What is telematics?

Article contents


Many insurance providers offer you the choice to install a little device in your car which looks at your driving style commonly known as a “black box”, Admiral calls it LittleBox.

A type of car insurance which sees a small device, commonly called telematics or black box, fitted to your car to measure how you drive in order to reward safe drivers with a reduced premium

A number of car insurance providers now offer telematics, while predominantly aimed at younger, newer drivers looking for a way to reduce their monthly premium; a black box policy can help any good driver get a discounted policy. 

Admiral’s black box is called LittleBox, and we think it’s pretty great.

What is telematics?

  • Telematics is said to have started with a tachograph over 60 years ago
  • The term was coined back in 1978 by Simon Nora and Alain Minc in their report titled “L'Informatisation de la société,” written for the French Prime Minister in response to the development of computer technology and the beginning of the information age
  • In 1988, major research programs launched to experiment on vehicle telematics with the objective of improving road safety and reducing environmental impact
  • In 1993, GPS technologies reached the consumer market as the US Government offered full GPS access to civilians
  • By the mid-2000s, the consumer market was flooded with GPS-based vehicle navigation systems
  • In 2013, Admiral launched its telematics device, LittleBox

What is black box insurance?

LittleBox is a small unit – roughly the size of your palm – which is fitted behind the car’s dashboard, so you can’t see it and your passengers won’t know you have it unless you tell them.

It monitors how you drive, looking at things like your speed, braking and miles covered.

As well as providing feedback on how you can improve your driving, it uses all the data collected to work out a driving score. This driving score is what determines the discount you will get at renewal; the better your score, the better your discount. 

If you don’t drive very well and don’t get a good score, you may not get a discount at renewal but we'll never put your price up during your current policy term. 

What are the benefits of a telematics policy?

Telematics insurance gives you more control over the cost of your insurance and can help good drivers get a fairer price.If you’re in a high risk group, such as young or inexperienced drivers, then this could be ideal for you.

Admiral LittleBox gives drivers a score and feedback on how to improve their driving which can help them become better and safer drivers.

LittleBox is fitted with free theft tracking so if your car is ever stolen we can help police recover your car.

A fairer system

Conventionally, companies base premium on factors such as the vehicle's insurance group, the age of the driver, their experience and history on the road.

These factors do play a part in telematics, but rather than just relying on statistics for all drivers in an age group, for example, insurers use electronically-gathered data to calculate, and recalculate, your quote based on how good a driver you are.

Tackling black box myths

Some people think telematics technology is there to catch drivers out, but it’s actually there to help drivers get a fair price for their car insurance:

  • LittleBox collects information about when the car is used, how far it travels and its location, as well as information on your driving behaviour including speed, acceleration and braking
  • the information collected is used to work out what kind of driver you are, and ultimately, how safe you are behind the wheel
  • this can help you get a lower insurance price at renewal
  • your information won’t be shared with anyone else.

Check out our mythbuster which includes even more great information about telematics insurance including curfews, informing police of speeding and black boxes taking over the car radio...

Black box insurance for van

It’s not just car drivers looking for ways to bring down the cost of insurance, van drivers, particularly younger drivers just starting out, can also face higher premiums.

This is why we introduced Admiral LittleBox for Van – we want to make insurance affordable for all our customers, including van drivers at any age.
It works just the same as our normal telematics box and is also fitted with theft tracking. 

Will you cover my van?

We can fit LittleBox into most vans on the market, but if you’re unsure contact us to double check.

Your van must be:

  • under 14-years-old
  • worth more than £750
  • cover over 1,900 miles a year

Admiral LittleBox helps safe drivers save money on their car insurance