So you're a young driver looking for cheap car insurance, but you'd rather it came without a black box. You're not alone - the huge growth in popularity of telematics-based insurance has created a growing community of drivers who are actively avoiding the technology and seeking out insurance with no box required.
The great news is, there are still plenty of insurers who will offer you cover without a telematics device being needed. Whether they will be as cheap as the black box options will depend on your personal circumstances and the details you enter into the quote form.
To answer this question, it helps to go back to basics on how the cost of your insurance quotes are calculated.
Put simply, it's all about risk - the likelihood and severity of a potential crash/insurance claim. Traditionally this risk was calculated using your basic info - namely, the bits you enter into the quote form. But with the invention of black box insurance, the picture of your driving risk can be painted more accurately - by taking it directly from your car via a black box.
The theory is, policyholders let their driving do the talking. Standard factors like their age, post code and choice of car still affect the cost, but the black box is an extra safety net for insurers, making their risk assessments more accurate. But what if, through no fault of your own, the black box algorithms take a dislike to you? Maybe you work shifts and do lots of night time driving - this could affect your scores with certain insurers. Or if your local area happens to have lots of roundabouts and tight bends, causing the black box to pick up excess g-force? Or maybe you share a vehicle with a sibling who has a habit of breaking the speed limit? These are just a few scenarios that are driving people to seek out insurance that does not include any telematics or black box requirement - old fashioned, simple car insurance.
Absolutely not. Now, it's undoubtedly true that the 'boy racers' among us would probably stay well away from a black box. We don't condone speeding in any way, but this is of course their choice to make. However, many young drivers have perfectly acceptable reasons for saying 'no' to this technology. Aside from the reasons mentioned, some find it to simply be an invasion of privacy and an overreach by insurers - the 'thin end of the wedge' that will lead to a surveillance state. The point is, there are plenty of reasons for preferring a 'standard' insurance policy.
There are actually quite a few differences - all black box insurance companies shouldn't be evaluated the same way. For example, some are a lot more lenient with their scoring, and others take no issue with lots of night time driving. Others don't actually fit a box directly in your car - they might offer an app, or a small device that sticks on your dashboard or windscreen. These may answer the concerns of the most car-proud among us, who dislike the idea of a third party engineer disassembling your car to wire-in a device behind the steering wheel.
Interesting note: as some cars have been used by multiple policy holders with black boxes, it's not uncommon to see multiple old black boxes accumulate behind the steering column in the car. More modern app and wireless methods are a lot cleaner and less interfering.
In literal terms, we think it's extremely unlikely that black box insurance will become mandatory for any segment of drivers. However, in practical terms, if every no-box insurance quote is over £10,000, then you really are being forced into using a box. It then depends on how much you need to drive, and how strong your objections to the technology are. For some young drivers who have no choice but to drive, such as having no alternative route to work or study, there may unfortunately be no way around it.
Ultimately, all you can do is try your best to find an affordable insurance quote without a black box. And the best way is to understand more generally how to cut the cost of your insurance, and then to scour the market and leave no stone unturned in your search for the best price. Comparison sites, big insurance brands, niche providers, young driver specialists - you'll be running a lot of quotes that's for sure.
To help you out, we've compiled a list of options for you to try when searching for the cheapest possible car insurance without a black box:
|Adrian Flux||Classic car & specialist car insurance|
|Direct Line||Big name insurer offers policies with and without black box|
|Aviva||Offers traditional insurance and also an app-based policy|
|By Miles||New 'pay per mile' car insurance brand using OBD plug-in|
|Go Girl||Female-focused young driver insurance with no box|