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How to fit a black box in your car

Last updated: 18/07/2024 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re an inexperienced driver, then you may have come across the term black box, which can be useful for those looking for cheap car insurance. In this guide, we will be exploring the installation process for black boxes and what you need to do to get them up and running.

In This Guide:

What is a black box?

Black boxes, or telematics devices are small pieces of equipment that fit inside your car to monitor your driving. They collect data on everything from distance travelled and driving frequency to braking and cornering ability.

This information can then be used in a number of ways to affect the premium that a driver pays.

Do I need a black box?

Specific black box policies are often taken up by younger drivers. As they have little to no experience, they will often pay higher rates, something that a telematics device can bring down. 

Whether or not you need one will depend on your insurer and what kind of savings you can make. If you’re faced with a high premium and safe driving can mitigate this, you might want to install a black box. Similarly, if you know you won’t be driving much, a policy that charges you per mile might be a smart move. 

However, installing these devices can come with downsides. If you’re driving is determined to be unsafe, or you're exceeding your mileage limit you could pay higher premiums, or even have your policy cancelled.

How are black boxes installed?

This will depend on the device and what is required by your insurer. Some black boxes are pretty straight forward to install, and can be set up by the driver. For these, all you need to do is attach it to your windscreen, or plug it into your cars on-board diagnostic port if it has it. 

Others will be a little bit more complex. If the policy requires it to be professionally fitted then you will need to book an appointment with an engineer. They will then need to attach the black box to the interior of your car. Often this is done to the car battery, or placed just behind the dashboard.

Both types of installation will often then require you to download an app and register your car to the box. Not only is this a necessary step, it also gives you an opportunity to check up on your driving yourself to ensure you are in-step with your insurance policy.

How long does it take to install a black box?

Exactly how long it takes will vary depending on the method of installation.

For a self-service device, the entire process shouldn't take more than a few minutes.

If it needs to be fitted by a mechanic or engineer, it can take a bit longer, maybe up to an hour. This is because they will need to take apart pieces of your vehicle, attach the device and then reassemble.

Can I drive my car before my black box is fitted?

While policies will vary, most will allow for a short period at the start if it needs to be fitted professionally. This is because arranging for an engineer to come out can take a little bit of time.

During this period, your premium will likely be calculated at a standard rate. One thing to be aware of, however, is that for specific black box policies, you will need to install it within a certain timeframe. Failure to do so will invalidate your policy and potentially leave you with a cancellation fee.

How much does it cost to install a black box?

Generally, the cost of installing a black box will be included as part of your insurance premium. Some will charge a small, one-off payment to get this done, rarely more than around £50.

If you miss your appointment you may have to pay a fee, even if it doesn’t cost anything to install.

Can I remove my black box from my car?

If you have a self-fitted black box then there is technically nothing stopping you from removing it from your car. As soon as you do so, however, your insurer will know. This could lead to you paying a more expensive premium or having your cover pulled entirely. 

How expensive is black box car insurance?

If you stick within the agreed driving behaviours, black box insurance should be cheaper than a standard insurance policy. Exactly how much will of course depend on your policy and what you have agreed with your insurer.

At most, you could save up to around 60-70% with a black policy, which for those looking at pricey premiums can be a real lifesaver. When agreeing the framework for your policy, it’s important to be realistic. If you set your sights too high, you might fall short, which risks higher rates or a void policy. 

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