We’ve reviewed the best black box car insurance to help you find cover in 2021.
The best black box insurance companies
These are some of the leading black box insurance providers in the UK:
- Direct Line
- Hastings Direct
- Drive Wiser
- Insure The Box
In this guide
- How we created our list of the best black box insurance providers
- What is black box insurance?
- How black box insurance works
- Black box insurance reviews
- Is black box insurance right for you?
- How much does black box insurance cost?
How we created our list of the best black box insurance providers
Rather than being based on price alone, we examined other contributing factors that would affect the overall value for money for each policy. To do this we collected information from our insurers about:
- The type of cover levels from each provider
- The extent of the policy and its cover limits
- Customer reviews — Typically, young driver insurances scored lower in customer reviews with customers citing that some black boxes were not accurate.
We outlined a number of minimum requirements that we felt offered the best insurance for customers. We’ve only included insurers with:
- Free installation
- Tracking via an app or a dashboard
- Theft tracking included
- No curfew
Other factors we considered for our list included:
- Your No Claims Discount won’t be affected if you’re involved in a crash
- Optional courtesy cars if needed
- Windscreen repairs or replacements
What is black box insurance?
Black box or telematics insurance is a way of monitoring how you drive by installing a small box in your car. Mainly aimed at younger drivers, people who have just passed their test or infrequent drivers, the idea is that you’ll be offered a lower premium or good driving will be rewarded with discounts.
A black box measures and records:
- Your location
- Vehicle speed
- Driving frequency
- How hard you apply the brakes
- How sharply you take corners
While it can offer savings in price, many drivers with a black box have found it frustrating to be monitored and having to adhere to restrictions like curfews.
There are other methods of saving money, on your car insurance. For some people a standard car insurance policy might be more appropriate to their needs – we’ve created a list of the best car insurance companies and a list of the best policies for young drivers here.
How black box insurance works
Black box technology uses GPS and G-force sensors to measure things like your speed, how sharply you brake and accelerate, the time of day you drive and the length of your journey. The devices are discreet and can’t usually be seen in your car. They pass the information back to your insurer, who will assess your driving and determine a driving score based on your data.
Rather than being judged by an insurer just on statistics relating to other people, the idea is you can prove to them you’re a good driver and deserve a lower premium.
Often the technology is linked to an app or online dashboard where the policyholder can get feedback on their driving. This is designed to help them improve their skills so that they get a better driving score. Some providers even offer a ‘find my car’ feature in the app so you’re able to track your car if it’s stolen using the GPS. Marmalade’s dashboard flags where you made an error and shows a Google Street View of the stretch of road you were on and gives you pointers on what you could do better.
Sounding too good to be true? Although your premium might be lower, many black box providers impose limits on where, when and how far you can drive. Some drivers have found that the constant worry about how they drive and knowing they are being tracked can be quite frustrating
But, in general, young drivers make more claims than older drivers. According to the most recent government statistics, 26,988 young drivers were injured in accidents in 2019. This means that whether you’re a safe young driver or not, your premium is likely to be expensive because of other drivers’ recorded actions.
Black box insurance reviews
Direct Line DrivePlus review
Directline’s DrivePlus believes that safer drivers should pay less for their car insurance. Its black box insurance cover is one of the most comprehensive on the market.
Its black box insurance includes:
- No imposed curfews, but you may be penalised for driving during times of the day that are considered to be more dangerous including late at night, early in the morning and during rush hour.
- Drivers under 21 can get a 25% upfront discount, or if you’re 21-25 you’ll get at least 15% off.
- Access to an online dashboard and app to track your driving score.
- Receive regular feedback with updates on your performance and how to improve.
On the customer review page Trustpilot, Direct Line currently has a 4.3 out of 5 stars rating with an overall percentage of 65% of customers rating the service as “Excellent” (true as of June 2021). However, these ratings are based on all of Direct Line’s insurance policies, not just their telematics insurance.
Admiral LittleBox insurance review
Admiral’s LittleBox insurance has no curfews but driving after 10pm may reduce your driving score. It has theft tracking technology so if your car is stolen you’ll be able to track its location and it also offers discounted insurance at the point of renewal for the best drivers.
Admiral has a rating of 3.6 stars out of 5 on both reviewer websites Trustpilot and ReviewCentre (correct as of June 2021). These ratings are based on all of Admirals insurance policies, not sure it’s LittleBox insurance.
Hastings SmartMiles insurance review
Hastings SmartMiles is its take on black box insurance. The cost of installing the black box is included in the price and they have theft tracking technology so it’s easy to locate your car if it’s stolen. It also has an online dashboard and mobile app so you can track and monitor your driving score and progress.
