Black box van insurance: a way ahead for young drivers
Black box van insurance can offer a technological solution to a problem that’s plagued young drivers for decades: how to get on the road without paying a fortune for cover.
Here’s a guide to van telematics and how it could help you get on the road.
What is black box van insurance?
GPS technology has matured and come down in price in recent years, with most of us now carrying sophisticated GPS devices around with us in the form of our mobile phones. So the ‘digital natives’ who are now taking to the wheel for the first time have never known any different.
Another way in which GPS technology has found a use is in vehicle insurance. Let’s take a look at how it can benefit young van drivers in particular.
Black box van insurance (or ‘telematics van insurance’ as it’s sometimes known) involves drivers placing such a GPS device inside their vehicle. This device – the so-called ‘black box’ – records information about how the vehicle is driven.
This can be achieved in various ways. Some insurers require drivers install a mobile phone app instead of a purpose-built device. But because of the inherent limitations of this method, Direct Line for Business no longer offers mobile phone-based telematics insurance.
Why should I have to use van telematics when I am a safe driver?
Being a relatively new use of the technology, there are some understandable concerns about van telematics. As a safe, responsible young van driver, you may instinctively feel it’s unfair that your driving will be monitored by your insurer.
But from the point of the view of insurance companies, black box van insurance policies offer the chance to consider how you drive as an individual, making us less reliant on profile data (such as your age, job title and industry, for example).
Therefore, telematics can provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate to your insurance company that you’re a skilled and responsible driver, so that it can be taken into account when determining your premiums.
Van telematics can have other beneficial uses than monitoring your own driving and getting you a lower insurance price.
If it’s an installed device rather than a phone app, the device can serve as a helpful tool in the fight against crime. If your van is stolen, the black box can be used to provide location data to the police.
A few black box insurance myths
Already, a certain number of myths about black box insurance have arisen.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common misconceptions and how they compare with the reality.
Big brother is watching me
We only monitor your driving for insurance reasons.
As such, we do not monitor, for example, where you are driving in real time and we don’t contact the police regarding your driving, unless they contact us asking us specifically for your data.
Like anyone who records and stores your personal data, we must abide by the Data Protection Act 1998. This means that we can only collect and process information that you have given your consent for us to access, or if there is a legitimate legal obligation for us to provide this data (for example, if the police ask us to provide your relevant information as part of an ongoing investigation).
The kind of information recorded by a typical telematics device include average driving speed (compared with the type of road), acceleration and braking, speed around corners and mileage – all data which is understandably of interest to insurance companies.
This is an excuse to hike my premiums
Black box van insurance is about rewarding good drivers – particularly the young – with affordable cover, rather than ‘fining’ or increasing premiums for poor drivers. So we have no plans to use telematics to hike premiums or make them compulsory for all drivers.
The black box will interfere with my vehicle
Perhaps because of the recent leaps forward with driverless cars and semi-autonomous ‘driver-assist’ features, some people may have confused these developments with telematics.
A black box device cannot take control of your vehicle in any way – from turning the radio down to applying the brakes. It cannot interfere with your vehicle at all and there is no potential for it to distract you, since it is placed outside of the driver’s field of vision.
Will telematics van insurance save me money?
As a driver under 21 years old, black box van insurance could well be more affordable than any non-telematics insurance that is offered by other providers. At Direct Line for Business, we only offer black box insurance to drivers aged between 18 and 21, so it’s impossible to make a direct price comparison.
However, the very purpose of our telematics insurance is to get young drivers on the road at a price they can afford.
How do I apply for black box van insurance?
If you’re a van driver aged between 18 and 21, speak to one of our specialist advisors on 0345 301 4827.
Alternatively, you can find out more about our van insurance for young drivers here.
Please be aware that we do not insure van drivers aged 17.