiums. The black box will also consider things like how much you drive and where you drive, as different locations can present varying risks.

The following types of people may benefit from telematics insurance:

  • Safe drivers. If you practice safe driving habits then this type of insurance may serve to highlight this and you could be rewarded by paying less in premiums.
  • Young drivers. Insurers deem young drivers (typically drivers under 25) as a higher risk to insure, but a black box may provide proof that you don’t fall into that category.

N.B. Many safe drivers already receive lower premiums through a no claims discount. While this isn’t available through black box insurance, you may still be rewarded for safe driving (and not making insurance claims) with lower premiums.


Standard car insurance v black box insurance

Standard car insurance: Insurers use multiple factors to determine how likely you are to make a claim and set your premium accordingly. While they’re usually accurate, some policyholders may pay more expensive premiums due to factors like their younger age or their claims history (regardless of whether they were at fault or not).

Black box insurance (also known as telematics insurance): Insurance companies are informed by the hard data that represents your overall driving behaviour. This technology can mean good drivers may be rewarded with lower premiums over time. The driving data will inform your insurer if you’ve gone over the speed limit, tailed too close to someone or even made a turn too quickly, all of which your insurer may deem as risks. It will still however, consider some of the same factors as standard car insurance such as your age and your driving record.


Important to know

How are black boxes installed?

The black box device is a plug-in typically the size of a smartphone and sits in the car, usually under the dash. Alternatively, they may also be available as apps for your phone, acting much the same as a device.

Do I have access to the black box data and my driver score?

Yes, you will have access to your black box data via a user account or on a smartphone app.

Adrian Taylor, Executive General Manager of General Insurance

Meet our car insurance expert, Adrian Taylor

As the Executive General Manager of General Insurance at Compare the Market, Adrian Taylor has over 13 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Adrian specialises in customer experience and is dedicated to helping customers better understand insurance products so they can save money on their household bills.

single alexksander portrait in bottom global block

You’ve made it to the end!

Don’t stall now. See if you can track down better car insurance cover

Compare car insurance
single sergei portrait in bottom global block