What is telematics car insurance?
Telematics insurance, also known as black box car insurance, is a way for car insurance companies to assess your skill as a driver, allowing them to judge your driving skill.
With your consent, an insurer will gather information about how you drive using a device installed in your car called a black box. They’ll then use this information to give you an insurance quote that matches your risk as a driver — as opposed to, for example, automatically giving inexperienced drivers a higher insurance premium.
What are the benefits of telematics?
Telematics is perfect for those who are new to driving that have been quoted high insurance premiums, despite being careful drivers. Both inexperienced and infrequent drivers could also benefit from black box installation because it often leads to fantastic savings as well as increased self-awareness whilst on the road. After the telematics device (usually a black box) is installed, you’re ready to go!
What telematics solutions are available?
There are two main ways to install telematics devices:
- Self-install - The telematics device is sent through the post and can be plugged into the 16 pin connector port.
- Professional fit - If the vehicle does not have a port, it can be professionally fitted by an engineer.
What does telematics monitor?
Telematics technology uses GPS to record your driving behaviour, including how, where and when you drive. Numerous factors will be measured, including:
- Braking frequency and force
- How smoothly your car corners
- How smoothly your car changes lanes
- How smoothly your car accelerates
- Time spent stationary
- Your car’s location
- The distance travelled
- The times your car is used
What is my ‘driving score’?
Your driving score is an assessment of how well you drive — you can view it via the portal on your account. The better you drive, the higher your score will be. If you have a consistently high score, you may be able to receive a cheaper renewal premium or receive money back from your insurer. Conversely, if your score goes lower, we may charge you a higher premium. If your score gets too low and shows no sign of improvement, we will cancel your policy.
What can I do to improve my score?
Drivers should always drive carefully to improve their score. The best things you can do are:
- Accelerate smoothly
- Brake gradually
- Turn corners at the right speed
See telematics insurance as an extension of the learning process — it’s a fantastic opportunity to be self-reflective and learn more about your driving style and areas for improvement. You can actively monitor your score through the portal to learn how to manage your driving performance.
What are the benefits of telematics insurance?
Telematics insurance is fantastic for inexperienced or infrequent drivers who want to find an insurance quote that takes into account their skill as opposed to their level of experience. It can:
- Reduce the cost of your insurance: be rewarded for safe and consistent driving with a lower insurance premium.
- Improve your driving skills: you’ll build self-awareness knowing that you’re being monitored.
- Provide reassurance for loved ones: there’s an incentive to drive safely, and that’s important for those waiting at home.
- Help drivers with poor insurance claims and driving history: if you’ve turned over a new leaf, why not show off about it?
- Have evidence in support of a claim: the data from your telematics box can be used in evidence should you need it.
Why choose Only Smart Drivers Telematics Insurance?
- Quick, self-fit device will get you driving quickly
- Better scores can lead to better renewal premiums or money back
- Control and monitor your driver score on our portal or app
How is your Telematics Black Box Installed?
Your black box installation will depend on the type of box sent to you by your insurer. Most of our black boxes are sent through the post for the policyholder to fit themselves.
However, some black boxes will need to be installed by the device provider. They will install the box out of sight — either under the dashboard or close to the engine.
Installing the black box yourself is an increasingly common way to start your telematics insurance. Simply plug the device directly into your car, ensuring it remains in place, and you’re ready to go. Find out more with our Black Box Installation Guide.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to be the only driver in the car when a black box is installed?
No — but as we can’t tell who is driving the car, you must be happy with their driving having a potential impact on your insurance policy. Even though they’ll be a named driver on your policy, if they drive dangerously or with excessive speed, this will go against your name, rather than theirs, so be sure to emphasise that their driving is being monitored.
What if I have a car accident whilst a black box is installed?
A black box will record any accidents that you have whilst driving. Using G-force to measure the force of an impact, your insurance provider collects data from an accident. However, if the accident wasn’t your fault, the black box will be able to provide evidence of this to your insurer, potentially helping you to make a claim.
What happens if my car is stolen when I am covered with telematics insurance?
A black box uses GPS to track your vehicle so in many cases, it can be used to track down the car. After reporting your stolen vehicle to the police, you should contact the claims department of your insurer who can observe the location of your vehicle using their technology. The insurer will then contact the police to update them about your stolen car, and if all goes well, your vehicle will be safely recovered.
Can I change the car on my black box policy?
It is possible to transfer your policy to a new car but the insurer may need to send out a new device.
Can I cancel my telematics insurance policy?
Yes it is possible to cancel at any time, and the telematics device should be returned to your provider.
Am I covered by telematics insurance abroad?
Yes. Full details can be found within your insurance policy.
How is the cost of my first year’s insurance calculated?
Car insurance is usually more expensive for new drivers as the premium and policy is a reflection of how safe you are seen to be by an insurer. The more likely you are to have an accident, the more likely it is that your insurer will have to pay out. This means that your premium may go up or down depending on how well you drive. Factors like age, occupation, the car you drive and its value, where you live, security and driving history all go into determining the cost of your insurance.
When you don’t have a driving history to go off, insurers have less evidence than they need to prove that you will be a safe driver. That’s why insurance premiums are often higher for new drivers.
On a black box policy, your premium will ordinarily be cheaper than a standard insurance policy as you have agreed in advance to have your driving monitored.
How is speed, acceleration and braking measured using a black box?
The black box measures speed, acceleration and braking using GPS and accelerometer data.
Acceleration (or G-force) is measured by looking at how speed increases over a certain period of time. If speed increases quickly, it will mean a higher acceleration than if you speed up gradually. A gradual increase in speed is seen as the safer way to drive.
Speed is calculated using the GPS signal that’s transmitted from the box. Looking at the rate at which your vehicle moves from one location to another, insurance providers can compare your speed against the national limit for that street or postcode. You should always drive below the recommended speed limit.
What will you do with the data you collect?
The data collected will be used to determine how well you drive and a score is produced to reflect this.
Do you give my information to the police if I’m speeding or have an accident?
Speeding is a violation of the insurance policy, and it will harm your driving score. Instances of speeding and accidents are handled internally within Only Smart Drivers rather than being handed to the police, with the exception of if the police request the data. We often contact customers to resolve the citation and encourage better driving, but if speeding persists, then the policy may be cancelled.