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Getting rid of Smartbox in car

  1. Hi all. I had one of the smart car insurance policies last year with the GPS black box. That policy is finished now and I'm with another insurer. The old insurer refused to remove the box; they want £90 for the privilege. Is there anyway these boxes can be removed yourself? Is it something a local garage can do on the cheap? Or do I have to just bend over and take the shafting? If anyone else has had one of these policies I'd be good to hear what they did.

    Thanks

  2. Most of them charge you to remove the box. I would never have a box fitted to my car, and I would never buy a car with a box on it. In fact, I'd never buy a car that had even had a box fitted and removed in the past...

    No,No,No!

  3. (Original post by Anthony.BF)Most of them charge you to remove the box. I would never have a box fitted to my car, and I would never buy a car with a box on it. In fact, I'd never buy a car that had even had a box fitted and removed in the past...

    No,No,No!

    How would you know if it had one in the past and it was removed? And why would you care? *****

    Never had one myself - but it is possible it will be fairly difficult to remove (they wouldn't want a thief to easily remove or disable it). Might be worth ringing a few garages and asking if they can do it however.

  4. I'm in the same boat. Got new insurance and the box is no longer active, as far as I'm aware, but it's still in the car. Don't think it would be too hard to take it out myself, but I'm not too bothered about taking it out so I've just left it for now.

    Do you know where they fitted it in your car? In mine, it's just under the dash and easy to access.

  5. Not sure how they work, but I suspect they collect all their data from their own sensors in the box itself though- so maybe they're just connected by a positive feed from the loom and an earth? In that case it wouldn't in theory be too hard to remove it yourself. Most of my car wiring knowledge is forty years out of date, but if the insurers needed a box that could universally fit into any modern car you'd think it would have to be a self-contained modular design that collects its own data and as such isn't integral to the function of the car.

    Personally all my telematics quotes came back at least double what I eventually paid for my standard policy- even if they were cheaper I still wouldn't have fancied getting penalised for the horrific crime of driving daily rush hour because my job necessitates it or paying more for driving at night

  6. Slightly off topic, but how much leeway is there for their tolerance of speed? Do you get marked down instantly the second the GPS thinks you've gone 1mph too fast?

    Just thinking of the GPS on my running watch which occasionally gets confused by trees/ buildings and registers a burst of speed that Usain Bolt would be proud of through the solid walls of buildings 10m from the road I'm actually on. Hell, I've flown aeroplanes with two GPS receivers that didn't want to agree! And what about tunnels? I drive through the A38 tunnels every so often which are usually enough to confuse my sat nav- what happens to the data in there?

  7. (Original post by Spridget)Slightly off topic, but how much leeway is there for their tolerance of speed? Do you get marked down instantly the second the GPS thinks you've gone 1mph too fast?

    Just thinking of the GPS on my running watch which occasionally gets confused by trees/ buildings and registers a burst of speed that Usain Bolt would be proud of through the solid walls of buildings 10m from the road I'm actually on. Hell, I've flown aeroplanes with two GPS receivers that didn't want to agree! And what about tunnels? I drive through the A38 tunnels every so often which are usually enough to confuse my sat nav- what happens to the data in there?

    I go over the limit sometimes but I don't get penalised or anything. On motorways I drive at like 75mph and it's not a problem.

    I've not had problems with it going doolally and it's dropped my insurance renewal by 70% this year.

  8. Just leave it in it's not doing any harm.
  9. (Original post by Spridget)Not sure how they work, but I suspect they collect all their data from their own sensors in the box itself though- so maybe they're just connected by a positive feed from the loom and an earth? In that case it wouldn't in theory be too hard to remove it yourself. Most of my car wiring knowledge is forty years out of date, but if the insurers needed a box that could universally fit into any modern car you'd think it would have to be a self-contained modular design that collects its own data and as such isn't integral to the function of the car.

