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Also known as a telematics box, a black box is a GPS device that records how you drive. Black box insurance allows insurers to calculate risk and base your premiums on your Driver Score or Driver Safety Score – in conjunction with traditional factors like age, claim history, and more.

How a black box can help lower your car insurance premiums

Here’s the difference between standard car insurance and black box insurance:

Standard car insurance: insurers use multiple factors to determine how likely you are to make a claim in the future. While they’re usually accurate, some drivers may nonetheless 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: insurance companies are informed by cold hard data that presents how you drive. This technology can mean good drivers may be awarded with lower premiums over time.

You may also be able to pay per kilometre; meaning the less you drive, the less you might pay for insurance.

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

A black box records your driving habits to present an overall picture of how you drive. Here’s just some of what determines your score:

  • how fast you drive. If you’re a lead foot, you’re generally considered a risky driver;
  • how hard you brake. Constant braking is fine, but hard braking usually indicates bad driving;
  • how you handle corners. Smooth handling of corners is a hallmark of a good driver;
  • steering control. Wavering across the road can be a sign of poor driving; and
  • time of the day you drive. Insurers agree that peak hour and night driving can be riskier than day driving.

The black box will also consider things like how much you drive and where you drive, as different locations present varying risks.

The following types of people may benefit from black box insurance:

  • drivers with a claim history. If you’ve had a driving conviction or some bad luck in the past, black box insurance may prove to your insurer that you’re a better driver than what your record suggests; and
  • young drivers. Insurers deem young drivers (people under 25) risky to insure, and a black box may provide proof that you’re the exception to the rule.

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

a man driving his car with black box insurance

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of black box insurance?

Advantages

  • May result in lower premiums for competent driving
  • Can help locate your car if it’s stolen
  • Can be used to settle an incident dispute
  • Improve your driving with the data

Disadvantages

  • Not widely available in Australia. Generally, only available with comprehensive car insurance.
  • You may have to pay a one-off installation fee.*
  • You may also pay a fee if you want to transfer the black box to another car, repair the device, or remove it altogether.

*Pricing not yet determined. Black box insurance is not yet widely available in Australia.

Frequently asked questions

What is a black box and how are they installed?

A black box is a device that records how you drive (e.g. corner control, braking). The insurance company usually employs a third party to handle the installation. The black box device is typically the size of a smartphone and sits in the car – usually under the hood.

How much will it cost to install?

Black box insurance is not currently widely available, and prices vary between those who provide black box installation. Contact the insurer to find out how much this can cost.

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

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

How else can I lower my car insurance premiums?

There are many other ways to reduce your premiums, including:

  • pay annually. Insurers may incentivise annual payments by making them cheaper than monthly, fortnightly or weekly payments;
  • pay more excess. A higher excess shows good faith to your insurer. It also means the insurer has less to cover if you do make a claim;
  • drive a safe car. Certain makes and models have better safety features than others; and
  • keep your car locked and undercover. If your car is off the street and in a locked garage, it’s less likely to incur theft or damage.

Compare car insurance in minutes

While black box insurance is not yet widely available in Australia, Compare the Market offers you the luxury of comparing multiple types of insurance with our free comparison tool.

Simply enter your details, compare quotes and if you decide to take out cover, we’ll handle all the messy paperwork. Simples!

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