Is black box car insurance worth it?

Taxi and cars on the road

You might have heard of some of the new car insurance policies that are hitting the market featuring a black box.

Many insurance companies are running advertising campaigns on TV and social media, aimed at young people and inexperienced drivers in particular, and they are tempting customers with the idea of lower premiums.

Lower premiums, yes, but at what cost?

The car insurance policies are based on having a ‘black box’, also known as telematics installed in your vehicle. 

This sort of device is more commonly associated with aeroplanes, but as technology has improved in recent years, it’s become feasible to have them fitted inside cars as well. 

Essentially, the device transmits information back to insurers about the way someone is driving and calculates premiums based on this information.

The level of sophistication varies widely for this technology. Some simply track your car’s location via GPS satellites.  Other, more advanced versions can track your location, your speed, your direction, whether your seatbelt is fastened, when collisions occur, which pedals you were pressing, and a host of other information. 

The cost of the lower premiums can mean the loss of your privacy.  Your car insurer knows exactly where you are, when you go there, and how you drive at all times.

Why are insurance companies so keen on black box technology?

Many of the car insurance policies, while promising young or inexperienced drivers the freedom of the open road, actually come with a list of restrictions. 

For example, many of the policies don’t allow you to drive during a curfew. Need to go to hospital in an emergency during the night? Expect to receive a bill from your insurers. Need to drive outside your local area? You could receive a bill for that too.

Effect on road traffic accident claims

This changing technology is already having an effect on road traffic accident claims.  More and more cars are being fitted with these devices, either by manufacturers or by owners seeking lower premiums. 

Digby Brown is already beginning to see cases involving two vehicles with tracking devices fitted.  It might seem as if this would make establishing who is at fault for a road traffic accident more straightforward, but it is not as simple as that. 

In Scottish courts a witness has to attend court to vouch for a document that is being relied upon as evidence. If the data from the black box in your car is effectively your key witness, can you rely upon your insurance company sending someone to court to support your  injury claim?

The evidence of human beings is still likely to be paramount for years to come. Digby Brown are ready to help you make sense of all this, and help to ensure the success of your claim.