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What information does a black box collect for car insurance?

Jan 28, 2021

Everyone wants to save money on their car insurance. Perhaps you’re a new driver who’s just passed their test? Maybe you’re raising a young family on a tight budget? Or you’ve just bagged yourself a new job and you want to upgrade your current set of wheels to something a little sportier without breaking the bank? Black box insurance can help.

Black boxes all sound rather mysterious, but they are more straight-froward than they sound.

This guide will give you more information about how a black box works, the information it collects, and the benefits it can offer you. Here’s your black box insurance 101 – starting with the basics…

What is black box insurance?

Black box car insurance is different from regular car insurance.

Traditionally, car insurance has looked at factors such as age, mileage, address, and make and model of vehicle to assess the risk of a driver.

Insurance providers then use this level of risk to calculate a premium. Black box insurance is more personal than that. It works out premiums by monitoring the way you drive.

It does this by using a device (a black box or what we call a Smartplug) into your car which sends data to the insurer about how you drive. Data is collected every time you get behind the wheel and transmitted wirelessly to your insurer.

This means premiums are worked out according to how you actually drive instead of making assumptions based on age and other broad factors. Some black boxes come with an accompanying app.

This gives you the chance to monitor your driving style and make adjustments throughout the year. For younger motorists, this can help bring down the annual cost of car insurance considerably.

Black boxes all sound rather mysterious, but they are more straight-froward than they sound.

A young woman driving on a motorway
How does a black box work?

Black box insurance works using a type of technology called telematics. A black box (about the size of a matchbox) is installed inside your car – usually under the passenger seat, on the centre console or behind the dashboard – and gathers information as you drive.

Using GPS, the black box sends information about your speed, acceleration, braking and so on to your insurance provider. They will then use that information to monitor and assess how safely you’re driving, awarding you a Driver Score.

Every time you get behind the wheel your Driver Score will be updated depending on how safely you were driving.

By viewing this data (via a mobile app) you are able to see specifics about your journey. For example, if you accelerate too quickly when pulling out from a junction, brake too sharply at traffic lights, or take a corner too quickly, all that data will be visible.

This level of detail helps you better understand how you can improve your driving technique – and your Driver Score.

Having a good Driver Score is definitely in your best interests as it means you can potentially save money on your car insurance.

It’s worth noting that the black box will monitor how a car is driven on every journey – whoever is in the driving seat. If you have additional drivers named on your insurance policy it is important to make them aware of this fact.

What information does a black box collect?

A black box can collect a range of information relating to your driving including:

  • When you drive: The time of day or night you drive. This information is useful because you are statistically more likely to be involved in a crash when driving at night or during rush hour.
  • The speed you drive: How fast you drive is another important piece of data. Insurers are interested to know whether you stick to the speed limit or not.
  • Where you drive: Are you mainly driving on motorways, busy city roads, or rural roads? Different roads present different challenges to drivers and will have an impact on your rating.
  • How often you drive: Data will be collected on your total mileage and the number of journeys you make. That’s because the more time spent behind the wheel, the more likely you are to be involved in a traffic incident.
  • Whether you take breaks: Information is collected on how many breaks you take during a long journey. After all, tiredness can kill.
  • How you drive: As well as speed and acceleration, data is also collected about your steering, braking and cornering.

Having a good Driver Score is definitely in your best interests as it means you can potentially save money on your car insurance.

A side profile of a young woman driving with the sun shining behind her
What are the benefits of black box insurance?

The two main benefits of using this type of insurance are that it can save you money (especially younger drivers) and help keep you and your car safe.

First up, the money. Regular car insurance lumps people together based on demographics rather than driving ability. That means every 18 year old living in Manchester, working as a marketing assistant and driving a 10-year-old Volkswagen Polo will likely pay similar insurance premiums.

However, by providing your insurer with information about your driving through a black box, your driving is rated more accurately. The better you show your insurer you can drive, the more likely you are to receive a discount on the price you pay.

Secondly, a black box can keep you safer on the roads because it makes you aware of how you are driving.

By continually trying to improve your Driver Score, you will soon become a more considerate, patient and safer driver. Plus, by collecting data about vehicle location, it can help track down your vehicle if it is stolen.

Save money on your car insurance

At Smartdriverclub Insurance, we want to make having car insurance simple – and that includes saving you money. Our Smartplug will monitor your speed, acceleration, night driving and more to help save you money on your car insurance renewal.

Depending on your scores, you could receive a discount of up to 40% on your next annual renewal price. Our black box insurance also gives you access to crash assistance, theft tracking, and MOT and TAX reminders.

Find out more about how our black box insurance works, get a free quote today.