Do I have to install a telematics device before I can start driving with black box insurance?
Your car must be insured every day you own it, so you must sync the end of one car insurance policy with the start of another. But if you choose a black box insurance policy, the telematics device that accompanies it will often need to be installed. How does this delay impact your insurance?
In many cases, the black box is installed by a professional sent by the insurance company. This means there will be a delay between your insurance policy starting and the mechanic coming out, although insurers try to keep this to just a few days, depending on your schedule.
If your vehicle has a suitable onboard diagnostics (OBD) port, you can install the black box device yourself simply by plugging it in. But there’s often a wait while the device is posted to you.
Does this mean you need to wait to drive until the device is installed? The answer is no. Your insurance policy applies from the policy effective date on your policy documents. This means you can drive immediately, even if you’re still waiting for an installation engineer to come out or the telematics device to come through your letterbox.
Some insurers specify that while your vehicle doesn’t have a device fitted you’ll have a higher excess. This means that if you make a claim for an incident that occurred during this period you’ll have to contribute more out of your own pocket.
Note that if you don’t have the telematics device fitted in your car within a certain time frame—we’ve seen everything from seven to 21 days from the policy start date—your insurer will cancel your policy. So you should schedule an installation appointment as soon as possible and contact your insurer if you're confused about plugging in your self-fit box.