    Personally all my telematics quotes came back at least double what I eventually paid for my standard policy- even if they were cheaper I still wouldn't have fancied getting penalised for the horrific crime of driving daily rush hour because my job necessitates it or paying more for driving at night

    Most insurers these days no longer penalise you for driving at night, and also the box really helped when my insurance company originally said I crashed, and then they checked and I wasn't near the crash site

    Also, as per above, I can do say 75-77Mph and not have my score drop

  10. The box must be GSM based, so find it and remove the SIM, or cover the whole box and any associated aerial with tin foil. Any visible wires could be cut, or just remove it yourself.
  11. (Original post by Spridget)Slightly off topic, but how much leeway is there for their tolerance of speed? Do you get marked down instantly the second the GPS thinks you've gone 1mph too fast?

    Just thinking of the GPS on my running watch which occasionally gets confused by trees/ buildings and registers a burst of speed that Usain Bolt would be proud of through the solid walls of buildings 10m from the road I'm actually on. Hell, I've flown aeroplanes with two GPS receivers that didn't want to agree! And what about tunnels? I drive through the A38 tunnels every so often which are usually enough to confuse my sat nav- what happens to the data in there?

    A well designed system would use the GPS along with other sensors (accelerometer is an obvious one) to verify / do error correction to the GPS data.
  12. Its not deactivated after the policy finished; its used to collect data which they then sell. So it could go on having an affect on your insurance prices and who knows what happens if you speed. I wouldn't advise anyone to have one of these boxes. Yes its saved me £500 but its dangerous and I feel its made me a worse driver. You spend your whole life staring at the speedometer and not the road. You basically cant brake and have to try and coast or use gears to slow down. And you can't accelerate so end up annoying people behind you or merging at dangerously low speeds. Driving on the motorway with one fitted is tantamount to suicide And if police or ambulance (or a tailgater) comes up behind you, you haven't got the leeway to go over the limit to get out the way. And there is no official leeway. I've gone over a little bit (1-3mph) without penalties, but in the policy documents it said any speeding will lead to the policy being canceled. And the night time driving is a nightmare. 1 minute after 10pm and your score is 0 for the day. It saved me £500 for the first year, but then when the renewal came (despite having gained a 95% perfect driving score) the prices for a normal policy were actually cheaper than having the box. But I had no intention of keeping the box anyway! There's a reason the policies with boxes are the worst rated -if you can afford it, stay well clear! But back to topic. When they came out to fit it, it was only a small box (about the size of a old fashioned computer hard drive) and they fitted it under the steering column where all the fuses and wires and stuff are. I've had it open and can't actually see anything. A friend of mine reckons its only been spliced onto the wires, should be easy to remove.

    I don't want to go messing though -so was hoping someone else who had had one of these policies would share their experiences.

  13. They want you to pay for it to be removed because if it's not removed, they make money selling your data from the box which continues after your policy ends.
  14. (Original post by gonewandering)
    Its not deactivated after the policy finished; its used to collect data which they then sell. So it could go on having an affect on your insurance prices and who knows what happens if you speed. I wouldn't advise anyone to have one of these boxes. Yes its saved me £500 but its dangerous and I feel its made me a worse driver. You spend your whole life staring at the speedometer and not the road. You basically cant brake and have to try and coast or use gears to slow down. And you can't accelerate so end up annoying people behind you or merging at dangerously low speeds. Driving on the motorway with one fitted is tantamount to suicide And if police or ambulance (or a tailgater) comes up behind you, you haven't got the leeway to go over the limit to get out the way. And there is no official leeway. I've gone over a little bit (1-3mph) without penalties, but in the policy documents it said any speeding will lead to the policy being canceled. And the night time driving is a nightmare. 1 minute after 10pm and your score is 0 for the day. It saved me £500 for the first year, but then when the renewal came (despite having gained a 95% perfect driving score) the prices for a normal

    policy were actually cheaper than having the box. But I had no intention of keeping the box anyway! There's a reason the policies with boxes are the worst rated -if you can afford it, stay well clear! But back to topic. When they came out to fit it, it was only a small box (about the size of a old fashioned computer hard drive) and they fitted it under the steering column where all the fuses and wires and stuff are. I've had it open and can't actually see anything. A friend of mine reckons its only been spliced onto the wires, should be easy to remove.

