Black Box Mythbusters

flying pig on sky blue background with mystery black boxes either side

Posted by Holly West-Robinson on 09 May 2017

To find out what young people really knew about telematics insurance, we sent out a UK-wide YouGov survey stating 6 facts. 5 were false and 1 was true. Only 9% of 18-24 year olds correctly identified the true statement and 13% didn’t know. Here’s the results!

Drivers were asked two questions

The first of these was “what would put you off using black box technology?” with a list of options.

The second question presented 6 statements about all black box insurance policies, where 5 were false and only 1 was true:

  • There are curfews which prevent you driving after a certain time
  • Drivers will be penalised if they go over the agreed annual mileage
  • Driving mistakes will lead to increased premiums
  • Police can gain access to driving data upon request
  • For young drivers (aged 17-24), parents are able to view driving data upon request
  • Speeding is reported to the authorities

Only 12% of the population were able to correctly identify the correct answer. The figure was even smaller among young drivers (18-24 year olds) at just 9%.

Which of the above statements are actually true?


17% of 18-24 year olds thought “curfews prevent you from driving at a certain time” was a true statement! This is actually false… and one of the biggest myths in black box insurance. Which also explains why 37% of 18-24 year olds would be put off using telematics if it meant they couldn’t drive when they wanted.

Some providers do insist on imposing curfews, or your driving score will be penalised for driving at night, because they see it as a riskier time to drive. Marmalade realise a young driver could feel under even more pressure if they are rushing home for a curfew, which means they are at an even higher risk than if they didn’t have one! At the end of the day – drive when you want! It doesn’t bother us as long as you’re doing it safely :)

mileage restrictions

12% of young drivers thought we would be penalise them if they go over their agreed annual mileage. Again this is false when it comes to our New Driver Insurance on your own car! What about if you have long commutes or just enjoy a good road trip? We’re not here to put any constraints on your driving. It is however, advised to be completely honest about how many miles you are likely to do on your insurance, as providing inaccurate information could affect you in the event of a claim.

Our New Driver Insurance (family car) works slightly differently in that because you are not the main driver of the car, there is a mileage threshold. We do offer the option to purchase extra miles on this policy.

driving mistakes

A whopping 42% of 18-24 year old licence holders selected this. 49% said increased premiums from genuine mistakes would also put them off telematics insurance as a whole. Fortunately this is false again - increased premiums are only enforced if the driver is repeatedly making mistakes.

The black box focuses on acceleration, braking, cornering and average speed, so if you have to slam your brakes on one time because of an animal crossing the road, or the driver in front – that’s fine! These things happen all the time, but if you are also flying round roundabouts and speeding on the motorway on the same journey – obviously we can’t offer much leeway there and the chances are you would get a low score and receive a red journey.

If you do get what’s known as a “red journey” we’ll always give you a call to go through it in detail and pinpoint areas that could be improved to prevent you from getting one in the future :) It’s only if you consistently ignore our advice and drive erratically you could end up with a penalty. Less than 1 in 10 of our drivers are asked to pay a premium increase, so it really is just the rare few that even get to this stage! You can read up on our caution and penalty process for red journeys here.

contacting the police

We won’t contact the Police if you speed or have a red journey – however, the Police can request your driving data, and we would have to provide this to them, by law, if they ask. So this was the one true statement that only 9% of young drivers got right. However, it’s rare and we’ve less than a handful of requests in the last 6 months.

informing parents

This is half true… Only 7% of 18-24 year olds selected this statement, the second lowest of the 6 statements. Due to data protection, any parent or guardian not named on the policy will not be able to request this data, but if they are a named driver they will have access to the portal to review your journeys anyway. So it’s down to you to decide who you trust more – mum or dad? :P


1% of 18-24 year olds think that speeding would be reported to the authorities. Having said that, 16% of you said this would put you off telematics technology if it were true. So here’s why that wouldn’t happen:

Our black box measures your average speed, so how long and how often you speed on a particular journey is measured, but we understand there will be occasions you need to overtake, for example. Excessive speeding would result in a “red” journey, but speeding in general is not reported to the authorities. We have much more important things to do with our time than grass you up! 

Providing peace of mind on telematics policies!


Although some insurers do work slightly differently to us in terms of their restrictions, overall black box technology is designed to make a driver more consciously aware of their surroundings and behaviours on the road.  Young people make up 25% of fatal collisions on UK roads – we don’t want you to be a part of that statistic. Drive safe!

About the Author

Holly West-Robinson
Holly West-Robinson

Hi I'm Holly and I'm a young driver based in Peterborough! I love tattoos, food, drawing and anything art related, enjoy hanging out with friends and family and making a fool of myself XD I'm a huge lover of music and also a part time DJ in the underground drum and bass scene. I passed my driving test first time when I was 17 years old have been loving life and my new found freedom ever since! I'm definitely one of the adventurous types who's always up for a good old road trip!