How does black box insurance work? Telematics car insurance explained

Unfamiliar with black box insurance? This guide aims to answer our most common questions about telematics insurance

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Black box insurance, also known as telematics insurance, exists to fight against the super high premiums faced by most young drivers. But, it’s often misunderstood and there are lots of misconceptions. So, we’ve created a guide to answer some common questions such as whether black box insurance is cheaper and what driving is monitored with a black box.

What is telematics insurance?

Simply put, telematics insurance is a policy that monitors your driving to make sure that you are driving to a safe and acceptable level. In return, the insurer will offer you a lower premium, as they will be able to see you are more responsible and less likely to make a claim.

But what does black box insurance measure? Well, it varies from insurer to insurer, but here at Marmalade, we monitor 5 areas of your driving. These are speeding, accelerating, braking, cornering speed and phone usage. All of these areas of your driving are available for you to see on the mobile app. This allows our drivers to monitor their own driving and take responsibility for how they can improve.

How is telematics car insurance different to normal insurance?

In essence, with black box or telematics insurance, there is very little difference from a normal policy. It is fully comprehensive, available for provisional and full licence holders and if you drive for 12 months without any fault claims, you will get a full year's no claims bonus.

The only difference with black box insurance is that the insurer will be able to monitor your driving to make sure that you are a responsible driver. This means that telematics car insurance quotes are often cheaper for young drivers and renewal premiums will reflect how you’ve driven over the year. Plus you can see your driving score, just the same as we can, and you can use this to improve your driving style (if you need to!).

Which telematics insurance technology is best?

If you don’t know which black box insurance is the best, first you need to know that there are 3 types:
- Plugin or wired device
- App on smartphone
- App and telematics tag

All our new policies use an App and telematics tag. This works best as it is accurately able to monitor your driving and give you feedback directly through the mobile app. The tag doesn’t need to go onto the battery and can be fitted to any car.

If you’re wondering “how do insurance companies fit a black box?”, the answer is that we don't. You do! This means no waiting for an engineer to come to you, or having to book in at a garage. You are covered immediately from when your policy starts and all you need to do is stick the small telematics tag to the inside of the windscreen once it’s arrived in the post. Read our guide to fitting a black box to see just how easy it is.

How does black box insurance work?

Black box insurance works by using a small GPS device to monitor your accelerating, braking, speeding, cornering speed and by connecting it to your phone, it also measures your phone usage. All of this is available on the mobile app to help you monitor your driving

All of this information is then used to generate your driving score, which is available to you via the mobile app. Your driving score will show you how well you have been driving and our safest drivers can earn themselves a safe driving discount at renewal.

The majority of customer journeys (96%) are green journeys - and green means your driving is good. Sometimes though, where there are a number of unsafe driving events flagged, this can cause a red journey. It’s rare though, as less than 2% of all journeys are flagged as red. If you do get a red journey, we’ll get in touch, but you’ll also be able to view the journey on your app to see what areas were flagged and exactly where on your route the incidents happened. This helps you understand where there’s room for improvement.

How much does black box insurance cost?²

The average cost of insurance for a young driver in the UK is £1954³, so having a black box insurance can make it more affordable. These are the average premiums paid, by age, by our customers². As well as paying less in their first year, our customers save on average 23% on their first year's renewal premiums*.

  • 17 years old - £1,246
  • 18 years old - £1,342
  • 19 years old - £1,217
  • 20 years old - £1,052
  • 21 years old - £976

Who should choose black box insurance?

Our policies are designed with the needs of new and young drivers in mind. However, those who have a poor driving history or no driving history could use this technology to help reduce their premiums. To help give you an idea of who our policies are for, a majority of our customers are drivers under the age of 20 and those that have not yet earned a No Claims Discount². By having a black box that monitors your driving, these drivers are able to save themselves an average of £700³.
    Policies by age

    Frequently asked questions

    How do you fit a black box?arrow

    The black box needs to be stuck to the inside of your windscreen, just behind the rear-view mirror. This is where it collects data most accurately and as it’s nice and small, you don’t need to worry about it obstructing your view.

