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What is black box telematics?

  • What is a black box?
  • Do I need it in my car?
  • Parkers explains the tech

A way for your fleet manager or insurance provider to collect and analyse data about the way you drive in order to assess risk. 

How does telematics work?

It might seem like a new invention but telematics technology has been around for more than ten years, giving insurance companies and company car fleet managers an insight into car driver’s habits.

A small box, about the size of a smartphone, is installed in your car and can be used to track the vehicle’s movements through GPS. It also logs speed, acceleration and braking forces, and the time and length of journeys.

For more information about telematics visit car insurance comparison website Mustard where you can generate an online quote.

This can then be used to paint a picture of your ability and how much of a risk you pose, so more accurate insurance premiums can be calculated. The hope is that this information reduces your monthly bills, but it’s worth pointing out that they may increase.

Do I need it?

As a company car driver you might not have a choice – a black box may be fitted to your car as a provision of your agreement.

Private motorists will need to make arrangements with their insurance company to have one fitted. This may be free but it’s worth checking to find out if there’s an installation cost before you agree to it.

If you’re a smooth, conscientious driver then you could see your monthly outgoings reduce. The flip side is drivers with bad habits might see an increase.

There could even be a penalty for driving at peak times or late at night, and frequent speeding will doubtlessly have a negative effect. It’s also worth bearing in mind the system can’t differentiate between you and any potentially careless relatives or friends who might also drive your car.

Found on

Any fleet or private car signed up to a telematics scheme, for example an insurance-backed black box policy. 

Also known as

Black box, driver monitoring technology, vehicle tracking

Looking for more jargon-busting motoring meanings? Head over to our Parkers Car Glossary page and take a look at our other definitions.