Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Oct 8, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Black boxes can give clues to what caused an accident
  • As of September 2014, all new vehicles are supposed to come with the box
  • Many insurance carriers have a version of the black box

When airplanes crash, the television news relentlessly reports on whether the black box has been found or not.

Regardless of its color, the box records information from the airplane that gives big clues about the circumstances surrounding an accident.

As September 2014, all new vehicles are supposed to come with the box, which supposedly only records the 20 seconds surrounding an accident.

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Table of Contents

Basics of Black Boxes

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requirements, the vehicle’s black box must cull at least 15 pieces of information, including:

  • Speed of the vehicle
  • Position of the throttle
  • Timing of deployment of airbag
  • If seat belts were in use at the time of the crash
  • Steering angles

Some manufacturers choose up to 30 different pieces of information to include on the black box data-gathering duties. Supposedly, audio, video, and GPS are not among them.

Hackers are excellent at breaking into the boxes remotely, allowing them to take control of vehicles.

Because of this, 15 states carefully guard who is allowed to have access to the information.

While hackers may have a field day attempting to access the information, the data on the boxes cannot be altered nor deleted.

As a consumer, you may purchase devices that plug into the diagnostic port to prevent unauthorized people from accessing the information on the box.

These products are deemed the firewall for the black box.

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Installing Telemetrics for Insurance Savings

Many insurance carriers have a version of the black box that they send to consumers to evaluate driving habits.

You may have seen offers from some of the biggest insurance carriers in the industry to give you up to 30 percent in discounts for using one of these devices.

You may have to drive around with the little toy for weeks or even up to a few months in order to qualify for the discount.

It will track how far you drive every day, where you drive, the speed of the vehicle, and whether you avoid the dangerous wee hours of the night, from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.

It logs information that is normally left up to the honor’s system

The problem is that many drivers fib about pertinent information that drastically increases the risk of incidents.

When that happens, the insurers are forced to recoup their losses by increasing rates for all drivers in the same pool.

To remain competitive the vehicle insurance carriers utilize the telemetric devices. It makes for fairer rates for drivers all around the nation, or at least that is what the insurance carriers claim.

Beyond Telemetrics

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As long as you are a reasonably safe driver, then you will likely save money, rather than be charged more for having it on your vehicle.

You will have already established the basic facts, such as the make and model of any vehicles on your policy, drivers, driving records, claims history, and even a listing of where you claim to drive and how far.

When you get quotes, the first thing to do is ensure that you are receiving the information that you requested, in the manner you asked for it.

For instance, if you want comprehensive and collision each with their own 500 dollar deductibles, ensure that is reflected in your estimates from the various insurers.

That basically means, check A.M. Best to verify that the insurance carriers have the money to pay out your claims for you.

From there, you may like to look at the add-ons or perks all the separate companies offer. Some may provide 50,000 dollars in medical, whereas others may cap out their coverage at 10,000 dollars.

For those living in no-fault insurance states, the coverage varies some.

Personal Injury Protection provides benefits to whoever claims them, regardless of who is at fault.

It includes a disability arm to the coverage and generally pays for policyholders to be rehabilitated wherever possible.

Hopefully using a telemetric device can save you the maximum amount of money. If you need to learn to drive more gingerly, consider taking a defensive driving class.

It will give you a discount while teaching you ways to maneuver on the roadways that are assertive.

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References:

  1. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/komando/2014/12/26/keep-your-car-black-box-private/20609035/
  2. https://www.nhtsa.gov/
  3. http://www.wired.com/2013/04/autocyb-car-firewall/
  4. http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-rise-of-black-box-car-insurance/
  5. https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-get-your-driving-record-527249
  6. https://www.progressive.com/glossary/comprehensive-and-collision/
  7. http://www.ambest.com
  8. https://www.nationwide.com/personal-injury-protection.jsp