    I don't want to go messing though -so was hoping someone else who had had one of these policies would share their experiences.

    You can request the box be deactivated when you end the insurance. Non deactivated boxes carry on transmitting data. This data is sold for statistics and can't have an effect on your insurance because they can't know who the driver is. I don't know who you were with but they sound REALLY harsh? I was Co-op and they were very lenient with speed, corning, accelerating and braking. Doing 80-90 on A roads quite a lot and my speed score was still like 3/5

    The only thing they were harsh with was driving after 11PM. Drive for like 5 minutes after 11 and you'd get a 0.5 The lowest possible score. And then if you can continued to drive and went past 12AM then it would go into the next day giving you a score of 0.5 for driving before 6AM.

  15. (Original post by gonewandering)
    Its not deactivated after the policy finished; its used to collect data which they then sell. So it could go on having an affect on your insurance prices and who knows what happens if you speed. You can ask them to stop collecting information. It can affect insurance prices. This is true (Original post by gonewandering)
    I wouldn't advise anyone to have one of these boxes. Yes its saved me £500 but its dangerous and I feel its made me a worse driver. You spend your whole life staring at the speedometer and not the road. You basically cant brake and have to try and coast or use gears to slow down. Not true. I check the speed as well as the road, like I would normally. You can brake. Why can't you?(Original post by gonewandering)
    And you can't accelerate so end up annoying people behind you or merging at dangerously low speeds. Driving on the motorway with one fitted is tantamount to suicide This is a good criticism. You're not really meant to accelerate that fast, so it can be pretty annoying for others on the motorway (Original post by gonewandering)
    And if police or ambulance (or a tailgater) comes up behind you, you haven't got the leeway to go over the limit to get out the way. I've done so in the past(Original post by gonewandering)And there is no official leeway. I've gone over a little bit (1-3mph) without penalties, but in the policy documents it said any speeding will lead to the policy being canceled.

    And the night time driving is a nightmare. 1 minute after 10pm and your score is 0 for the day.

    Oh wow. Mine says "excessive speeding" Yeah that's true. Driving after 10 reduces the score, but mine doesn't drop to 0. More like 40/60(Original post by gonewandering)It saved me £500 for the first year, but then when the renewal came (despite having gained a 95% perfect driving score) the prices for a normal policy were actually cheaper than having the box. But I had no intention of keeping the box anyway!

    There's a reason the policies with boxes are the worst rated -if you can afford it, stay well clear!

    Hmm, my policy only seems to change like that after around 3 years(Original post by gonewandering)But back to topic. When they came out to fit it, it was only a small box (about the size of a old fashioned computer hard drive) and they fitted it under the steering column where all the fuses and wires and stuff are. I've had it open and can't actually see anything. A friend of mine reckons its only been spliced onto the wires, should be easy to remove.

    I don't want to go messing though -so was hoping someone else who had had one of these policies would share their experiences.

    Hmm fair enough I guess
  16. (Original post by gonewandering)Its not deactivated after the policy finished; its used to collect data which they then sell. So it could go on having an affect on your insurance prices and who knows what happens if you speed. I wouldn't advise anyone to have one of these boxes. Yes its saved me £500 but its dangerous and I feel its made me a worse driver. You spend your whole life staring at the speedometer and not the road. You basically cant brake and have to try and coast or use gears to slow down. And you can't accelerate so end up annoying people behind you or merging at dangerously low speeds. Driving on the motorway with one fitted is tantamount to suicide And if police or ambulance (or a tailgater) comes up behind you, you haven't got the leeway to go over the limit to get out the way. And there is no official leeway. I've gone over a little bit (1-3mph) without penalties, but in the policy documents it said any speeding will lead to the policy being canceled. And the night time driving is a nightmare. 1 minute after 10pm and your score is 0 for the day. It saved me £500 for the first year, but then when the renewal came (despite having gained a 95% perfect driving score) the prices for a normal policy were actually cheaper than having the box. But I had no intention of keeping the box anyway!

