Last updated: 22/04/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
Dash cams and car insurance
Dash cam insurance is becoming more and more popular. But what is it, and why are people opting for it?
Well, if you’ve been involved in a driving dispute and had to make an insurance claim, then you’ll be familiar with the your-word-against-their-word grey area. In this guide, we’ll take you through dash cams and how they can affect your car insurance.
In This Guide:
- What is a dash cam?
- Why should I get a dash cam?
- The crash scammers
- Can I get a dash cam insurance discount?
- Cons of dash cam insurance
- Our sage advice
What is a dash cam?
A dashboard camera, aka a dash cam, is a small camera that sits, ordinarily, below your rear-view mirror and records your driving. They’ve always been used by police vehicles (think those TV shows of motorway chases) but now they’re in the public market. Some drivers may opt to get rear dash cams, too, to record behind their vehicle.
Why should I get a dash cam?
If you’re involved in a claim against another motorist, then dash cams can be pivotal in providing concrete evidence which (good news!) is now accepted in court. Historically, upon an incident, if both parties had claimed the other is at fault it usually resulted in a split-liability decision. In other incidents, there may be a clear victim.
So, dash cam footage also provide a bit of justice. When a claim results in a split-liability verdict - for varying reasons or circumstances i.e. lack of evidence, questionable character of the parties involved – the innocent party may well be saying farewell to years of no claims bonuses they’ve built up. Highly likely, they’ll then face higher premiums and have to spend time rebuilding their no claims bonus, all because of a lack of evidence. Dash cams help to eliminate this unfairness and also protect you against crash scammers.
The crash scammers
Yes, they exist, and they’re rampant. A crash scam is a type of insurance fraud in which a driver intentionally causes a car accident or collision – such as deliberately slamming on the breaks in front of a driver, causing them to drive into the back of their vehicle – then brings a claim against that person.
And this doesn’t just entail the financial damage to the car, it’s often centred around personal injury – feigning whiplash or trauma - of which the payouts can be in the millions. Dash cams also help to catch out these fraudulent and expensive claims.
Can I get a dash cam insurance discount?
When you compare car insurance quotes, you might notice that some providers will offer discounted auto insurance for having a dash camera. This is because they effectively have direct vision into your driving habits - much like a black box, also known as telematics insurance. It increases the likelihood of the insurance company having to pay out only due to the driver being somewhat, if not completely, at fault. It provides a fairer representation of their customer’s driving habits, and if you can prove to them that you're a safe driver, you could be rewarded with an insurance discount.
If you’re a high-risk driver (usually if you’ve just passed your test, have little experience, or have points on your licence) then dash cam insurance could save you a considerable sum on your premium: up to 25% with some car insurance providers. That’s a significant saving.
But there’s also the idea that because of this insight, drivers will actually be more cautious on the road knowing they’re being recorded. A slight slip in concentration could cost a huge sum and the proof of fault would be there on tape. Consequently, this little slip up will also increase premiums in the future.
In the same vein, insurers deem that those who apply for this type of insurance – therefore volunteering their driving habits to be recorded – are themselves going to be more confident in their ability and responsibilities as a driver, in turn instilling confidence in the insurance provider and resulting in lower premiums.
Cons of dash cam insurance
So, some companies offer a discounted car insurance premium for being a dash cam owner. Great news. However, there are two sides to every coin. The caveat of this is you must record every journey that you undertake; the dash cam must always be on. If it isn’t, it could invalidate your car insurance policy, or you could risk having to pay out the money yourself if a claim is brought against you. This is because the insurer fixed your annual premium based on the very fact that they would have hard video evidence in the event of a claim. No footage means no evidence, and insurers are left in a guessing game once more.
Furthermore, if you’re just looking for cheap car insurance then be mindful. While a dash cam can make a significant reduction on a quote for some drivers, not all will feel the benefit. If you’re a low-risk driver with an annual premium of £300, a dash cam discount of £60 on your insurance is going to be counteracted by the purchase cost of the equipment in the first place. If you’re looking to pinch the pennies, check whether it’s actually economical for you.
Our sage advice
There’s no doubt that dash cams can be a great resource in the event of a claim, but if you choose to get one, be sure you’re informed on the terms of your policy. That’s right: it’s time to get cosy with the small print and really check in with those terms and conditions when you compare car insurance deals. You can use our car insurance comparison tool to find the best car insurance deals on the market, filter through different options including having a dash cam if you think it suits you.