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13 November 2020

How to Improve Your Black Box Score

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How to Improve Your Black Box Score

Black box insurance is becoming increasingly popular. With many able to make great savings on their insurance premiums, it’s easy to see why. However, how can you make sure you’re making the most of your black box driving, and how can you improve your black box score? These are some of the questions that our experts at Brightside Insurance get asked regularly, so we decided to put together a blog post to look at all the FAQs which we see around this subject.

The best way to improve your black box score is to really understand how it’s calculated and what things to look out for when out and about on the roads.

How does black box insurance work?

Black box insurance works by having a black box installed in your car. This uses technology such as GPS and G-force sensors to measure a number of factors around your driving. These could include considerations such as:
  • how fast you’re driving;
  • how sharply you brake and accelerate;
  • when you’re driving; and
  • how long you’re out on the road.
In the US, black boxes commonly plug into your car’s diagnostic port, but this is less usual in the UK. Although some insurers do offer this as an option, this is typically linked to breakdown cover rather than your usual driving insurance. The black box will, however, likely need to be plugged into your 12v cigarette lighter.

What makes up your black box score?

Your blackbox score is typically a number between 1 and 100, with higher scores being better. Most insurers will let you see your score, with some even showing you the score broken down into key areas to help you to adjust your behaviours and improve your score. Before we look at how to do this, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the factors which are commonly used to calculate black box score:

Speed

Using the inbuilt GPS, your black box will not only look at your overall speed on your journey, but also at the speed limits where you are driving. Remember that the speed limit is not a target, but rather the maximum speed at which you can legally drive, so it may be safer to drive below the speed limit depending on where you’re driving and the conditions on the road.

Smoothness

As well as how fast you’re driving overall, your speed accelerating and braking, and how often you do those things, can also impact your score. When driving with a black box, you’re aiming to drive as smoothly as possible because this indicates to your insurance provider that you have good road awareness and you’re anticipating potential problems or changes on the road before you get to them. Obviously if you need to perform an emergency brake you should still do so. However, you may find your score is affected if you brake heavily frequently.

Mileage

If you don’t use your car very much, don’t drive very far, or both, this will have a positive effect on your black box score and consequently your insurance premiums. This is because you’re more likely to drive safely on roads you know well. However, if you only drive short distances but on roads which are known to be dangerous, this won’t have quite the same effect.

Location

Where you drive also has an effect on your score. As mentioned, driving on unsafe roads, for example particularly twisting roads, roads with blind spots where accidents frequently occur, or spending a lot of time on the motorway, could all have an effect of your score. That said, as long as you are driving safely these risks can be mitigated.

Time

Statistically, more accidents occur after dark. This means that if you frequently drive during the night time you may find your score is affected. If you do most of your driving outside of rush hour times, such as during the day or at weekends, this may well have a positive impact on your overall score.

How can you improve your black box score?

Most of the tips which help you lower your black box score are common-sense safe driving techniques. There isn’t really a way to game the system, as it were, and as long as you’re following the rules of the road, and paying attention, you should be rewarded for your safe driving using a black box.

That said, here are a couple of tips which may help you when looking to improve your black box score:
  1. If you’ve been travelling at high speeds for a while, and then come off onto slower roads, remember that you may feel like you’re driving slower than you actually are. You should pay particular attention at these times.
  2. When you know the roads you’re driving well, it may be easier to get distracted, and start thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner when you get home. Make sure you pay attention to your speed door-to-door.
  3. On motorways or when driving at speed, try to keep at least a car length between you and the vehicle in front of you. Similarly, on slower roads, leave plenty of space between cars. This will give you more time to react to changes on the road and will means you won’t need to brake as sharply.
  4. Always keep your phone out of your eyeline. If you’re distracted by incoming messages or other notifications, you may lose concentration on the road and end up needing to brake more sharply than is optimal, which could affect your score.
  5. When approaching a roundabout or junction, try to slow down by pulling back on the accelerator rather than braking, as this will slow you down more gently and have a better effect on your overall score

If you think Black Box insurance could work for you, check out our page all about Blackbox insurance, and get in touch with our experts. Alternatively, you can also explore all our car insurance options.

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