    There's a reason the policies with boxes are the worst rated -if you can afford it, stay well clear!

    This is utter rubbish!!! I don't know who you're with, but I am with a black box insurer and for first year car insurance quotes I was getting £5k, but with the box I paid £2k. This year I have renewed it and it's 70% cheaper than last year. All other companies quoting £1.1k - £1.8k. I drive in peak times every day. It's unavoidable due to the times I have to get to and leave work. I go over the speed limit on motorways- highest is probably 78mph. Average I would say is 74mph depending on how busy it is. I have also been over the speed limits on 40mph limit roads- up to 45mph i'd say. I've also had to slam my brakes on numerous times, in the early days due to me being close to other cars or not looking far enough ahead, but now mainly due to other people cutting me up or something. To get onto the motorway I have to keep the revs very high as I only have a 1.2l car and it's an uphill sliproad. I have to push it quite hard to get it to accelerate up the hill to 70mph and to keep up with the traffic. I drive normally, I hardly even think about the box. So why am I telling you this? Because if I drive well with my insurer I get 'bonus miles' (as my insurance is based on me doing no more than 8k miles, which is more than enough for me). I have achieved 80 to the max of 100 miles every month during my policy.

    I've had no problems with them and a 70% reduction on the price of my insurance is a good enough reason for me to have a harmless little box in my car. We aren't with the same insurers clearly but you shouldn't tarnish all black box insurers as terrible when you only have experience of one.

  17. I was with hastings direct and yes it was very harsh. Thankfully with a more powerful car acceleration dont rev as high; but the box monitors harshness of acceleration. Braking was bad -there were times I'd come home to scores as low as 20/100 and I couldn't tell you what had caused that; I'd barely touched them. In the end I had to coast, use the hills on sliproads off motorways, go down in gears etc. to slow the car down. If you did ever have to slam the ankers on it was always a 0 for the day. Same with the driving after 10pm or before 6pm; it didn't go down in increments, just dropped to a zero. And if you had the misfortune of being driving as it ticked over to midnight you got zero for two days. And as for the bonus miles: I started with a 10k limit (the maximum hastings allow for new customers). You didn't earn "bonus miles" but halfway through the year they gave me unlimited mileage for good driving. My original quote was £1.5k vs. £2k for not having the box; so thats why I had it. At the end of the year my discount for good driving (scored 95/100 over all) meant my renewal was £500 -huge saving theoretically; but I got lower quotes than that through the usual price comparison sites -without the suicide box. I'd never recommend anyone to have one. Its definitely negatively effected my driving. Instead of being alert, aware of your surroundings and concentrating on spotting hazards, your attention is always on attempting not to be penalised. And it makes driving far more stressful and tiring, again diverting attention and reducing concentration and awareness.

    Like I said before, I felt like I was spending more time staring at the speedometer than the road. I really noticed the difference when I was driving other cars, I was undoubtedly a safer and better driver, and driving was no longer stressful and exhausting.

  18. Find it, unbolt it, bin it. Easy.

  19. (Original post by JC.)Find it, unbolt it, bin it. Easy.

    Trouble is I can't see it! Have a friend of mine who reckons he can rip it out but also on good terms with our local garage so will see what they think if that fails. From a removal point of view, it was only a very basic install. They sent a random guy round who installed it with a lunch box containing a few pairs of pliers and some electrical tape.... So I'm guessing it's not very hightech or permanent.

    Will keep people posted. Guess I'm not the only one looking for ways not to pay their extortionate removal fees.

  20. Where abouts is it fitted?
    Chances are it's not going to be too hard to get at!


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