You won’t receive a penalty for driving at night, however, driving between 10pm and 5am will lower your driving rating.
Some other features of their black box insurance include:
- Contents cover up to £300.
- Discounted personal renewal price based on your driving score.
- Vandalism and uninsured driver cover, protecting your no claims discount.
- Windscreen repair and replacement.
Hastings received a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot as well as 4 stars out of 5 on ReviewCentre. Both review sites rank Hastings on all its insurance policies on offer, not just its SmartMiles insurance (true as of June 2021).
Tesco Box Insurance review
Tesco’s Black Box insurance covers young drivers between the age of 17 and 29. You have to opt in for a particular amount of miles: options span 6,000, 8,000 or 10,000 depending on how much driving you do. You can also buy extra miles should you need it and can win up to 100 bonus miles per month. There is also a guaranteed discount for Tesco Clubcard members. Tesco Black Box insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance UK Limited.
Tesco does not state whether there are any imposed curfews or if you’re penalised for late-night driving on its Black Box Insurance policy.
Trustpilot rates Tesco Bank 2 stars out of 5 for their services, with an overall rating of ‘Poor’ based on 255 reviews. Both review sites rank Tesco Bank on all of its coverage options and Bank handlings, not just the Black Box insurance (correct as of June 2021).
Churchill DriveSure insurance review
Churchill DriveSure insurance uses the DriveSure app as it works in the background to record the details on your journey — all you have to do is simply take your phone with you. You’ll also review upfront discounts at renewal as a reward for good driving as well as adding optional extras onto your policy like accidental damage.
It also offers no curfews which means you’re free to drive whenever and wherever you like, however you may be penalised for late-night driving.
On the reviewer website ReviewCentre, Churchill was rated 1.5 stars out of 5, based on 330 reviews, with 16% of users recommending the service. Churchill is rated “Excellent” by over 70% of respondents on Trustpilot based on over 5,400 reviews. Both figures are correct as of June 2021, and both reviewer sites are for all Churchill services.
Bell Plug & Drive insurance review
Bell Plug & Drive insurance uses a port that plugs into your 12V socket and monitors your driving. It states drivers will only need to use the device continuously for 6 months. There are no curfews but frequent late-night driving can affect your driving score, though it won’t increase your premium until renewal.
You’ll also receive regular updates on your driving skills via email and there are no monthly mileage limits.
Bell has been rated 2.1 stars out of 5 on Trustpilot, with an overall rating of ‘Poor’ based on 149 reviews (true as of June 2021).
Swinton Only Smart Drivers insurance review
Swinton’s Only Smart Drivers black box insurance rewards drivers by offering a discount on your insurance based on your driving behaviour. This is reviewed quarterly, so you’ll receive cheaper premiums if you drive well. You also only pay for the mileage that you use and the black box is easily installable.
Your No Claims Discount is also protected if you’re involved in an accident as the telematics data helps defend a claim against you that wasn’t your fault.
Swinton does not state whether they penalise young drivers for driving late at night or whether they impose a curfew, so it’s best to get in contact with them to find out this information.
They have a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on the reviewer website Trustpilot, with an overall rating of “Excellent” based on over 13,700 reviews (correct as of June 2021). However, this is for all of the insurance policies that Swinton offer, not just their Only Smart Drivers insurance.
ingenie will either arrange for a black box to be fitted into your car or send you a self-fit box if your car is compatible. Ingenie does not state whether you’ll be penalised for driving late at night, so it’s best to get in contact with them to find out this information. It has no curfews and ingenie also claims you could receive a discount of up to 21% by the end of your renewal and that 7 out of 10 ingenie customers get money off for driving well.
It also offers an extra discount by the end of the year if you’ve driven well.
ingenie scores 4.1 out of 5 stores on Trustpilot with an overall rating of ‘Great’ based on over 1,700 reviews. On ReviewCentre, it scored 1.6 out of 5, but there have been no reviews since 2017 (correct as of June 2021).
Carrot Black Box insurance review
Carrot offers two types of telematics policies:
- Better Driver — Designed for drivers who already have some experience on the road. Carrot claims you can benefit from an upfront discount on the price of your cover. You install the free smartphone app that then connects to your car via Bluetooth and delivers feedback. You can earn weekly e-gift vouchers for safe driving.
