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How does Black Box Insurance Work?

This is a guide to help young drivers decide whether or not black box insurance - also known as telematics insurance - is right for them.

When fitted to a car, black box technology allows insurers like Marmalade to understand your individual driving performance, meaning we can offer a cheaper premium.

Why does Marmalade use black box technology?

The unfortunate, and often tragic, truth is that there is a direct correlation between young drivers and car accidents1. That's why car insurance for young drivers is more expensive.

There are two ways of approaching this. The first is to maintain a high insurance premium, discouraging young drivers from getting onto the road. The second is to enable more young drivers onto the road and help them to become better drivers.

Marmalade choose the second route and they are able to make this happen using black box technology. National Statistics tell us that 1 in 5 young drivers are involved in an accident within 6 months of passing their test. With Marmalade, this falls to 1 in 18, meaning our young drivers are nearly 4 times less likely to be involved in an accident within their first 6 months!*

Did you know, almost 455,000 drivers in the UK now have a black box fitted to their car2

We know that everyone has the potential to be a great driver. And while we know we can't change the accident statistics overnight, we also know that there are 10s of 1000s of young drivers who have never had any problems out on the road. We like to take an individual view on driving ability rather than trust in the statistics of the majority, and the best way for us to do that is to review and help improve driving style through telematics technology.

How does black box insurance work?

Marmalade uses a discreet black box that's fitted behind the dashboard of your car. The black box transmits driving data to us via a GPS signal. This gives us a more accurate picture of how you drive, allowing us to adapt the cost of car insurance to your particular driving style. Stick to speed limits and the rules of the road and you'll be rewarded with lower premiums at renewal.

What does a black box measure?

Don't worry, having a black box fitted doesn't mean we'll be scrutinising every second of your driving.

The telematics device in your car only ever alerts us when someone is driving at risk - this is what we call a ‘red journey'.

Our black box only measures four aspects of your driving - the ABCS:

  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • Cornering
  • Average Speed

We don't take into account any journeys that are less than two miles, because these don't give an accurate portrayal of risk.

How to check my black box driving data

There's a good chance you'll spend far longer checking out your driving data than we will. Your data is only flagged to us if you're driving dangerously, but you can check out your own driving stats any time.

You'll receive a login that lets you view your account online, where you can take a look at all the acceleration, braking, cornering and speed info your black box has collected. You can track how you've been driving according to our simple red, amber and green flagging system, giving you total transparency.

It's a great way to get an accurate insight into the way you drive, where you can improve, and where you're doing really well.

How to fit a black box in a car

There are two types of black box - one that you will fit yourself (normally called an OBD device) or a wired device that an engineer will need to fit. They're both small and discreet.

Fitting an OBD black box

Your OBD box will come with instructions on how to fit the box. It should only take a couple of minutes as it simply plugs into the OBD port of your car.

Fitting a wired black box

You should not attempt to fit the wired box yourself. We'll arrange for an engineer to come to your home address, at a convenient time, to install the black box into your car.

Where does the black box go?

If you have a wired box the engineer will fit the black box behind your dashboard. The location of OBD port for the plug in black box may differ depending on the make and model of the car. Click here for help locating the OBD port in your car.

Do you have a curfew with black box insurance?

In short - no! Some insurers impose curfews or penalties for driving late at night (as they see it as a riskier time to drive) but as Marmalade champions young drivers, we won't restrict your driving hours. Lots of young drivers want to work or socialise late in the evening, and, of course, the whole point of driving is to gain independence.

We believe that allowing young people to drive when they want allows them to develop their driving skills at all times of day and night. In fact, there could be a higher risk of an accident if a young driver is rushing to get home before their curfew. At the end of the day, we trust young drivers to drive safely.

Are there mileage restrictions with black box insurance?

Some companies will impose a cap on the miles so that you would either have to buy, or earn, extra miles. With Marmalade's New Driver Insurance (your car), there isn't a cap imposed on how many miles you can do each year, so there aren't any penalties to worry about. Who knows where life will take you? Wherever you want to drive, we're here to help, not impose constraints.

It's a bit different on our New Driver Insurance (family car) as the insurance is not designed for you to be the main driver of the car - so as a secondary user, you are unlikely to need a high number of miles annually.

When you're filling in insurance forms for any insurance company, just be honest about your mileage. This helps us insurers make sure you're properly protected and that you receive the best quote for you. Misleading insurers about your mileage can affect any claims that you make.

Sources
1Correlation between young drivers and car accidents source
2455,000 telematics drivers source
* * Based on Marmalade New Driver Insurance (your car) policies incepted April 2015 - September 2016. 1 in 16 Marmalade drivers have an accident within 6 months of their policy start date, compared with 1 in 5 young drivers who have an accident in the first 6 months after passing their test, according to National Statistics.