How Does Black Box Car Insurance Work?

- This is a collaborative post.

Anyone who has ever got insurance will tell you it’s complicated and they aren’t wrong. However, the good news is car insurance while not exactly simple is often easier than many people expect. Car insurance has many variables but there are always going to be a few things that will almost always happen. For example, if you are a younger driver then you can expect your insurance costs to generally be higher. On average people 25 and younger will have higher premiums which brings us to the subject of this blog black box car insurance.

Black box might already be a term you are familiar with and it likely gives you a basic idea of how this variant of car insurance works. But let’s take a more in-depth look at black car insurance, shall we? This type of insurance uses a black box to record and monitor your driving habits, this information is then used to set your insurance premiums.

A black box is a piece of telematics equipment that can be used to carefully monitor many different things. When it comes to car insurance the black box will record things like speed, the distance traveled, braking, cornering and even how much time you have spent on the road during daylight and night hours.

So, telematics equipment is very useful and is very popular when it comes to car insurance. Black box insurance might be the term most people are familiar with but there are actually three main types of car insurance that fall under the telematic label. Let’s take a closer look at all three, shall we?

Black Box Insurance
Black box insurance is the most popular type and arguably the most successful when it comes to getting accurate readings. The black box device used in this form of insurance is very small often the size of a smartphone and can be safely installed into all kinds of vehicles.

Plug and Drive
The plug and drive system follows very similar principles to typical black box insurance. However, instead of using a black box device a plug and drive device is used instead. This device uses GPS technology and will be plugged into your car’s charging port or in some cases the cigarette lighter.

The final telematics insurance system worth knowing about is also the most modern. This uses a smartphone app that tracks your driving. While you won’t need to install a device or even plug one in there is some debate over how accurate the readings are and how practical this method is. Black box insurance (and it’s variants) is most often used for younger and inexperienced drivers. However, it is also being adopted as a way for insurers to take on more high-risk clients. A high-risk client can vary but it will most often be a driver who has suffered a motoring conviction in the past. Using black box insurance in these cases allows insurers to protect themselves and for drivers to prove that they are safe on the road. Once you get into the late 20’s early 30’s the number of people using black box insurance drops dramatically.

The Black Box Set-Up
If you are considering a black box insurance policy of any kind then the advice laid out below will help explain how the process works. Once the policy is agreed a third-party will install the black box in your vehicle. A qualified mechanic or specialist installer will often do this. You will also usually need to show certain identification and documentation before the black box can be installed. This can vary but as a minimum, you should have your driving license and documents verifying you have passed your test, your car’s logbook or a V5C.

As mentioned previously the modern black box devices are typically very small and they will also usually be installed in a very discreet location that isn’t easily viewable. By their very design black box insurance policies are variable they might be quite expensive at first but quickly become much cheaper. It all depends on how you drive! If you drive safely your insurer will offer you lower premiums but if you don’t then they could rise. How and when an insurer will raise or lower your premiums will also vary some policies/ insurers work on a month to month model while some work on a yearly pattern.

So, that is a basic outline of how black box insurance works. It is a very popular insurance method for young drivers and does have some real benefits. So, if you are young and a new driver it is definitely worth considering.


  1. A friend of ours got "shopped" by her black box and ended up with a DUI conviction. She got home early from work one day, and could not park her car near her home as lots of commuters park in her area. She decided to wait till later. Several hours later, she's in her PJs, and had drunk a couple of glasses of wine. She looked outside and saw there was a spot right in front of her home. She went out in PJs and dressing gown, got in her car and went to pull out. Unfortunately the car parked in front of her was very close, so she ended up nudging it as she pulled out. The telematics device automatically called the police that there had been an impact. She didn't know this, got home, parked her car and went indoors. A few minutes later the police arrived. They ascertained she had been driving the car, breathalysed her and found she was over the limit. She got 3 points and had to attend a DUI course!

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