Telematics Guides | What Is A Telematics Box?

What Is A Telematics Box? Telematics Boxes For Businesses Explained

A telematics box is a small black box that goes inside a vehicle. Businesses get these boxes fitted to track where their drivers are and how they’re driving. If you get a black box, you can often get cheaper insurance quotes.

Telematics boxes guarantee you a bunch of accurate information about your driving. For businesses looking to improve performance or cut costs, getting a box installed is an absolute must!

(Updated Wed, 12 April 2023)

What is a telematics box?

Small telematics box for vehicle tracking

A telematics box, also called a black box, is a device that can be installed into a vehicle. The box tracks when, where and how you drive.

These boxes are often used by fleet managers and insurance companies to track how well their drivers are doing.

The information the box gives you can be used to get you lower insurance quotes, reduce accidents, and improve your driving.

What does a telematics box look like?

They are known as little black boxes for a reason. They are pretty small. These boxes are usually fitted in the dashboard or plugged into your car. You won’t even notice it’s there! The box is rectangular, black, and probably smaller than your smartphone.

What does a telematics box do?

The box collects information. The information gets sent to an online portal, where fleet managers, insurers, and drivers can see what’s happening. A black box can tell you:

  • When you’re driving
  • The speeds you’re driving at
  • If you accelerate or break harshly
  • How many miles you’re doing
  • How many trips you do

All this information can help you in lots of ways. Fleet managers use this data to see how their drivers are acting on the road. Insurance companies love having this information, so they can track your behaviour and lower your risk.

They’re not so popular with drivers. Have you ever seen those “Black box fitted. I’m more annoyed than you are!” stickers? Well, as annoyed as you may be, these tiny devices have proved their effectiveness times and times again.

Who should get a black box?

Online vehicle tracking of vans with location details

While every business can benefit from a telematics box, they are better for some than others. These are the types of businesses that we highly recommend get one of these devices:

  • Fleets: improve driver performance and track vehicles
  • Young drivers: get lower insurance quotes
  • Sole traders: track your vehicle and improve odds of vehicle recovery
  • Taxi, chauffeur, delivery drivers, etc: get evidence to help back you up against claims

How does a telematics box work?

The little black box uses GPS signals and a SIM card to collect information about your driving. That data is then sent to your company and/or insurance provider. The information can be seen by drivers as well on an online portal.

What information is collected depends on the type of telematics box. Classic black box types can gather more data than the average app type, but it does depend on the provider.

Check out the information from the telematics box to get insights on your driving. Companies can use this to improve behaviour and reduce fuel usage. But even sole traders can get this data and see how well they’re doing on the road.

Can a telematics box tell where you are?

Yes. The box has a GPS sensor inside which detects the location of your vehicle. Many businesses and sole traders use a telematics box as part of their vehicle tracking system.

Should you be worried? Probably not. Companies only share your location data and other driving details if they have to under law. If you get into an accident, your insurance company can share the telematics data with the police. This could potentially prove your innocence.

A telematics device can only send information. The device has no control over your vehicle.

Can a telematics box make your insurance cheaper?

Sometimes, but it depends on the provider and some other factors. These little black boxes are popular for Young Driver policies.

Some insurance companies will offer lower prices for drivers under 30 who get one of these boxes fitted. Young drivers can save the most with a box in their vehicle, but even more experienced drivers can get potential savings of over £100 a year. The amount you can save will depend on what driver score you get. The better your driving skills, the lower your insurance costs.

Most of the time when people talk about telematics boxes, they really only mention this. But there’s way more you need to know.

Insurance companies will also offer these boxes to businesses of all sizes. Fleets and small businesses can both benefit from them. Your insurance quote will depend on even more factors for businesses, but it’s worth asking your provider if having a box installed would lower your costs.

How a telematics box is installed

Some insurance companies will give you a plug- in box. These ones can be fitted by everyone, no professional needed! The plug- in box goes into your cigarette light aka the 12v power socket.

Some boxes will need an app on your phone to track your driving.

Other boxes are a little more complicated. The boxes that give the most information and are best for businesses usually need professional installation. It takes around an hour or less to get the box fitted. To get this done, your provider will arrange a time with you and send out an engineer.

Can you install a telematics box yourself?

Yes and no. Some devices can be self-installed. Others will need a professional. If your box provider says it can be self-installed, they should send you a tutorial video to help you out.

You shouldn’t try to install a device that needs a professional. If it goes wrong, you’ll end up paying the cost of any damage.

How to get a telematics box

Getting a box installed has tons of benefits for every business. But which one is best for you? The big choice you’ve got to make is whether you want a self-install device or a black box with lots of information. But, even then, you’ve got lots of little choices to make to find your perfect fit.

What we’re trying to say is that you shouldn’t box yourself in. Sorry, but it’s true! Trying to pick through all the options to find a good box takes forever, but it’s an important choice. Use our comparison tool to cut down on the hassle.

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