Dash cams are becoming more popular because they provide an objective eye in situations that are often wrought with confusion and misinformation. In some countries nearly every vehicle is equipped with one of the these recording devices, and many European insurance companies offer lower premiums for drivers who have a dash cam installed.
To date, similar rate discounts are not available from US providers, but there is speculation that this could change in the near future. Insurance companies are realizing how helpful the footage obtained from in-car cameras can be in the quick resolution of claims.
But, even though you won't see the savings in your premiums just yet, dash cams can still keep your insurance rates lower by helping you (and the police) identify the culprits in hit-and-run accidents or uncover the truth in fraudulent claims. Unfortunately, staging accidents and extorting money out of innocent victims is becoming more common. In a “he said-she said” world, many people will pay the price to avoid getting the police involved or damaging their driving record. With lack of solid proof, there may be no other recourse. Dash cams can provide that objective witness – they record the facts and clear up those fuzzy areas caused by dishonesty, poor memory, or unnoticed details.
Some vehicles come equipped with dashboard cameras, but they are easy enough to install yourself. They automatically begin recording as soon as you start your car, and since they are battery operated, you can choose to keep them on even when you are parked or away from your vehicle.
If you are thinking about jumping on the bandwagon and purchasing one, here are a few benefits that might help you make your decision.
1. Document Driving Accidents. Accidents can happen quickly and sometimes it is difficult to recall all the details or even know exactly what happened. When the police take statements, you can almost be guaranteed that yours will be different from the other driver (or drivers) involved. And, no one really wants to admit blame, right? This is where dash cams can be helpful. They simply record the facts. The footage may help you avoid charges, reduce the charge, or reveal details that could be useful in court. Even if it doesn't always go your way, dash cams record the true story so that justice can be done.
2. Protect You From Insurance Fraud. There are some drivers and pedestrians who will intentionally try to be involved in a minor accident so they can sue for a large settlement. False claims, unfounded accusations, or faked injuries can cost you thousands of dollars in payouts, legal fees, and increased insurance premiums. A dash cam can help protect you from fraud and ensure that you do not pay when you are not to blame.
3. Document Parking Accidents. Parking lots can be dangerous. Your car can be scraped, bumped, or vandalized while it is left unattended, and the repair costs will have to come out of your pocket unless you want to make an insurance claim,which will ultimately increase your premiums. Most dash cams have a parking mode so that they will continue to run even when the engine is turned off or you are away from your car. If you return to discover damage to your vehicle, the recorded footage can go a long way toward catching the guilty party.
4. Record Other Road Crimes. Dash cams record the road in front of you so they can capture any dangerous activity committed by other drivers. If someone makes a illegal U-turn that causes an accident, or if a crash happens within recording range, you will have valuable footage to help the police determine what happened.
5. Record In-Car Driver Activity. Many parents install dash cams in their cars so they can monitor their teen drivers. New drivers are more likely to drive responsibly if they know that they are under constant observation, which not only ensures their safety but also helps keep insurance costs more manageable.
6. Capture the Unexpected. Dash cams are also great for those unexpected moments that you would love to capture on tape - when you see a beautiful deer standing on the side of the road, when you round a bend to breathtaking scenery, or when you want to record your kids and their friends singing a victory song in the backseat after a great little league softball game. You might be tempted to use the camera on your cellphone, but you know that you shouldn't because distracted driving is a major cause of serious accidents, right? So, while a dash cam can protect your pocketbook and driving record, it also comes in handy when you want to document memories and record some of life's special moments.
Dash cams are the way of the future. While they are already standard in most vehicles in Russia and Europe, it won't be long before Americans catch on to the trend. While privacy issues are still a concern, dash cam footage is legally admissible in court and this non-biased information can be helpful if you are ever involved in an accident or falsely accused of a driving offense.
While Dash cams can help protect you from the risk of insurance fraud, you may also want to consider protecting your vehicle from the cost of unexpected repairs with a vehicle protection plan.