Black box insurance explained
Car insurance for young drivers can be expensive but there are ways to reduce premiums. Here’s how black box insurance works and how it could help cut the cost of cover.
What is black box insurance?
It’s insurance that uses a telematics device to monitor your driving and bases your premium on how safely you drive.
How does telematics work?
Telematics technology transmits information about how you drive to your insurer.
GPS data can be recorded and sent using a small black box fitted into your car, however, other data collection methods are becoming available.
In Ireland you may be offered:
- a black box device installed in your car by an engineer
- a device that plugs into your car’s power 12v outlet
- a freestanding smartphone app
With most black box cover you’ll also get feedback on your driving via a dashboard or app which will refine your driving skills and reduce the chance of accidents.
What does a black box record?
Telematics devices use GPS technology to log information about how you drive.
Your insurance provider wants assurance that you drive safely and aren’t driving in a risky way, for example, speeding or braking too hard.
This type of driving is more likely to cause an accident, which means there’s a greater chance that you’ll make a claim on your insurance.
If you drive sensibly, a telematics device can provide evidence that you are cautious and low risk, so less likely to make a claim.
Telematics can record
- Average speeds
- Distance travelled
- G-force (impact detection)
- Journey times
- Maximum speeds
- Number of journeys
- Road type
Benefits of black box insurance
Besides, earning you a discount for safe driving, there are several other advantages to getting a black box fitted. For instance, you may benefit from:
Do black boxes reduce accidents?
Fitting a ‘black box’ recording device to your vehicle significantly reduces the number of accidents, a study has found.
One insurance company revealed that between 2015 and 2022 the number of accident claims dropped by 27% and claims involving injury dropped by 48%.
MCL Insurance also revealed that speeding dropped by 72%.
Is black box insurance cheaper?
It depends on your circumstances and your driving habits. If you’re considered a high-risk driver and subsequently demonstrate safe driving it can reduce future premiums.
However, other factors such as the make and model of your car and your profession will also impact the price of your quote, so cheaper car insurance is not guaranteed.
Monitored driving works both ways and you may lose any discount and get penalised with higher premiums if your telematics device indicates you’re regularly driving in a risky manner.
Examples of risky driving are:
Are there any disadvantages to black box insurance?
Despite lots of benefits, there are a few drawbacks to watch for.
If you damage your box you may be charged for a replacement or if you decide to cancel you may be charged for its removal.
If your driving is poor, for example, you often speed and take corners too fast, you could end up paying higher premiums or even have your policy cancelled.
You may have to wait to see a drop in your premiums because some insurers only set your discount at renewal.
Is black box cover worth it?
Telematics technology is a great way to improve your driving habits and can be helpful should you require emergency services or need to claim on your insurance.
If you’re a young driver or have a bad driving record, the more safely you drive, the more likely you are to reduce your premium.
It doesn’t automatically make your insurance cheaper if you are a more experienced driver with a good track record.
Nevertheless, it’s worth shopping around for black box insurance quotes to see whether telematics cover could work out cheaper or more beneficial for you.
Which insurers offer black box cover?
Several of the major insurance companies in Ireland offer black box insurance, plus a number of smaller insurers and brokers, like:
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