What is a black box and why do I need one?
A ‘black box’ is a term more commonly used to talk about aircraft. In an aircraft, the black box monitors the plane, how it is flown, the flight path and to discover the cause of aircraft accidents. For a car, the concept is similar. The black box monitors how the car is driven. It is primarily used to reduce car insurance premiums for high-risk drivers. In this article, we aim to answer the question ‘What is a black box and why do I need one?
What does a Black Box monitor?
The Black Box device is about the size of a smartphone. It sits inside the glovebox and records the speed, acceleration, braking and cornering of the car. This builds up a profile of you as a driver. If you accelerate aggressively, brake suddenly and take corners hard then the black box will know about it. Similarly, if you are a more careful driver sticking to the speed limits and driving in a calmer manner this will be recorded too. Not only that, the black box also records the type of roads you travel on and the times of day or night you most frequently drive. It’s quite a comprehensive system and gives scarily accurate data for analysis.
The insurance company will assess the data from the Black Box and decide your risk factor. If your risk factor is low, your car insurance premium will be low. If your risk factor is high, your premium will be high. Your risk factor is determined by scoring the safety of your driving via the Black Box system.
Which insurance companies provide a Black Box?
We’ve taken a moment to compile some of the best Black Box insurance providers in the UK. Chosen for their customer service and pricing. There are many more insurers on the market who offer a Black Box. You can compare them all at Money Supermarket online. Some of these insurers ONLY offer Black Box insurance, for others, it is an optional service offered to their customers.
- Direct Line DrivePlus
- Admiral LittleBox
- Hastings Direct Smart Miles
- Insure The Box
Can I see the data from the Black Box monitor?
As the driver, you can access the data held about your driver profile by logging on to the website of your Black Box provider. A series of graphs will show your driving patterns for each category. This way you can see if you need to make any alterations to your driving style. Usually, you’ll be offered tips on how you can improve your driving to get a better score. Getting a better score will, in turn, reduce your car insurance premiums. It is generally assumed that if you spend little time driving at night and doing fewer miles on dangerous roads that your risk of an accident is lower. It is easy to see why being a safer driver will reduce the risk of an accident and in turn reduce your car insurance premiums.
How long will it take for my insurance premium to go down?
The good news here is that if you are a safer driver your premium will reduce immediately. The Black Box is monitored monthly so the more you improve your driving the cheaper your insurance will be for the next monthly instalment. But every positive must have a negative. So, if your driving style worsens over the course of the month your next premium will be higher.
Who can benefit from Black Box insurance?
Black Box insurance is designed for anyone who pays a higher price for their car insurance. These are typically young and newly qualified drivers whose insurance premiums can be eye watering. This is because statistically drivers aged 17-25 are more likely to be involved in an accident. Black Box insurance allows these young people to prove that they are safe drivers and be rewarded within their premiums.
Similarly, experienced drivers who have claims or convictions on their record will be paying higher insurance rates. The Black Box gives these drivers the opportunity to show that they are responsible and capable on the roads. If they can show that they are better drivers then they will be rewarded with lower insurance premiums, despite their driving history.
The Black Box puts the driver in control of the cost of their insurance which is great for anyone on a budget or trying to make savings where possible. In the future, careful drivers may also be given other rewards.
Be sure to shop around for your Black Box insurance so you can find the cheapest quote for your circumstances. Different insurers will have varying pricing and different grading criteria.
Should everyone get Black Box insurance?
Black Box insurance, otherwise known as Pay As You Go insurance or telematics insurance (a bit technical) can be a great way to reduce premiums if you’re in a higher risk category. If you are not in these higher risk categories you could find that Black Box insurance actually increases your premium. Especially if you cover a lot of miles per year.
What are the drawbacks to Black Box insurance?
Black Box Insurance does have it’s drawbacks, despite being a seemingly much fairer system. The most prominent is that fitting a Black Box into your car does come at a cost to you. Some insurers will charge you separately, others will consume the cost of installing the device into your premiums. That being said, you will likely still make a saving if you’re in a high-risk driving group.
If you cover a lot of miles for work or have a long daily commute and are not within a high-risk group it is possible that you could pay more than if you opted for a regular policy.
Also, if you are not as safe a driver as you assume you are then you will be paying more for your insurance initially. However, because it is Pay As You Go insurance you do have the opportunity to change your driving habits and bring the cost down again.
What are the advantages to Black Box insurance?
Some drivers find it unnerving to have their movements tracked via GPS, which is understandable. It does feel a bit like Big Brother is watching your every move. There is an advantage to this though. If you are involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, then the data from your Black Box could support your case. Also, if your vehicle is stolen the GPS tracker can be used to trace it.
In conclusion, Black Box insurance is a great way for high-risk drivers to reduce their premiums. It also has the added bonus of encouraging drivers to be safer on the roads which will likely reduce the number of road traffic accidents in the UK. As a fairly new concept, Black Box Insurance has a little way to go before the real benefits to road accident statistics are released but I would expect the statistics to continue to go down.