- New Driver — Designed for new drivers who have just passed their test. A black box is fitted into the car and sends feedback to your online dashboard so you can see your driving score and how many ‘Carrot Points’ you’ve accumulated which you can exchange for gift cards. There are also no curfews and you get a discount at renewal for good driving.
There are no curfews on either Carrot insurance policy, but driving late at night will have a negative effect on your Driving Style Score.
Carrot was scored 3.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot with an overall rating of ‘Great’ based on over 2,800 reviews (true as of June 2021).
Drive Wiser Black Box insurance review
Drive Wiser insurance has no mileage limit and no curfew. You also won’t be penalised for late-night driving, but it’s best to check with the insurer. It also offers a discount at renewal, based on the data they collect over 12 months and has an online personal driver dashboard where you can track your driving progress. Most recently, Be Wiser bought Coverbox, which is why the domain has remained as coverbox.co.uk.
Driver Wiser Insurance was rated 1.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. It has an overall rating of ‘Poor’ with over 30 reviews. However, there have been no recent reviews since 2020 (correct as of June 2021).
RAC Black Box Car insurance review
RAC will fit a matchbox size black box behind your dashboard for free. If your driving score is good at the time of renewal, RAC will offer a discount.
There are also no night-time curfews, meaning you can drive whenever you like and you won’t be charged extra for driving late at night. The RAC app can also help you find your car if you’ve lost it in a car park, for example. It also claims you won’t lose your no claims discount if your car is vandalised and you have the RAC’s uninsured driver promise.
The RAC has a score of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot overall rating the service as ‘Excellent’: however, this is for all of the products it sells. On ReviewCentre, RAC Car Insurance received 1.3 out of 5 stars, with only 7% of users recommending the service. All information is correct as of June 2021.
Co-op Young Driver insurance review
Co-op Young Driver insurance has no night-time curfew, but your safe driving score may be affected if you drive between 11pm and 5am. You can also earn discounts off your premium by keeping a high safe driving score and there is also theft tracking within the black box.
They may offer you car insurance with no black box when you get your second renewal offer, subject to status. There is also no fee for the black box fitting.
Co-op Insurance is rated 'Bad’ on Trustpilot based on over 200 reviews, with an overall rating of 1.4 out of 5 stars. Figures are correct as of June 2021.
Marmalade Black Box insurance review
Marmalade claims that its Black Box Car Insurance can save young drivers over £700. It also states that you can drive 24/7 with no curfews or night time restrictions. Marmalade also states that there is an additional discount at renewal for their safest drivers and you also fit the black box yourself.
It also claims that Marmalade policyholders are nearly four times less likely to have an accident than the national average due to its black box technology.
Marmalade has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot with over 6,400 reviews and an overall rating of ‘Excellent’. This is for all of the insurance options that Marmalade offer and all statistics are correct as of June 2021.
Insure The Box Black Box insurance review
Insure The Box insurance has no curfews and you won’t be fined or penalised for driving late at night. It also offers theft recovery if your car is stolen and has an accident alert system if a strong impact is sensed on your car.
You can choose an initial mileage of 6,000, 8,000 or 10,000 miles, with the option to buy additional miles that can then be rolled over the following year. Insure The Box also has an online dashboard where you can check your driving score and how to improve.
You can be rewarded with up to 100 bonus miles each month for good driving.
Insure The Box was rated 1.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, with an overall rating of ‘Poor’ based on 364 reviews.
Is black box insurance right for you?
Deciding whether or not you want a black box insurance policy is a personal choice. The average young driver is likely to make some sort of saving compared to a traditional car insurance policy. It’s important to have the right expectations of driving with a black box.
Many young drivers have expressed frustration at mileage limits, the way the device measures their driving, how difficult it can be to gain rewards and not being able to drive at night.
You can find ways of lowering your premium without getting a black box by reading our guide to the best car insurance for young drivers.
Ultimately, you should base your decision on how much you rely on your vehicle, how comfortable you are with your data being tracked and whether or not you’ll often be driving at night.
Because many of the companies have similar features or customer ratings from different sources it is difficult to rank them, so we listed the best and most popular insurers in no order and highlighted their key features.
We've also ranked the best car insurance for young drivers here, including companies that don't offer black box cover.
How much does black box insurance cost?
As with all black box insurance providers, it’s challenging to make generalisations about policy costs. Prices depend heavily on the circumstances of the driver, as well as driving speed, how sharply you brake and accelerate, the time of day you drive and the length of your journey.
Some black box providers will charge to extend the monthly mileage you are allowed to drive and penalise bad driving by increasing your premium. They may even cancel your policy if you continue to drive dangerously.