Could the black box make you a better driver?

Hi everyone, it’s Kate again! I hope you’re all enjoying the fabulous weather – I think a trip to the beach might be in order soon!

This month I’ve changed my car insurance as my last provider was a little … expensive. We all know that young drivers are a bit wobbly on the road, especially in those first few solo drives, and this is why our insurance premiums get bumped up. But there is one device that is meant to help young drivers like me reduce those rates … it’s called the little black box, and I’ve just had one fitted.

A ‘black box’ is mostly known as a device that stores data and sends out a distress call in the event of a plane crash. Did you know there’s a version for cars too? Given that cars don’t tend to fall out of the sky it’s not nearly as dramatic – it just sits under your dashboard and monitors how you drive.

By having one of these boxes fitted in your car, it gives you the opportunity to prove that you’re not a boy-racer or someone who gets distracted by doing their makeup in the mirror. Your driving will be analysed so, hopefully, you’ll get a lower insurance premium when it’s time to renew.

What’s in the box?

The box is a telematics system that’s made up of a GPS unit, a high frequency motion sensor and a SIM card to transmit data to your insurer. It doesn’t sound like much but it can monitor a number of driving habits, including:

• The time of day/night you drive
• Speed you drive at (in comparison to the speed limit and the type of road surface you’re on)
• Whether you brake, accelerate or corner sharply
• Total mileage, with a separate count of motorway mileage
• The number of journeys you make
• Whether you take sufficient breaks on those long road trips

See? It monitors a lot of things, but it doesn’t affect the workings of your car at all! In fact, it’s normally installed at no-extra-cost when you buy your premium so even your wallet won’t realise it’s there!

How does my black box affect my insurance?

According to uSwitch.com, the average young driver insurance premium is £2,000 – an eye watering price, especially when many young drivers are still in school! The black box is said to remove up to £500 from these premiums, because the driver has proved themselves to be a safe and conscientious road user.

It’s worth looking around at car insurance deals to make sure you know what you’re getting. Some car manufacturers, like Vauxhall, have created policies specifically for young drivers. They’ve teamed up with Ingenie to provide insurance specifically for the Vauxhall Corsa that starts at £99 for the first year and rewards good behaviour by fitting a black box – you also get driving feedback via an app and your premium gets reviewed every three months!

If you’re like me and on third-party insurance, your car isn’t insured against theft, but the GPS system in your black box can help find your car if it has been stolen! It can also alert your insurer if you’ve been in a crash, so that’s one more job off the list!

Remember, if you share your car with your parents, how they drive affects your premium too. Safe to say, my parents don’t like driving my car anymore! My nan, on the other hand, loves it and is considering getting a black box for her car. (It’s not just us young ones who get penalised by the insurance companies – elderly people do too!)

I’ve found that the black box has really made a difference to how I drive; I’m more aware of my speed and how often I drive, I’ve also saved money on petrol because I make sure I’m in the right gear and not braking or accelerating sharply. If you know that you’re a safe driver, and want to save that little bit of cash, the little black box could be a good idea for you!

Visit your local Perrys dealership so that you can find out more about insurance and the new cars on offer – some have these boxes built in as standard, so do make sure you check this with your friendly car dealer.