What is a telematics box?

A telematics system - or black box - is a data recording device that a driver agrees to have installed in their car on behalf of their insurer.

Blackbox telematics

What does a black box do in a car?

Black box car insurance uses technology designed to keep track of how a vehicle is being driven - particularly in relation to speed, braking and cornering force.

It also contains a GPS system, which shows how far a vehicle is driven, and at what time of the day.

instead of installing a physical black box. some insurance companies can now measure drivers’ performance using apps,


What does the insurer do with the data from the telematics box?

The insurer analyses the data recorded by the black box to ascertain if you are driving well or not.

With black box insurance rules, if you are driving well, your premium will go down, but if your driving is poor, your premium will go up.

Why might a black box record mileage?

When you take out black box car insurance you must stipulate a maximum number of miles you plan to drive each year.

Lower mileage may equal a lower premium. The black box would keep tabs on your mileage.

Exceeding the mileage limit may result in an increased premium. However, mileage is only one factor among many that impacts how much you pay each year

Why might a black box record the times when I drive?

Some black box insurance policies have a limit on when you can drive - usually because those who drive often late at night are deemed a higher risk than those who drive primarily during the day.

The black box will determine if you are meeting the obligations of your policy.

Who are black boxes/telematics systems for?

These systems are primarily aimed at younger, newer drivers, who are deemed higher risk by insurers.

Purchasing black box insurance lets such a driver prove they are a responsible behind the wheel - resulting in them benefiting from cheap car insurance with a black box fitted to their car.

How soon is the discount applied?

Having had the black box telematics device fitted, you may need to wait a year before you can get cheaper insurance.


Why might my insurance premium not go down as soon as I have a black box fitted?

There may be a wait in receiving a lower insurance premium after having a black box fitted because the insurer wants to build up a picture of your driving before offering you cheaper insurance.

Is the black box fitted forever?

No. After a certain period the black box will be removed because the insurer will trust you.Evening Driving Lighttrails

What other benefits of a black box are there?

A persuasive tool

Having a black box fitted might be a good way to persuade your parents to help you with your insurance costs.

Purchasing insurance with a black box will show you are trying to be responsible, while the insurer is keeping watch on your driving.

It should also eventually mean lower premiums; parents will appreciate this if they are footing the bill.

Safer driving

Having a black box installed in your car can also help to improve your driving skills.

As safe driving is rewarded, many drivers actively try and improve their black box telematics data score to lower their insurance costs.


Do insurers share telematics data with other organisations?

No. Under GDPR insurers are not allowed to share this data - inclusive of other telematics car insurance firms.


What will happen if I get caught speeding via my black box?

If a black box records you speeding, your insurer won't inform the police. However, police can request the data from the insurer.

Are there any downsides to a black box?

Some drivers may not like having their movements and driving monitored - it may add a degree of stress to their driving.

Others may find the notion of telematics recorders a little dystopian or Orwellian.

Additionally, if you have any other named drivers on your policy, they will need to drive responsibly too; one or two major slip-ups and you could be looking at the same - or higher - premiums in the following year.

Are black boxes common in the UK?

Yes. Back in 2009 just 12,000 drivers had car insurance with a black box fitted. By 2016 this figure had reached 975,000.

Do black boxes record data accurately?

There have been a handful of reports where a car was recorded as being driven when it was parked in a person’s garage. However, such faults are rare.

Any discrepancies on your black box telematics data should be reported to the insurer promptly.

Will I have to pay for the black box to be installed?

With some insurers you may need to pay for installation of a black box.

You may also need time off work/education while it is fitted.


What happens if my black box gets damaged?

If the black box is damaged you will probably be liable for repair or replacement. 

Is black box insurance worth it? How much cheaper will my insurance be with a black box?

After going to all this trouble, you’ll want to know your premium will go down dramatically after fitting the black box.

While each driver’s circumstances (and vehicle) differ, you can expect to get much cheaper car insurance with a black box fitted - assuming you drive safely and within the limits of the telematics car insurance policy.


More ways to cut your car insurance costs?

As well as having a black box telematics device fitted in your car, there are other steps you can take to decrease the cost of your car insurance.

Find out more here: 11 Ways To Cut Your Car Insurance