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What happens to the black box when your policy ends?

You’ve had a telematics car insurance policy, earning a discount through careful driving. But now that policy is up. Rather than let your policy auto-renew or stick with your current provider, you’ve wisely decided to survey the entire car insurance market and look for a better deal from a competitor. But what happens to the black box your old insurance provider installed in your vehicle?

As with the installation of the telematics device, removal is easier if your vehicle has an onboard diagnostics (OBD) port. In that case, you were sent a self-fit box at the beginning of your policy to plug in yourself. Now your policy has lapsed, you can simply unplug that device. Typically your insurer will have you post the device back to them.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a suitable OBD port, you would have had the black box installed by a professional. These devices are trickier to remove so most of the time they’ll just remain in your vehicle. The insurance provider will simply deactivate the black box so it no longer records your driving. The deactivated box won’t affect your driving or the working of your car. You can also legally sell and scrap the car with a deactivated black box still fitted.

Of course, if you want the black box removed, you can speak to the provider and they’ll arrange for an engineer to come out and remove it. But removal isn’t usually covered by your insurance policy, so you’ll likely face an extra fee.

You may be tempted to try to remove the telematics device yourself. There are YouTube videos and guides online that detail how to do this. But most insurers caution against a DIY removal unless you’re a skilled car mechanic. They note that not all black boxes are built or installed the same way. So that guide on easy removal you’ve read may not even apply to the device installed in your car. It’s better to leave a deactivated black box in place than poke around under the bonnet and potentially damage your vehicle.

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