Having a telematics device installed in your car as part of a black box insurance can offer many benefits (we’re talking more accurately priced premiums, improved driving, real-time feedback, all that good stuff). But what happens if your car gets stolen – can a black box help to track your car’s location?

We’ve broken down the ways that a black box can actually help your insurer to track your vehicle, in the event of a theft during the duration of your policy.

What is a black box (and how does it work)?

A telematics device, or a black box as a lot of people call it, is a small GPS tracking device installed in your car as part of the terms of a black box insurance policy. These handy little devices, record and transit data related to the use of the vehicle and the quality of the driving to the insurer. This information is used by the insurer to get a better understanding of the level of risk, which allows them to calculate your insurance premium more accurately.

What kind of data does a black box collect?

Data collected by a black box typically includes:

  • Vehicle speed
  • Braking and cornering
  • Acceleration
  • Journey time and length
  • Vehicle location

What's inside a black box?

  • A GPS receiver which tracks the vehicle's location and direction of travel
  • An accelerometer which measures changes in velocity, providing data on acceleration, braking, and overall driving behaviour
  • A memory card to store data


Can a black box track a stolen car?

Some insurers (but not all) use black box technology to track a vehicle that’s been stolen. It works by accessing data using the black box’s GPS (Global Positioning System) to determine its exact location – here’s how:

  • Monitoring: The black box continuously collects and transmits data about the vehicle's status, including its location. Some insurance companies use this to track the vehicle’s location.
  • Suspicious Activity and Tamper Detection: Some black boxes even have the ability to send alerts during suspicious circumstances, such as the vehicle being moved without the ignition turned on, or if the device is tampered with.


Does having a black box prevent theft?

Whether your black box could be used to track your car if it’s stolen depends on the specifics of your policy, like who your insurer is, how they use black box data and the type of device. So, does having a black box prevent theft? In short, no, but making it clear that you have a black box may act as a deterrent. Some people do this by attaching a sticker to the window explaining the vehicle is being tracked.