Currently reading: RAC 'black box' deal could lead to surge in telematics tech in cars
Big telematics deal with RAC means its members will be offered lower insurance costs in exchange for black box monitoring devices. Market could double by 2015
Darren Moss
2 mins read
7 April 2014

An extra four million cars could be fitted with black box insurance units due to a new joint venture partnership between the RAC and Quindell, which owns the telematics brand Ingenie.

The RAC will be offering new black box units to its 2.5 million members as part of the new agreement, which Ingenie says is the largest of its kind in history. It will also mark the first time black box units will be available for drivers over 25.

Traditionally, black box telematics units have only been offered to young drivers as a way of lowering insurance premiums. Ingenie says that the average starting policy of £3100 for young drivers can be cut down to around £1700 if the driver agrees to fitting a black box in their car. 

The boxes – which can either be fixed to a car's on-board diagnostics port or downloaded via a new app – monitor location, speed and acceleration data to give motorists a 'driving score'.

As well as gathering information, the unit will also help the RAC to locate broken-down vehicles, it can also potentially being diagnose problems remotely. The new joint venture will also see the creation of a new business, dubbed Connected Car Solutions, with an initial investment of £30 million.

Ingenie expects the new agreement to lead a surge in telematics policy sales, doubling the current number of units sold by 2015. RAC chief executive Chris Woodhouse said the deal would bring "substantial benefits" to its members.

The new RAC-branded telematics product and associated app will be available from July. The technology will also be rolled out across Europe and Canada in the future.


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7 April 2014
So they intend to plug "something" into the OBDII port.

Errm, what exactly? Most OBDII ports are hidden behind trim, in glove boxes, coin trays etc. Plugging in something permanently sounds messy. I don't want trailing wires sticking out from places they don't belong - thanks!

And if there is an ugly black box that has to be screwed in somewhere, how big is this thing and how much of an eyesore is it? Will the missus keep banging her knee on it and be complaing forever more? :)

What happens when I change cars? Will I have to pay a fee to swap it over? What do I do in the meantime on the day I part-ex?

Also, what's to stop people simply unplugging these devices? And if they can't be unplugged, how do I or a garage/main dealer plug in diagnostic/programming devices?

Lots of questions, very little information here.

28 June 2014
Hi Oilburner
In answer to your questions:
The box is smartphone size, it's usually fitted behind the dashboard of your car. Once installed it's out of sight, out of reach of your missus knees and it's quiet in operation and has zero effect on the car. It takes about 40 minutes to fit.

Changing the car: The old box can stay in, it just gets turned off.
I suspect that a small fee will be made on change, as someone will have to come to your house or work and a new one will be fitted. You wouldn't expect to get you washing machine to be plumbed in for nothing, when you move house.
I think the going price at the moment is about £150
When changing your car they would cover you until the new one goes in.
If you damage or tamper with the black box, then you could have your policy cancelled, the garage will know not to tamper with it.
Hope this helps

7 April 2014
I do hope these things don't become 'the norm' and you we end up getting penalised financially for NOT having one. I can see a time when all cars have them and then every time you 'accidentally' creep over the speed limit or accelerate 'too quickly' your premium goes up again. It would make driving very boring!

28 June 2014
Hi Jeremy

Telematics takes your overall driving into account. If you drive well you will save money. Just ask all the young people, who without these devices would not be able to afford to drive at all. Go around and ask some! They will tell you!

Telematics can also help in an accident, the data they provide could prove you were not at fault
Also your rescue service can come to your aid and know exactly where you are. This could save your life. And the tracking device could find your stolen car.

Yes, a Europe initiative is looking at bringing in the black box for all new vehicles, this is a safety measure. I think it is called eCall, in the case of a crash it automatically calls the nearest centre, even if you are unable to speak. I don't know whether the UK signed up for this ask your local MEP.

A lot of people complained about seat belts, when they were brought in. It is second nature now.

7 April 2014
Yet another mass surveillance technology that ordinary people seem willing to accept, I can’t understand it. As has been said, it’s just a matter of time before these things are forced on all of us (either through the insurance companies or legislation) and a ticket will drop through your door every time you exceed a speed limit. I’d have thought the RAC, as a motoring organisation, should be making a stand against this technology rather than promoting it.

7 April 2014
...I fully intend to decline their monitoring box.

7 April 2014
If This Becomes The Norm, them I may as well buy something very slow and silver.

Big Brother wants to take one of the last of my pleasures away, this sounds like a fun-ectomy, where any fun we are able to get from driving these days is taken away.

They should be lobbying for better training, better maintained roads and proper Policing than this.

Just because someone is driving "sensibly" in the eyes of The Box doesn't mean they're driving well. The chances are they'll be on the phone or texting...

7 April 2014
The level of monitoring that we live with now is simply terrifying.

Orwell seems more prescient with every passing day.

7 April 2014
I assume these are based on GPS technology, like satnavs. If so, my *up-to-date* satnav unit frequently gives the wrong speed limit, albeit by showing 60 where it is now 50. The point is that they are fallible and there was also a big brouhaha some time ago about insurance companies 'fining' drivers for what the box said was poor driving. So no thank you, not for me. At any price.

7 April 2014
We have a similar system fitted to the vehicles I drive for a living, "to aid fuel efficiency and safety". However, none are set up correctly, with vehicles of the same type giving totally different results. I for one would rather pay higher premiums in order to avoid this latest idea from Big Brother. Wasn't the tachograph invented by the Nazis?, looks like the're still at it!


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