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Under UK law, it’s essential that all users have insurance before taking to the road.
The most basic type of insurance is third party insurance. However, many other drivers opt for more cover such as third party fire and theft insurance or comprehensive cover.
In recent years, road users have also turned to a new type of cover - black box insurance.
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Black box policies are a type of telematics car insurance that involve your insurer providing a clever piece of equipment (a black box, a plug-and-drive device or a mobile phone app) that monitors your driving.
These devices track things like your speed, how you handle corners and how you break to assess how safe you are on the roads. If you can prove you drive responsibly, you’re more likely to be offered lower premiums.
Insurance quotes are calculated based on the level of risk faced by the insurance companies. If you’re a careful driver, but your insurer deems you ‘high risk’ due to age or lack of experience, having a black box in the car will prove to the company that you will take care while on the roads.
This, of course, reduces the likelihood of you needing to make a claim.
When you sign up to a black box policy, your insurer will send someone around who will fit the device to your car.
This device will be able to collect information on when you drive, where you drive, the speed at which you drive as well as how often you use the car.
This information will be securely fed back to the insurer and, as the policy holder, is something you should have access to as well, ideally online or via a smartphone app.
Your data will only ever be used to calculate your insurance premiums.
What you get with your policy depends on the type of cover you opt for. Different black box providers will provide different policies offering the below coverage:
Generally, these policies won’t be offered to under 21’s but this varies from policy to policy so, if in doubt it’s best to check with your insurance provider.
It’s worth noting that even when you drive someone else’s car under your policy, you’re only covered on a third party only basis. The drive another car’s benefit is designed for emergencies only. If you’re going to drive someone else’s car for a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to be added as a temporary named driver to their policy.
However, some comprehensive cover policies insure the policy holder as a driver, rather than insuring the vehicle only. If your policy does this then you’re good to get behind the wheel of any car.
In order to get the best price for your car insurance, it is essential to do your research. Sit down and think about what it is that you need from your cover, and what sort of things you can do without.
You should try and decide in advance which of the three main policy types you’d like to consider. To do this you can read our handy guides on Comprehensive Car cover and third party fire and theft cover.
Once you have a list of what is really essential, and you know the sort of policy you require, then head to a comparison website which will show you the deals available to you, based on your own personal circumstances.
If you currently have car insurance then you should always do this, a month or two before your policy ends. While auto-renewing your policy might seem easy - because the insurance company just signs you up for another year and you don’t have to do anything - this won’t allow you to get a cheaper like-for-like deal.
Even if you’re happy with your current policy, armed with quotes from other firms, you can potentially haggle the price of your insurance down. This particularly applies if you’ve had a black box policy before and you can access your personal details. It’s much easier to reassure new insurers that you’re a safe driver if you have information from your black box to back this up.