    If you get a new car or have a windscreen replacement and need to remove the box, you can simply peel it off and stick it to the new car!

    If you need some more guidance, you can read our page on how to fit a black box.

    What data does my black box insurance provider collect about me?arrow

    If you've purchased a policy with Marmalade you'll have provided us with certain information including details about yourself, the car you're driving, your driving history and any named drivers you have added. This information enables us to provide you with a price and set up the policy in your same.

    Once the policy is set up, to monitor your driving, we will measure 5 key areas of your driving:
    - Accelerating
    - Breaking
    - Cornering Speed
    - Speeding
    - Phone Usage

    This data is used to generate your driving score, which is used to help calculate your next year’s premium.

    As you would expect, here at Marmalade, we store any information we hold securely. If you’d like to find out more about the data we hold, please read our privacy policy.

    Can I see what the black box records about my driving?arrow

    The black box provides feedback on the five areas of driving we monitor. These are acceleration, braking, cornering speed, speeding and phone usage. Our smart app places driving events on a map to show you where issues are happening to help you pinpoint where you can improve.

    With good driving, you can earn streaks and badges on the app to show off your driving ability!

    Who else will see my black box driving data?arrow
    Your driving data is only available to you, ourselves, the telematics provider and the underwriter for the policy. We won’t share the data with the police or authorities unless requested as part of a criminal investigation.
    Are there curfews or night-time driving restrictions with black box insurance policies?arrow
    The simple answer to this is no. Unlike other insurers, we don’t put restrictions or curfews on your driving.
    What happens if you speed with a black box?arrow
    Our black box records your speed, so if there are any moments where you go over the speed limit, it will be recorded for you to see on the app. We aren’t worried about small mistakes, so if you’re normally a safe driver - don’t sweat it! If you know about it, it’s less likely to happen again. If however, it happens regularly, you’ll start the red journey process. If you’re caught speeding by the Police or a Speed Camera, you may have to pay a fine and face points on your licence.
    How else can young drivers save money on insurance?arrow
    Getting a black box isn’t the only way to keep your insurance premium down. You can also look at choosing a car in a low insurance group or adding an experienced driver to your policy. You can find out more in our list of 8 ways to save money on your car insurance.
    How much cheaper is black box insurance than normal insurance?arrow
    The average premium paid by 17-24 year olds is £1954 based on the Consumer Intelligence Car Insurance Price index (December 2020), but Marmalade's insurance can save young drivers an average of £700³. As black box insurance has become more common, not many insurers will offer very young and inexperienced drivers cover without a black box.
    Is black box car insurance worth it?arrow
    If your still wondering “is telematics insurance worth it?” you just need to ask yourself: Do I want insurance that, on average, is £700 cheaper³, which helps me improve my driving and gives me restriction and curfew free driving? If the answer is yes, black box insurance is worth it! But don’t just take our word for it, check out our Trustpilot reviews to see what our customers have to say!

    Get on the road today...

    All our policies allow you to start driving as soon as your policy starts!
    No need to wait for your black box to arrive!
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    Compare black box car insurance options

    Here at Marmalade all of our policies offer comprehensive cover with no curfews, so you’re free to drive where you want when you want. What’s more, you can start earning your own No Claims Discount!

    Annual insurance on your own car

    For the main driver

    • dotInstant comprehensive cover
    • dotCover before and after you pass your test
    • dotNo price increase when you pass
    • dotDrive well and earn an extra safe-driving discount at renewal

    Annual insurance on a parent’s car

    Cover for up to 10,000 miles per year¹

    • dotAlternative to being a named driver
    • dotNo risk to parents’ no claims discount
    • dotFor full and provisional licence holders
    • dotNo increase in price on passing your test

    Pay as You Go insurance

    Ideal for sharing a parent’s car

    • dotOnly pay for the miles you drive
    • dotExclusively for full licence holders only
    • dotNo risk to your parents’ No Claims Discount
    • dotEarn your own No Claims Discount
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