The Black Box Debate

Since this is a website dedicated to insurance, you might be forgiven for thinking I’m about to go on about airplanes and their black boxes. However, that’s not the aim of this piece. In fact, I’m going to ask some questions about the “black box” that’s becoming ever more popular in peoples’ cars.

We’ve all seen the ads on TV about how you can save money on your insurance if you agree to have one of these “gadgets” fitted. If you haven’t – where have you been? Actually, you may not own a TV in which case, why? Anyway, I digress.

The Life of a Black Box

This little piece of kit is installed into your car (with your permission), we’re not quite at the “big brother is watching” stage with car insurance companies yet. Once installed, it sends signals back to your chosen company so they know how safely you’re driving.

For instance, it will tell them if you’re breaking safely, are keeping within the speed limit and other areas of your driving such as how well you corner or what type of roads you use. Some will even give the location of your vehicle which can be very handy if some unscrupulous so-and-so decides they would like a car for free!

So now you know what the black box does what’s the debate all about? Here goes:

The Pros

If you’re a young driver and let’s face it, late teens to mid-twenties is an age bracket most companies are highly wary of, you can benefit from upfront discounts, rewards throughout the life of your policy and there are even some companies that will cover the cost of initial installation.

Other types of driver that can benefit from this telematic system are those who have just qualified to drive or people who have points on their licence. It can even help those of you who are being allowed back to the roads after a ban.

In short, it is possible to save a fair bit of money when taking out a policy like this.

The Cons

Of course, if you turn out to be a pretty “bad” driver and remember this is based on the types of data your insurance company collects, you might not save any money at all. If you’re someone who covers a lot of miles this might not be the right system for you either. Obviously, the more miles you do, the higher risk you are.

One thing I’ve come across that neither customer nor company appears to have thought about is what if there’s a fault with the black box? Ah Ha! I draw upon the experience of a young lady. She discovered the box wasn’t registering her breaking and it got to the point where her insurance company said they were going to cancel the policy.

So far, I haven’t found any information that “covers” a potential fault so this could be the deal breaker for a lot of people. My advice?

Consider this type of car insurance but make sure you understand what can happen if the data produced doesn’t meet the standards required by your chosen company.

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