Cheapest car insurance and how black boxes work

To get the cheapest car insurance you need to understand how insurance companies rate your driving and rate your risk. The business of insurance is a lot like gambling. They are betting on you not going to make a claim or get into an accident.

They use actuaries to calculate the likelihood of an accident. These individuals use mathematical models to limit the number of risks to the company. There are over 211 million licensed drivers in the US and in 2009 over 16.5 million accidents with 48,000 resulting in a fatality. Actuaries analyze the crash data, information about the cars involved, information about the people involved, and use that to tabulate your risk. An Event Detection Recorders (EDR) or the black box is a new tool that the actuaries and car insurance companies use to analyze crash data.

EDRs are in most new cars and by 2015 will be in all cars produced in the US. They operate very much like a crash recorder for an airplane. EDR's are event triggered and only record vehicle information just prior to and post and accident; like did the automatic collision notification system activate during the event. (This is akin to how the brand OnStar knows you have been in an accident, then, they in turn use your car's GPS to send help.) EDR's monitor how the brakes acted, what the level of thee gas pedal was at the time of impact, the speed of the vehicle and things like did the seatbelts and airbags engage. All of this gives data on the safety of the car, as well as some information about the driver.

However, if you want to get safe driver discount for your EDR, you need to sign up for a black box that gives the insurance company real time access to your driving habits. They will install a transmitter to your EDR, which gives them detailed information about your average speed of travel, travel time, and distances. In addition, it transmits back the speed at which you take curves, how you accelerate from a stop, or how you use your breaks.

The caveat to requesting the black box is that it can tell them that you are not a safe driver. It can increase your premiums or decrease your premiums. If you believe you are truly a safe driver and drive conservatively then it will help you get the cheapest car insurance.