More young drivers are using black box recorders in cars

Motorway

There's been a big rise in the number of motorists using black box recorders in their cars.

For many drivers, especially younger ones, they can help cut the price of car insurance.

But critics say at several hundreds pounds they cost too much and aren't bringing prices down far enough.

Three years ago there were 12,000 motor insurance policies which used black box recorders but now there are around 180,000.

The boxes are often placed inside a dashboard and can monitor things like speed, acceleration and braking and the times of the day that the cars are on the roads.

The safer the driver, the better the score and the lower the insurance premium.

But prices can go up as well as down and some black boxes can cost several hundred pounds to install.

Eighteen-year-old Grant Smith says it made sense for him to get one for his £500, second hand car.

He said: "I started off with quotes between £3,000 and £8,000.

"That's when I decided to start looking into getting a black box in my car.

"I managed to get it down to nearer £1,000 which was much more manageable."

But they don't work for everyone.

Grant's friend, 17-year-old Helen Kirk, doesn't have one in her car.

500,000 new policies

"I think they are a good idea but then there is also the pressure of having to drive well," she said.

"That may cause people to make a few mistakes and then their insurance is going to go up."

Helen Kirk
Helen Kirk thinks black box recorders could put too much pressure on drivers

Grant also has reservations about having a black box in his car.

"I think there's a stigma with it as well," he said.

"A few of my friends are saying, 'You're going to drive like a granny' but I don't care because I'm going to get cheaper insurance."

Whatever motorists think, the insurance industry is getting behind black box recorders.

Put in the context of more than 20 million motorists in the UK, 180,000 black box policies may not seem a large number.

But Graeme Trudgill who works for the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) says more are on the way.

"It's the start of a whole new way of looking at car insurance," he said.

"We think there are going to be half a million more policies in the next two years.

"So you can expect more and more brands, more and more products from insurance brokers and insurers coming out."