Black box insurance policies track your driving and are a great way of reducing your car insurance costs - as long as you can prove to be a safe and sensible driver. But what happens if you want to switch to a regular car insurance policy? What will happen to your black box then?
The ultimate fate of the black box associated with your old car insurance policy depends on how the device was installed.
If you have a car with an on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, you were likely sent a self-fit black box. These devices are simple to install and just as easy to remove when your policy comes to an end. You simply unplug the device. Usually, your insurer will then have you post it back to them.
If you drive an older car without a suitable on-board diagnostics port, the black box was installed under the bonnet or behind the dashboard by a professional. Similarly, it must also be removed by a professional.
But that’s often too much of a hassle for the insurer and the driver, so the black box is frequently simply deactivated and remains in the car. It will no longer record your driving and has no impact on your driving or the workings of the car. You can also legally sell or scrap a car with a deactivated telematics device still in place.
If you really want the device removed, you can contact your insurer and ask them to dispatch a mechanic to extract it. But as removal isn’t necessary, you’ll typically be charged a fee for this service.
Some drivers are tempted to try to remove old black boxes themselves. But unless you’re a skilled mechanic, you shouldn’t attempt this. If you poke around under the bonnet, you may inadvertently damage your car, leading to costly repairs or even accidents. While online guides and YouTube videos claim to walk you through black box removal, they may not apply to your specific car or black box model. It’s much better to leave a deactivated black box in place than to remove it without the know-how.